I don’t recall that particular day, but I remember my first Christmas like it was yesterday. Or maybe that was the next one. It’s hard to tell, they all run together and they’re all wonderful!
Where I lived, we really didn't have very warm summers. There is very little difference between summer and winter at the North Pole, which suits me just fine! Red suits, that is.
I could say that I was 'Put On Ice' so to speak as a kind of cold hibernation. Or that I went to Narnia during the reign of the white witch to watch for the coming of the two sons of Adam and the two daughters of Eve. That was one of my favorite places to visit even though the kingdom was being ruled by a wicked witch who made it always winter, (which suited me), but never Christmas, (which did not).
I have always been partial to outdoor winter activities. When I was a young man I liked to snow ski and sled the hills around my home. For exercise and practice the reindeer pull me on the sleigh for miles and miles in the deep snow. It is great fun.
In a manner of speaking, yes I have many brothers and sisters. I sometimes wonder if I'm not related somehow to the Abominable Snowman. We call him Abe for short. Did you know that Frosty has some of Abe's same snowflakes! Small world when you think about it.
I am called by many names and have been named after many people, some of whom are fictional and some who were real. Since the 18th century, though, I have been known mainly as Santa Claus. I am also called St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Christkind'l, (which means Christ child in German, but I do not pretend to be Jesus Christ). I have also been called Jultomten, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, and Babouschka, among others.
Most of these names came from very kind and generous people, and I am proud to credit them in their own traditions of Christmas.
Need you ask? Of course I do. Two of them: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! The other one was stolen from me by the Jolly Green Giant. I'm not sure if I can say it without getting sued, but I bet you can guess.
Seriously, though, now and then Mrs. Claus convinces me to at least spend a few days in a warmer climate.
Once she and I visited Hawaii in June. It is the off season at the Pole. We really liked sunning on the beach in Oahu. Of course, we traveled in disguise.
We didn't even bring the sleigh!
Oh, that is a really tough question. The one I remember the best is the first Christmas when baby Jesus was born. Come to think of it, maybe that's when I came into the world. I wonder... But which one do I like the best...? I really can't decide. They all have merit. With a few exceptions. Your question is nearly impossible to answer without telling you what is to come in the future, and that is against corporate policy.
Like all children, I did love to play with toys but even more than that I just loved to BUILD toys. Of course, after completing one toy I just had to start another. By the end of the year I would have such an accumulation! Of course, this worked out perfectly later in life! In the early days the toys were mostly made of wood.
It's amazing what kids want today. Some of my elves go to college just to keep up!
Some of my favorites are the old classics - Lincoln Logs, Wood Blocks, and Tinker Toys.
Unfortunately, where I live I get very few visitors. However, I make a very interesting visit to everyone's house every year!
One year, though, we did have a very special addition to our family. That fall, during the games my team of reindeer play, Donner introduced me to his son. His name was Rudolph. You may have heard of him. That Christmas he really saved the day. He has led the team through many winter storms ever since.
Maybe a little, but all of my reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blixen, are all very happy to pull the sleigh and take toys to kids around the world. I only really call on Rudolph during bad snow storms. My reindeer did learn their lesson though not to make fun of those different from them. Rudolph is a great reindeer and very humble. The other reindeer, especially Donner (his father) love him and appreciate him.
Certainly many historic events affected me and my rather large family. As the times change, so do we. Cases in point, the Holocaust, and the Lunar Landing. But there were many, many more. There is one thing about me though that doesn't change. I am the embodiment of the Spirit of Christmas, past, present and future. As such I have always strove, striven, whichever, and will continue to strive for the promotion and continuation of joy, goodwill among men (and women) and peace on Earth.
Now that’s a tough question. Nothing is so heartwarming than a good Christmas story. And if it’s told well, then it doesn’t matter who the actors are. What matters is that warm feeling you get in the bottom of your tummy as if you’d just finished off a plateful of warm chocolate chip cookies with a tall glass of cold milk.
