Darren Doyle, story and photo:
We've seen Santa Claus at a few different places recently and we asked him if he would take a few moments for an interview. When he said "yes," the visions of sugarplums began to dance in our heads and we sat down with the world's most famous sleigh pilot.
EV: We're only a few days away from Christmas and we've seen you in Edmonson County several times over the last few weeks. How is that possible during what would seem to be your busiest time of the year?
SC: Well, the credit goes to Mrs. Claus and the elves. There's no way I can handle everything by myself. She is currently overseeing everything at the North Pole and the elves are seeing to the reindeer and finishing up the toy making and preparation for Christmas Eve. I have other homes all over the world that I stay in during the summers and I even have one here in Edmonson County.
EV: Do you and everyone at the North Pole work all year round?
SC: For the most part, yes; however, everyone takes a vacation immediately following Christmas. The elves usually go to the Bahamas and spend some time recharging the batteries while Mrs. Claus and I also head south. We might be gone from anywhere from a couple weeks to a month, it just depends.
EV: We've seen you several places, but you never have any elves with you. Do they stay at the North Pole?
SC: Ho, Ho, Ho! No...elves are everywhere. Not all of them are small with pointy ears, either. I have hundreds of thousands of undercover elves that work with me 24/7, all year long. They could be anyone: teachers, policeman, someone at the grocery, or even your own brother or sister. How do you think I keep such a close eye on everyone? We also incorporated the "Elf on a Shelf" a few years ago. You may only see them at Christmas, but they send reports to the North Pole everyday.
EV: Do you really put coal in stockings of those on the naughty list?
SC: Well, I did until a few years ago when the price of coal went sky-high! These days I use rocks instead, and they come right from the driveways or yards of those that get them. I know it doesn't help Kentucky's coal industry, but hey...
EV: We heard someone call you "Skip" the other day. Do you sometimes go by another name?
SC: Skip is a nickname I was given long ago. It stands for "Santa Klaus In Person."
EV: When are the naughty and nice lists finalized?
SC: They're not. It's never too late to be transferred from one to the other. But hey, there's only been one person on this Earth that was perfect, and that was Jesus, the reason for the season, so I know that everybody else makes mistakes, including me. As long as you're making an honest effort to be good, you'll be on the nice list.
EV: No doubt you get this question a lot, but what do you say when someone asks you if you're the real Santa?
SC: Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration and love. There's so much more to Christmas than just me and what goes on at the North Pole. I can best answer that in a poem that I wrote long ago..
I can answer your question that should explain,
I’m sure this will make it all quite plain.
Does God live in your heart?
I think that’s where we should start.
God is a spirit that lives within you,
The spirit of Santa is like that too.
Santa’s spirit, like God’s, wants you to be good,
Not just sometimes, but all the time you should.
Anyone can be Santa , even you can play the part,
All you need is love in your heart.
Be kind and generous to others,
Make all you meet your sisters and brothers.
Still, the question remains, “Am I Santa?“
You must search your heart for the answer,
No fair asking Prancer or Dancer……
EV: Wow, that's amazing. You obviously have plenty to do and places to go. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
SC: Sure, I'm headed back to the North Pole where we'll be loading up and getting ready for the big night. Make sure everyone goes to bed early on Christmas Eve... MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! HO, HO, HO!!
**a version of this article was first published in the Edmonson Voice on December 21, 2016.