Friday, December 25, 2015

Santa Claus Q&A

Probably like four years ago, I came across a twitter account called @Santa__Claus. It was like Santa had a real twitter account; he talked about things he was doing throughout the year to get ready for Christmas and then on Dec. 24 he would live-tweet going to all of the places and delivering presents. I thought it was cute and funny. So I followed the account. I would see a tweet or two a month and then as Christmas approached there would be a lot more happening. I liked it.

In 2013, I noticed that the account would occasionally push Santa-related items that you could purchase on their web site. I also discovered that Santa had a blog on the site and that people could write a "day in the life" entry and submit it to be posted. They didn't pay for the content, but the way to make it appealing was that you could write it in a way to promote your business or product.

Back then, I was all about getting my podcast off the ground and doing whatever I could to get eyes and ears on that new venture. An idea popped into my head: write up a transcript of an interview with Santa from my podcast.

I would make it cute and cheery, and all that Christmas shit that kids like. But I also tried to throw in a little bit of humor so that other people would enjoy it. Reading it now, I kind of cringe and roll my eyes at how dumb it is. I showed it to two people a couple years ago. One had a small child and the other was just really into Christmas. They both told me they really liked it.

I sent it to that site and nothing happened. I sent it again and nothing happened again. Then I realized that nothing was really happening with that site. They don't update it anymore and so the posting of Santa-related blogs there is no longer a thing.

So it sat on my computer for a couple years. The last time I had a bunch of stuff like that I turned it into my first book. This was supposed to be in the second book. But that one is literally a year behind schedule. So, I'll just post it here instead.

* * * 

Chris Slater: Okay guys, I’m here with that jolly man himself, Santa Claus. Very excited to have him on the podcast. First question, sir: how did you become Santa Claus? 

Santa Claus: Well, when a man loves a woman… I’m just kidding. It’s a very secretive and closely-guarded process. What I can say for sure is that the Tim Allen movie had it all wrong. You don’t watch the current Santa fall off a roof and then you become him. It’s a rigorous process, not unlike your NASA space men. Not to pat myself on the back, but I will say that only the best get selected to become Santa. 

Chris: Is it a committee? Do they vote on it? 

Santa: Errrrr… Something like that. Let’s just say that some secrets are best kept that way. 

Chris: Sounds good. So the name “Santa Claus” is just like a formality title or something? 

Santa: Yeah. Kind of like when the Catholic Church appoints their new Pope. He assumes a new name and identity. That’s what you do when you assume the position of Santa Claus. And then my wife automatically became “Mrs. Claus,” which she really gets a kick out of. 

Chris: How much work goes into making Christmas happen? 

Santa: It really is a year-round process. Obviously, things get heavier as we get closer to Christmas. But, we basically work from January 1 until December, I get back home sometime early on December 26. 

Chris: How many people are on your crew? 

Santa: It’s a very big crew. We have our main office that myself and my head elf, Larry, work out of. We handle the logistics of everything. The route, what toys are going where, who’s been good and bad, you know. Larry has his team of five people under him who get most of that work done, then they bring it to me and it’s signed off on. Then we have the factory, where a crew of hundreds works on getting all the toys made and sorted out. And we have the reindeer habitat. We have caretakers there all the time. There are tons of small jobs, but we have enough people to do everything. 

Chris: How does this come together? Like, for example, at what point is the route finalized? When are all the toys completed? 

Santa: Well, it varies from year-to-year. We like to have the route finalized by February. As we get closer to December, we have a better idea of the weather and can make changes accordingly. The toys are a non-stop process. The hard stuff gets made earlier in the year - your bikes and ray guns and electronic whatnots - and some of the easier stuff we can hold off on until early autumn. We begin taking the reindeer on brief test runs once a week beginning in September, then up to three a week by the beginning of December. We need to make sure they know what they’re doing. 

Chris: What’s the best aspect of doing all of this? 

Santa: I don’t necessarily see the children opening their presents; that would be the absolute greatest joy. But, simply knowing that I’m helping these children have a happy day is knowledge enough. I don’t want to get into all of this negative stuff, but for a lot of kids Christmas is the best day of the year for them. And I like helping give that to them. 

Chris: The worst? 

Santa: I got bit by a reindeer once; I don’t remember which one. It’s been years ago. That wasn’t fun, for obvious reasons. Sometimes the weather isn’t great. I enjoy the cold, but sometimes it gets too cold. Rain, sleet, hail, it is not fun. All the good outweighs the bad, though. Dealing with a wet beard is the least of my worries. 

Chris: Why do you keep doing it after all these years? 

Santa: Why not? It’s an amazing challenge to try and top myself each year and deliver an even bigger Christmas season than before. 

Chris: Do you take a break at any point in the year? 

Santa: Not really. I take it a little easier in January, obviously. I went to the beach a few years ago, but that turned into a paparazzi nightmare. Nobody wants to see Santa, shirtless on TMZ. 

Chris: How did the advertising relationship with Coca-Cola come about? 

Santa: Those were a few Santas before me. Obviously, we didn’t know then what we know now about how bad the sodas are for you. But, a little Coke here and there never hurt anybody. Coca-Cola, I mean. That sound bite gets out by itself, and I could get in some deep you-know-what. 

Chris: Very true, Santa. We’re talking about the delicious beverage, here. 

Santa: Little-known fact: they film those scenes with the polar bears for their commercials in the summer. So, it’s like 25 degrees out and the bears have to pretend it’s negative 50. 

Chris: Any plans to shave the beard? 

Santa: Goodness, no. Beards have gotten a lot more cool and acceptable the last few years. I wish I could take credit for it and not those weird hipster kids. The beard is here to stay, just like me. 

Chris: Favorite cookie? 

Santa: Oh, they’re all so good. Sugar. Oatmeal. Chocolate chip. Gingerbread. If you want to leave a cookie for Santa - and an ice-cold Coca-Cola; sorry, they pay me - but, if you want to leave a cookie for Santa, I’m not picky. 

Chris: Any additional comments? 

Santa: Perhaps the most important thing to remember, that I don’t think we harp on enough as a society: be good. Be a good boy, be a good girl. Listen to your parents, be respectful, and always drink an ice-cold Coca-Cola. That last one was a joke, but the others are real. Be good, be nice. The world will be a better place. 

Chris: There you have it, straight from the jolly man himself. If you want to hear from Mr. Claus throughout the year, you can check him out on twitter, he is @santa__claus. That’s two underscores between Santa and Claus. You can find me, I’m @chris_slater. Just one underscore. The podcast goes live at youtube.com/86chrisslater and you can always find more information at chrisslater.blogspot.com. Santa, before we go, we have to hear the catch phrase. 

Santa: Haha sure thing. Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

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