One thing I will say though; I really don't think The Grinch made a very convincing Father Christmas. The message was good and clear though and I gave the movie two thumbs up.
Mrs. Claus is, and always will be, the only love in my life. I can't remember the exact day, though I am sure she can. We have been together forever - at least it seems like forever. All of them have been wonderful years.
No, but my magic wanes, and if that tragedy were to occur, then it would be impossible for me to do what I do. It makes me very sad when a child grows up and forgets about me. But as long as there are grown-ups who keep the magic of Christmas in their hearts and pass it down to their own children, then I will never go away.
I do. I really do. Children used to write letters with crayons in the best penmanship they could muster. They would send me pages out of the Sears Wish Catalog. The letters were sent to me using stamps and crumpled envelopes. At the North Pole, we just started using email. They still send me letters, but they demand some of the strangest things one can imagine. Mrs. Claus and the elves all told me to get with the times.
Alas...it used to be simpler. There weren't so many batteries, power cords, and screens. It was the imagination of kids which made Christmas special - not how many packages were under the tree. It was about family, love, and being together. I am sure that is mostly still the case.
Kids still have wonderful imaginations and still love Christmas, and not just for the presents. I get many letters asking for nothing more than to be with their family for Christmas, or to ask for gifts for someone else. The spirit lives on!
There goes the neighborhood! LOL. Seriously though, I'll let you in on a little secret. I helped invent the thing! The Wright Brothers sent me letters just like every other kid. You could say I helped push them in the right direction. I knew that one day in the far future, as the population grew, I would need greater speed, and a more powerful propulsion mechanism to counterbalance the debilitating effects caused by diminishing belief. I'll bet you didn't think I knew all those big words, did you?
Along those same lines, some of you might know that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, will give updates on my movements throughout Christmas Eve. What you probably DON'T know is that they help me by notifying me of any airplanes that I might encounter and any weather updates I might need.
The magic is a little like what happened to Frosty the Snowman. He's a friend of mine, you know. His magic came from an old hat, but it was an unseen force. A magical force. Anyway, my magic comes from the spirit of the season. It comes from the twinkle in the eyes of kids as they wake up on Christmas morning. It comes from the warmth and love which emanates from homes around the world. My magic started out relatively small yet continues to grow.
That’s a really neat trick! I learned it from some young upstart wizard named Fumblemore, or was it Mumblefor? Anyway ... Or maybe it was Trumbleboor, some strange name like that.... Anyway, the chimney is the easiest access to a house if you want to remain undetected. Who's going to look for an intruder coming out of the fireplace!? The roof of a house is the best landing spot for my reindeer driven sleigh. The stockings were hung off the fireplace mantle with care so I didn't have to go far to fill them with toys. The soot helped give me cover. If the fire was still burning when I arrived, I simply tossed a couple handfuls of magic snow down the chimney to douse it.
The trick for fitting down the chimney was all about changing my size. Remember 'Twas the Night Before Christmas?' It was a poem originally known as 'A Visit From St. Nicholas.' Authorship has never been verified so I won't mention any names, but I remember exactly what happened..... I used to be a lot thinner than I am now. And chimneys were larger in the old days. So there was never a problem sliding down the chimney.
Then some wily kid discovered she could appeal to my affection for confection by bribing me with a plate of cookies. Alas I have been a cookie-holic ever since. I outgrew my thirty-two size pants and as I continued to widen my girth, the chimneys also became smaller! Chalk it up to progress. One inevitable Christmas Eve I became hopelessly wedged halfway down the chimney of the aforementioned wizard. Luckily he heard my cries for help and came to my rescue. He taught me the shrinking spell, and a few other spells besides. From then on I have never had a problem entering the abode of a child in need of my gifts. In these new, modern houses that don't have chimneys, or fireplaces, I simply create a temporary one.
Magic is a wonderful thing, but it has some strange side effects that can be a little troublesome. One of the side effects I have experienced by being magical is the inability to lose weight except by magical means.
It is a fact that I have never been photographed without my knowledge or permission. My team of security elves inspect all photos and will photoshop them to remove anything that might reveal a trade secret.
