It's that time of year when the world falls in love! And also that time of year where I, your humble correspondent, score the biggest interview of the season. Of course I'm talking about my one-on-one with Santa Claus.
In years past we've uncovered quite a bit about the mysterious man in red and white and his one night per year operation. From the conspiracy to fudge global caroling statistics, to the Grinch now being on the North Pole payroll as an adviser — and let's not forget the Elf Research and Support Division, or ERSD.
Last week I sat down with the jolly old elf to ask him questions you submitted ahead of time. Here now is the transcript from that interview — a Lodi News-Sentinel tradition.
Wade Heath: I know you. You see me when I sleep like a creeper. Let's not waste time, Claus. And be warned, by sitting down with me, you've just entered the no tinsel zone.
Santa Claus: Wade, it is always a pleasure to chat. What's on your readers' minds?
WH: First question comes from 10-year-old Riley Ross. He asks where the names for your reindeer came from?
SC: Well, hello, Riley. You've been an especially good boy this year! The names Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen all were provided by children of the world. Our Christmas Relations division held a naming campaign where children submitted names from over fourteen countries back in the mid-1800s which led to the names we have today. Prior to that the reindeer were numbered, which I always thought was too impersonal.
WH: "Christmas Relations"? Where are they located?
SC: They're up in our Elfefeller Center offices, North Pole, North Pole.
WH: Next question comes to us from 8-year-old Dylan Stohn. Dylan was wondering what kind of car you drive?
SC: Oh, Dylan, that's a wonderful question. I have a Santillac Clausalade. It's big on comfort and on luxury. A custom design was made just for me.
WH: I suppose you could say that you're a part of the 1 percent then?
SC: Excuse me?
WH: You're bragging about all of this luxury and wealth. One could say it was time to Occupy the Pole.
SC: (Rolls eyes) Now wait just a second, Wade!
WH: The next question comes from Steven Isaak who would like to know, besides Christmas music, what do you listen to?
SC: I have a lot of favorites. Beethoven, Sinatra, Doris Day, Bach and Mrs. Claus enjoys David Archuleta and the Beach Boys.
WH: Are you a "Belieber"?
SC: Never say never.
WH: Our next question comes from Ryan Heinrich who is concerned about a few things. He asks: "What are the cutoff dates to balance my naughty and nice deductions to make the nice list? And if I were to fudge the numbers, would Santa audit me?"
SC: Ryan, you're under review until the moment we touch down at your residence, by our Elf Research and Support Division so "fudging" the numbers wouldn't be possible. However, the nature of your question has me raising an eyebrow, so maybe an audit is in order.
WH: Katie Wagenman asks, besides cookies, what are some of your favorite eats?
SC: Oh, kick my candy canes, that's an excellent question. Mrs. Claus prepares one of the finest figgy pudding casseroles ever. But at the pole we have an executive chef, John-Pierre, who creates fine meals for my family and full feasts for the elves. If I had to get specific I'd have to say sugar plum pasta, gingerbread crepes and eggnog omelets.
WH: Our final question comes from 4-year-old Jeweliana Bowels, who asks where did you and Mrs. Claus get married?
SC: The missus and I married at a spectacular wedding and reception at the North Pole under the mistletoe, of course. However, one of our honeymoon destinations was Christmas Cove, Maine in your United States. Beautiful place.
WH: Mr. Claus, every year we ask you to share with us some Lodi people who make the nice list. Anyone off the top of your head who made the cut?
SC: Oh yes. Nice listers are Kylie Rudow, Richard Dean, Jim Yerkes, Brittany Ehlers, Colton Machado, Debbie Fine, Nanette Wiesner, Jennifer Howell, Tom McCauley, Andrew Nitschke, Cory Pack, Lizzie Drummond and Mike Lawce, to name just a few.
WH: You've never shared any naughty list people. Can we get you to budge this year?
SC: Never a good idea, Wade, although after the way he cast his mayoral vote a few weeks ago, Bob Johnson is at risk of losing his nice list status.
WH: Well, Santa, it has been another groundbreaking interview. Thanks for your time. I'll give you the last word.
SC: As always, my friends, stay safe, love one another and express gratitude for all you've been blessed with. And I'll be seeing you very soon. Merry Christmas!
Columnist Wade Heath was born and raised in Lodi. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.