Q1: Santa, can you tell us what you’re most excited about this Christmas season?
What am I most excited about? Oh, my foggy Christmas night, that’s a most daunting question—for Mrs. Claus, Zach the Elf, and me—well, all of us, we are excited about all things Christmas. But speaking for myself in particular, I confess the excitement really begins right after Halloween and it just starts building. Don’t get the wrong idea and think the reindeer and I fly right over the turkeys at Thanksgiving without giving the Pilgrims and the Indians a second nod or wink. No, m’am. We love Thanksgiving, too, with the bountiful spreads on the table, the parades, the lighting of the trees across America, and all the football on tv, but I keep a twinkle in my eye for December. And my excitement keeps building and building till the end of November rolls around, and autumn moves into winter, and Wal-Mart and CVS and all the stores start displaying their Christmas decorations and all those wonderful gifts for children of sundry ages.
Back at the North Pole, the elves have started hammering away—my snowflakes!—the elves work like they are up at the Mount Vernon Cotton Mill putting in a whole bunch of overtime. Oh, goodness, such hammering and the sawing, the tightening of nuts on bicycle hubs, and the plugging and unplugging and the testing of batteries! And we have to make sure all the new cell phones have good signals. And Zach the Elf roams all over the North Pole, “Can you hear me now? Do you hear what I hear? Do you hear what I hear?” And batteries, mercy alive. You know, what would Christmas morning be without a big pack of Ever-Ready Batteries? Santa gets excited when everyone starts getting in the Christmas spirit.
Christmas specials on tv—Rudolph, and Frosty, the Grinch, and you know my favorite, Charlie Brown and the whole Peanuts Gang and that pitiful little tree of his—bless its heart, Christmas cards (I especially love the handmade cards drawn and colored and glittered by all the children at school); Christmas trees—especially old fashioned cedar trees like an unnamed friend of mine used to find and cut along the barbed wire fence in Underwood’s pasture); Christmas ornaments—yes, glittery ornaments; Christmas lights—both the little white ones and the bigger colored lights; Christmas stockings filled with peppermint candy canes; the streets with electric snowflakes; all the pretty paper, and pretty ribbons (if you don’t mind me quoting Mr. Willie Nelson—-truth be told, I am a bit of an old-fashioned country Santa, and I love all those Country songs on the radio); and, of course, the Summerville Depot with all the lights inside and outside and the weekend train rides—you know, it’s not the Polar Express exactly, but it’s not far from it with the steam engine. But with all this said, it is the kids that make Santa most excited. And you know, I mean all kids.
Every kind of kid imaginable: little kids and big kids, young kids and old kids, boy kids and girl kids, kids of all colors, kids with skin and kids with hair, both two legged kids and four legged kids. I think the Oak Ridge Boys may have said it best when they sang—“If it wasn’t for kids, there’d be no Santa Claus.” So, of course, Santa loves seeing all the children. And the more excited the children get, the more excited Santa gets. And if truth be told—and of course, truth must always be told, “Santa himself is just a big old kid.” So I know inside every adult is a little child screaming with excitement. And Christmas, well, Christmas is simply a season of excitement.
Mrs. Claus loves to remind me: “Christmas—it’s not just a day. It’s a season.” Of course, we all know that, and she won’t let me forget it. You know, “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.” And that means that Mrs. Claus, my true love—bless her little heart—expects twelve days of presents. But that is fine and dandy with me—Santa doesn’t want no hard candy Christmases, not at Dolly’s house, not at Burt’s house, not at your house, and certainly not at Santa’s house. No, sir-ree. It warms my heart to make Mrs. Claus jubilant and to help make others happy as well. For December to be so frigid and pop-cycly cold on the outside, I must say Mrs. Claus and I have lots of warmth in our hearts. Yes, our hearts blaze like fireplaces.
Q2: What has been the most popular gift you and the elves have been building this year?
Of course, there are bicycles and dolls that open and close their eyes and Hot Wheels and books and board games and Legos and build-your-own-robot kits and these new-fangled erector sets with lots of moving gadgets and Hatchimals and real life puppies with wagging tails—yes, I hear there are a whole passel of Christmas puppies looking for love this Christmas season. And speaking of animals and gadgets, I note that Teddy Ruxpin and mini-bikes are continuing to make a bit of a comeback. There is really nothing new under the sun or beneath the starry, starry Christmas sky.