Any photos that have ever been leaked of me are either faked, or ones that show no detail and cannot be verified.
I adopted the color red because I was flattered by a speculative drawing of me by a man named Thomas Nast. So that year I dressed to match his rendition of me. I, and my fans became enthralled. I have dressed likewise ever since.
It's their nature. What really has me baffled though is why the same grown-ups who have stopped believing in me continue to carry on with the traditional Christmas as though I were real. The only explanation I can think of is that they really do still believe in me, or at least they wish for me to be real. They want their children to grow up hopeful and believing that the future holds good and great things for them.
But, to my great relief, many grown-ups never stop believing in me. Occasionally I have encountered a jolly old dad, just like myself, putting presents under the tree. I remember one such circumstance when I had finished with the presents and had just sat down in the recliner to sample the milk and cookies when the man of the house suddenly poked his head in from the kitchen entry where I presumed he'd been wrapping presents. He saw me, did a double take, and then looked at the stockings hanging from the fireplace mantle. Of course they were near to bursting at the seams because I had just filled them. Jacob
-(It took me a minute to remember his name) - then smiled and walked over and sat down in his wife's easy chair next to me. He helped himself to the last cookie and said, "My apologies Mr. Kringle. I guess I should have baked enough for two." That made me laugh merrily, and he had to shush me to keep from waking the whole household.
Those moments when I can actually interact with an adult who knows me for who I am, who remembers the child in themselves and never stopped believing - those are great moments. But there are better.
That's an easy one. It's the same one today as when I was a kid. I love nearly any kind of cookie and a cold glass of milk. Now, if I ate all of the cookies left out for me on Christmas Eve, the reindeer might not want to pull me home at the end of the night. I leave some out for the kids and parents for a snack in the morning.
Define bad. If I were on someone's list, I would never be in the naughty column. Of course, around the Workshop I do like to play practical jokes on the elves. I remember the time I pinched a thimble of rocket fuel from the store room and put it in a toy nascar that Jerry Elf built. After the rather exciting and fearful display we had to scrap the car and I was assigned cleanup. It took two days to get everything back in order! Jerry wasn’t amused. The rest of the auto department had a great time though!
The very most important thing I've learned is never give up. But there is a hard lesson I've learned and that is sometimes, no matter how hard you try to bring a little joy into someone's life, they just don't want to be happy. With some people, even a visit from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future won't help them see their self destruction and change, as it did with the miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Believe it young people, there are people with harder and colder hearts than his. Jim Croce knew not to spit into the wind, but I learned that spitting into a freezing wind is worse!
I catch Summer colds very easily. That year the missus and I went to Hawaii I picked up a bad chest cold and took it back to the North Pole with me. I was laid up for three months. I couldn't go anywhere near a fireplace whether or not there was a burning fire! My cocoa had to be cold. One would have thought I was melting like a snowman
Difficult to say. Even though I know I must have had a boyhood, it seems to have flown by without me remembering much of it. I don't remember wanting to be anything at all. That's not to say that I haven't wanted to try other things in my adult life. In fact I have held other jobs over the millennia.
During the off seasons I let my imagination wander. Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to be a pilot. Other times I wonder about driving a team of Huskies in the Iditarod. I've also considered air traffic controller for a career.
I know you want something more tangible than ‘World Peace’ (not that that’s ever going to happen). I LOVE snow globes. I collect them in fact. I have snow globes that depict detailed scale models of every city, town and village on Earth. Each and every one is blanketed by a wintry frost. Yes, I know that some areas never get that cold, but it’s a snow globe. There has to be snow inside it. I also have snow globes that depict country scenes, and polar scenes. Any place that humans live, I have a snow globe that depicts it. My snow globes are magical. I can zoom in and make a spider look huge. I can see what the people are up to.
All of the winter sports, of course. I love the luge, skiing, and mostly hockey. After all, I do live close to Canada.
