Christmas is only seven days away so we decided to sit down with the big man himself at Market Place Mall in Champaign and ask him a few questions about this year’s big toy requests, his favorite cookie, that infamous Naughty List, and much more!
What are little boys and girls asking for this year?
Hatchimals, Squishies, tractors. Lot of tractors.
What do you tell kids about getting everything on their list?
I tell them I do the best I can but some things, like live animals, is a parent or grandparent’s gift, or phones. Anything with a monthly bill, Santa does not give those things. I’m a toy builder.
Have you gotten any unique requests yet?
One little girl wanted a police taser. I went, ‘Whoa.’
You’ve got a pretty good gig; what is your favorite part about it?
Meeting the children. I love it. And watching the expressions of the parents. I get a lot of compliments and I really enjoy that.
Your busiest day is Christmas Eve but you work all year. What’s the toughest part of your job year-round?
Keeping the elves in line. They like to party.
Do you get any presents?
Not really. This is my present — doing this.
Mrs. Claus doesn’t get you anything?
Yeah — she might throw a new suit my way.
How do you stay on the nice list?
Being nice. Not doing bad things.
How do you get on the naughty list?
You have to be doing something really bad. Not too many people. The naughty list is real short.
Have you had any kids ask you about the nice list and the naughty list?
Oh, yes. They ask if they’re on the nice list or the naughty list. I say, ‘Did I ask you your name?’ They say, ‘Yes.’ And I say, ‘The nice list is miles and miles long, and I can’t remember those names. The naughty list is real short — I can remember those names. So if I knew your name, you’d be on the naughty list.’
What’s your favorite cookie?
The round one — ho ho ho. … But chocolate chip is nice.
What’s the true meaning of Christmas?
The true spirit of Christmas comes from the heart, as in the movie ‘Polar Express.’