By Kelly Youngblood
The countdown to Christmas is on and while many parents may be scrambling to finish their last-minute holiday to-do lists, there’s one jolly, old elf in a red suit who is remaining calm under the pressure.
We recently met up with said elf at Market Place Mall in Champaign, where he shared with us the top toy requests this year, reveals a few special Santa secrets, and gets a little personal about him and the missus.
What are kids asking for this year?
I’ve had lots of requests for Monster High dolls, Barbie doll houses and for Frozen dolls. That’s a very hot one this year.
What about the boys? What are they asking for?
Your basic tractor, cars, combines, garbage trucks, fire trucks.
Have you gotten any strange requests so far?
Yes, there was a little boy here a couple nights ago that asked for a hot dog.
You’re pretty busy this time of year, and in fact, will be here at Market Place Mall every day through Christmas Eve. How do you get everything done in time for Christmas?
The elves at the North Pole help. I don’t have the small hands and fingers that the elves do so they don’t want me in the workshop while they’re working. I’m not real good with the delicate stuff so I just supervise from afar.
What are your elves like?
They’re kids at heart too and they love sharing the joy of Christmas through the toys that we make.
How about the North Pole? What’s it like?
It’s kind of like how it is in The Polar Express. It has mountains all around- that’s why it’s real hard to find. It’s kind of in an inaccessible location and there’s magic that covers it on top so planes flying overheard don’t see it. We have our own village there. It’s pretty awesome!
What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not getting ready for Christmas?
Mrs. Claus and I are able to take vacations for quite a few months but we are still in contact with the elves in Research and Development at the North Pole. We do reverse engineering things at the pole like taking apart I-phones and putting them back together so we know how to make them.
Do you take offense to the children and babies who cry and don’t want to sit on your lap? Does it give you a baby complex?
No, we joke around about it. The ones who squirm away (fall under) the “Escape Clause” and the older ones who don’t want to sit on Santa’s lap (represent) the “Too Cool for Claus Clause.”
Are you a stickler about the naughty list?
Santa always grades on a curve. It works good for the school systems so we do that too. But really, we want children to be good year-round, not just at Christmastime.
Do you and Mrs. Claus exchange gifts at Christmas?
Santa: Yes, but I haven’t decided what I’m getting her yet.
Mrs. Claus: He’s getting me something from the Kitchens store.
And Mrs. Claus, what will you get Santa or is it a surprise?
Mrs. Claus: Maybe tools or sometimes I buy him a new coat because his gets worn out since he’s outside so much, or gloves and a hat. But no cookies because you guys give him so many. He doesn’t get cookies from me until June.
Ok Santa, we want to hear from you, what is the true meaning of Christmas?
The true meaning of Christmas is the act of giving. And that should not just be for Christmastime, it should be year round. I really want for moms and dads to teach their children about the giving part. What really causes Santa’s heart to get soft is when I’ve had kids come through and not want anything for themselves but want something for somebody else.
Thank you so much for your time Santa and Chambanamoms wishes you the best of luck this Christmas!