Yes. I'm older now than I was when I was younger. I don't feel my age in my body, but in my mind. I don't mean to say I'm losing my mind. I'm not. I remember everything clearly except for my life before I embodied the spirit of Christmas. After that, it is true that I have changed. I have changed as the times have changed. I change according to your perceptions of me. I change according to my own fancy, as if changing my clothes.
You ask if I feel differently about myself, and my answer is yes. But if you had asked if I would feel differently about you 2000 years ago, then my answer is no.
It was many, many years ago. In fact, it was so long ago I don't remember the year, but I do remember the day. Everyone from the North Pole was there. All of the elves took the day off. The local polar bears tamped down the snow to create a large area for the gathering. Every reindeer, and every other animal in shouting distance, gathered in front of the workshop. The air was crisp with nary a breeze. The sky was azure blue. and trees were the most beautiful green I ever saw.
I didn't apply for the job of Father Christmas. In fact I'm not sure the position existed before I was thrust into it. I did have a choice though. An angel showed me what the world would be like in hundreds of years if I decided to put down the Mantle of Father Christmas. It wasn't a pretty sight. So I accepted the position and I took to it like a reindeer on berries.
I've also learned other trades over the years because there's nothing worse than a useless Santa during the off season. I've also done some moonlighting as a department store Santa. The pay I received went to children's charities. I must admit most of my extra curricular activities required skills or attributes which already came naturally to me. Such as when I dished out hot meals at the soup kitchen (voluntary, of course). Or the times I worked on search and rescue teams all over the globe. Of course I led my own special division and we traveled by sleigh instead of chopper.
In other words, I am satisfied with my choice and wouldn't change a thing.
My first E.O.S job, (End Of Season), was as a part-time engineer for the Polar Express train company. I regularily take over for Salvation Army workers who need a break by ringing their bell for them.
I've worked for the Bureau of Land Management in their office in Anchorage, Alaska as a surveyor.
One day, just on a whim I tried out for the part of myself in a new Christmas time movie about how Santa goes to New York to help a little girl regain her belief in Santa. I never thought I'd get the part, but I did. I had to take a lot of time off that season, but I left the North Pole operation in good hands during my absence. Of course I made it back in time for the Big Event! The movie was called The Miracle on Thirty-fourth Street, in case you should want to watch it. There have been several re-makes so I leave it up to you to decide which one starred 'The Real Kris Kringle'.
I would think it’s obvious. When a young person decides they want to be just like me when they grow up, I take that as a great compliment.
I'm the all time Checkers champion. I wasn't always, but I'm almost as old as the game, So I think I've been playing it longer than any living soul. I still love to play but I started always letting my opponent win hundreds of years ago just so I can learn more about him or her. I can't play Chess. I know how to but I can't keep my mind on the game. I think it's too deceptive, a liar's game.
My own favorite game is Snowgolf. I invented it myself some time during the seventeenth century. I merely changed the name of Golf to Snowgolf. In Snowgolf, A.K.A. Ice golf, the fairway isn't green, but white. The ball isn't white, but green. One must wear cleated golf shoes to keep from slipping.
My sincerest answer is don’t try to do it alone. It’s just as important to accept love as it is to give it. Remember the line from an old song; People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.
I must admit that I feel that way right now. I'm confused as to why you're asking a question like that. I'm not sure how I should answer. If you're asking if I ever felt like I was losing my wits then I would have to say no. If you're asking if I have ever lost my way during my delivery trips around the globe, again I would say no, but with a couple of understandable exceptions not due to a lack of competence on my part. Also, my innate sense of direction is a genetic trait so I always know which way I'm heading.
However, if you're asking whether or not I've had trouble deciding under which List heading, (NAUGHTY or NICE), a particular child is categorized, then I am going to have to go into some in-depth explaining. You wouldn't believe the amount of negative and positive criteria or data which is constantly uploaded into our mainframe computer on an hourly basis. It used to be just once a day but it seems now-a-days it's by the minute updates. Children can change their behavior at the drop of a pin, thereby either tipping the scales FOR or AGAINST them on the List.
