Interview with Santa

By Aideen O'Flaherty

Ahead of his round-the-world trip on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus took some time out from his busy schedule for his annual interview with The Echo.

Speaking to The Echo from his bustling workshop in Lapland, Santa sounded jolly and relaxed as he polished his boots in preparation for his overnight global present drop.

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In this exclusive interview, Santa said he is really looking forward to visiting all of the children living in South Dublin County who have been very good this year.

He also reminisced about a time when his reindeers went to visit all of their deer friends who live in the Dublin Mountains.

The Big Man in Red also revealed that he is pleased that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, has deemed him an essential worker, and has granted permission for him to enter Irish airspace and deliver gifts to children all over the country on December 24, while social distancing.

While Santa’s workshop was very noisy, with elves singing Christmas carols as they worked very hard to finish their toys, The Echo had a charming chat with Santa – who sounded very excited about visiting all of the children living in our local communities.

How has the past year been for you?

It’s been very busy. Christmas may only come once a year but my workshop has a great deal to do from February until December, we have so many toys to make for boys and girls all over the world.

The elves have been working hard while socially distancing, and we’re all very excited to bring some Christmas cheer to all of the boys and girls.

This Christmas will be a little different as a result of the pandemic, what advice do you have for the boys and girls to help you bring their gifts safely this year?

It’s very important that the children go to bed early on Christmas Eve, and that there’s a two-metre distance between us.

While the elves have been working hard to ensure every child will get a present this Christmas, they might not get everything that they asked for in their letters to me this year.

But the children in South Dublin County have been so good this year, and myself and the elves have made sure the boys and girls will get presents they’ll enjoy!

Some children are wondering how Santa gets into apartments as there’s no chimney?

Children need to remember that Santa and his reindeers are magic so they can get into any home, even if it doesn’t have a chimney.

And even if the children can’t maintain a two-metre distance from the Christmas tree where I leave the presents, once they’re asleep I’ll be able to deliver their gifts.

What does Mrs Claus do while you’re working?

I may be the face of the whole Christmas operation, but Mrs Claus is the brains. She plans out my travel routes for Christmas Eve, sorts out all of the Christmas wish-lists and keeps my filing up to date.

She also makes sure all of the elves are happy while working and loves taking the reindeer out for walks.

What preparations do you do the day before the big night?

I do everything I can to ensure my trip around the world goes smoothly. The elves make sure all the presents are packed into the sleigh and double-check the Christmas lists to make sure no presents have been forgotten.

I make sure the reindeer – Prancer, Dancer, Donner, Blitzen, Dasher, Vixen, Comet and Rudolph – are all fed, happy, healthy and ready to go.

With all your journeys you have to make on Christmas Eve, would you need more than one Santa suit?

Since I’m travelling all over the world on Christmas Eve, I have different suits to suit different weather. All my suits look the same but some of them have more white fluff on them for the colder countries.

Sometimes I also need a change of suit when I eat too many mince pies and my buttons pop off, or if I get stuck in a chimney and get covered in soot.

Have you ever got stuck up a chimney?

I got stuck in a chimney once in Tallaght and I was very lucky the fire wasn’t lit. I had eaten a lot of Christmas pudding in a lot of houses and I couldn’t fit my full belly down the chimney!

The reindeers had to hold Rudolph’s back legs and lower him down the chimney so that he could try and push me through.

It was a very funny sight and eventually Rudolph managed to push me through and I was able to continue delivering all of my presents.

How many treats do you eat on Christmas Eve?

I don’t eat all of the treats on Christmas Eve, I bring a lot of them home to Lapland and use Christmas magic to keep them fresh all year round.

That way everyone back in the workshop in Lapland can share some of my favourite treats like cookies, mince pies and milk.

What treats do you like being left out by children?

Definitely Christmas pudding or a mince pie, and the reindeers love a carrot. I used to like the odd glass of Guinness, but I don’t like to drink and fly so, if kids want to leave me out a glass of milk that would be lovely.

I have to watch what I eat or I’ll get stuck in a chimney again. Last Christmas, I ate too many goodies and all the buttons on my red suit jacket popped off.

I actually lost one of my buttons in a house in Clondalkin and I couldn’t find it. Maybe it’s still there?

How do you spend your Christmas Day?

I love spending time with Mrs Claus, the elves and the reindeer on Christmas Day. Our friends the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy usually come over for Christmas dinner as well.

As you know I love my treats, but I really look forward to my turkey and vegetables for Christmas dinner, putting my feet up in front of the fire and watching television after a very busy Christmas Eve.

Any final message for kids?

Of course, to enjoy their new toys but what I really hope is that all of the children will try and make their mam and dad’s Christmas very special. It’s not just Santa looking after Christmas you know, all of the mammies, daddies, nannies and grandads really help Santa in making Christmas a special time, so children should give their parents a big Christmas hug and say thank-you.

I wish all of the children reading The Echo and their families a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2021 . . . and remember to go to bed early on Christmas Eve. Ho, Ho, Ho!

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