And when Santa was a kid, walkie-talkies were big hits, but now everyone wants a new cell phone—yes, I suspect that this year will be like last year, and there will be a whole lot of talking and texting going on. If you can find them, there is the furReal Munchin Rex. And for those old kids like Santa, who are especially nostalgic, there is the Create Your Own Reel Viewer, where you can take your own photos, send them off, and then within a week or so, you get little round discs of three-d images. This is a neat present—combining the old with the new. Big kids—uh, I mean—little kids will really love this.
Q3: What’s one thing we can do this year to get into the Christmas spirit?
What can we do to get into the Christmas spirit? Well, we can do—we can just do. Just do. Just do it. There is a bunch of truth to the saying that it is better to give than to receive. And to give one must, of course, do, and do the right thing. And while no one argues that we all certainly love presents—honestly both the giving and the receiving of presents, but what Santa loves most of all is giving and receiving not stuff, no not stuff at all; but instead the giving and receiving of love.
You know, there really is something very special to that “Peace on Earth and Good will to Men” talk. You know how old Santa loves music and all the songs of Christmas. Santa has been around for centuries, but when it comes to music, I’m really a child of the Sixties and the Seventies. Being a kind of geriatric long-haired hippy Santa, I am reminded of that old Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko. You know their song “Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!”? You ever thought about the lyrics? “And so this is Christmas and what have we done/Another year over, a new one just begun.” With Love comes Peace and Happiness, east meets west and the North Pole meets the South Pole and the whole world turns. So to get in the spirit, Santa just tries to give and to spread some Christmas Love, and if we try hard enough to give it, and if we do, that is if we do give lots of it, the really good thing is that we will get lots and lots and lots of love right back.
I guess you can call Santa a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. For you see, the grand thing about Christmas Love is that it doesn’t need batteries or plug-in outlets or even solar panels and no assembly whatsoever is needed. Imagine that! Christmas love just comes from inside. Yes, Santa does what he can to get others in the Christmas Spirit. And it’s contagious, that Christmas Love, kind of like giggling in church and trying to stop and you just giggle all the more all the more you try to stop. So each night, as December the 25th moves closer and closer, when I lie down to sleep, I ask myself, “What have I ‘done’ today and what will I ‘do’ tomorrow to spread the Christmas spirit to others?” That question helps me maintain my Christmas Spirit through out the year. And that’s a good thing, I might add: spreading Christmas Love even while you are driving around Hamilton Place or Town Center or the Mall of Georgia looking for a parking place. The opportunity to spread Christmas Love is infinite.
Q4: What treats should we leave you this year? Anything besides milk and cookies?
Of, course milk and cookies—you can’t miss with chocolate chip cookies and a cold grass of milk. And a Coca-Cola every now and then. You know, Santa and ice cold Cokes—the word about Santa and Coke has been out for any number of years. But if you want to know a secret secret, sometimes I think this Santa is from the South Pole instead of the North Pole. See, I enjoy me some sweet tea, and barbecue sandwich (pork—no venison mind you; perish the thought and rid your vocabulary of the word “venison”; Rudolph and Blitzen and Prancer and the whole gang get a little squeamish when someone even mentions “venison”—short circuits Rudolph’s nose—so my barbecue is made of pork and minced if you are taking notes) with some finely chopped coleslaw on the top, and a big bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce. (I must say the spicier the better!)
The very idea of a barbecue plate sitting warm on the table beside the tree gets this old Santa going. And Santa starts thinking about those days of yore, when Armstrong’s was around. Fills up Santa’s belly and revs up his inner engine so he can make the trip around the world. And if you really want to know the truth, a big hunk of Orange Slice Cake or German Chocolate—now we are talking about Christmas in Dixie, and snowflakes in the pine. And a Hershey’s Kiss or two—those with bits of Almonds are particularly grand.
Q5: I heard that you’re hosting a train ride this year in Summerville! Can you tell us how we can join you on the train?
Well I would just LOVE to have you and your loved ones join me this year for a tradition that myself and the Mrs. have been a part of since I can remember. It all starts at the Summerville Train Depot where Mrs. Claus will be helping with the cookie decorating and the Mistletoe Market will be open for business. From there, you’ll hop onto the train and travel all the way to my workshop in the North Pole. And on the way back to the depot in Summerville, I will be along for the ride filled with chocolate milk, cookies, caroling and storytelling. It’s 75 minutes of pure Christmas fun and cheer! I encourage you to sign up by calling the Summerville City Hall at 706-859-0900 or online at tvrail.com.
Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good ride!