Even so, even after the final tally is counted and verified, and even after my right-hand Elf has rung up all the totals, crossed all the 'Q's and underscored all the 'P's which either have or have not been minded, it is then that I am presented with a list. A different list. The elves call it the TIE LIST. I must be the tie breaker. So the answer to that kind of question would be yes. Every holiday season when I go through the List I am confronted with at least one, (very rare) occasion in which I have to make a judgement call. In those occasions I must rely on my own memories of past Christmases with the child to help me decide. It's okay though. I've learned that there are more ways to help a child than just giving him or her what they want on Christmas.
A good life is one that, at the end of it, one can look back on and say, "I have no regrets."
Actually, no. Not anymore. The reason is - I CAN change things . In fact I have changed things and later found out that it doesn't necessarily work out any better. I will no longer change something in the past to alter the present or future. Too many unforeseen side effects.
A priest, a banker, and a lawyer walk into a bar.... Uh... Never mind, I better not tell that one.
Do you remember the time Michael Jackson saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus? Everyone knew it was really Dad dressed up like me, but guess what? That particular Christmas Eve the 'Dad' in question happened to forget his fake beard at the office and had to rush out at 2:30 a.m. to get it. He must have been backing out of the driveway at the same time I was sliding down the chimney. I have this nervous habit of always making sure the front door is locked before I begin my work. So as soon as I brushed myself off I tiptoed to the door and that’s when the lights came on! I froze. I finally found the nerve to turn around. There, at the foot of the stairs was a gorgeous young woman of around thirty. Before I could react she swiftly approached me and wrapped her arms around me. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You make the cutest Santa I've ever seen!" Then she kissed me! I couldn't pull away, but finally she did. She pulled back, gave me a wink and said, "I'll be waiting for you upstairs. Don't be too long." Then she blew me a kiss, and rushed back upstairs. My eyes followed her departure and I was just quick enough to see her youngster gaping stupidly at me through the balusters from the landing at the top of the stairs. When he realized I was looking at him he panicked and darted back into his bedroom. It took a few minutes for my heart to stop racing. I had to sit down in the Lay-Z-Boy and relax for a bit. I've never been so caught off guard!
I never thought my account of the story was funny, but the Elves and Mrs. Claus laughed uproariously when they heard it, and still chuckle to this very day to remember it.
One more thing, the young mother got an extra special present in her stocking that year. ;)
Nothing makes me shine with more pleasure and pride than when I see the smallest and poorest child give what little he or she has to help someone who has less. Those are the smallest moments but they mean the most. They are the moments I wish most to witness. There is no greater gift.
Let’s divide that into three questions. I have a favorite Christmas classic book, a favorite book that is not related to the holidays, and a favorite Holiday movie.
My favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on thirty fourth st. My favorite Christmas story is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and my favorite novel is Great Expectations.
My purpose is not about dredging up sad memories, but I will say this; There is a line in the Good Book that says there is a time for everything, (A time to be born, and a time to die, A time to mourn and a time for dancing.)
I have suffered loss like everyone, and I know how to grieve. But remember that the season for mourning gives way to the season for dancing and rejoicing. Speaking of which, I am reminded of a song which John Denver recorded in the nineteen-seventies called Season Suite. If you get a chance you should give it a listen.
I usually hit the sack at nine thirty p.m. every night except for Christmas Eve of course.
Oh! You meant when do I mean to stop working and go into a sort of stasis which may last forever? I thought I made myself clear. I can't simply retire, nor do I want to. The Spirit of Christmas is who I am. As long as mankind celebrates the birth of the Savior with the passing of every year, I will go forth on my sleigh. That is what sustains me. .....Joy begets joy, and with that I'd like to share my joy by saying -
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
Touchstone Memories would like to thank Kris Kringle for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to let us help him make this memory book using our BookBuilder, found at www.touchstonememories.com.
It has been a great honor.
Santa used the questions provided by the BookBuilder, and we also asked a few that were personalized to him. He answered in his own words.