Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interview with Kris Kringle

Interview with Kris Kringle
By Kemberlee Shortland, copyright December 2009

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me, Kris. We understand how busy you must be this time of year. {Santa laughs}

What can you tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and your job?

{thinking, eyes rolling toward ceiling briefly} I was born in Patara of Lycia, now Turkey, sometime in the middle of the 3rd century {winks}. When you're my age, the exact date doesn't seem to matter. Ho, ho, ho! {belly jiggles like a bowl of jelly} I was raised in a monastery in Myra when my folks passed away. When I was 30 I became the Bishop of Lycia. Of course, back then I was called Nicholas.

I'm married to Mrs. Claus. In all our years of wedded bliss, she still won't tell me what her first name is {lifting brow and muttering something about complicated women}. We weren't blessed with our own children, but we have hundreds of elves living with us now. And well, we've kind of adopted the children of the world as our own, haven't we? {smiles with cheeks like roses}

I think I've got the best job in the world. I work one twenty-four hour shift then I'm off for the rest of the year. Ho, ho, ho! If you believe that, maybe you should get coal in your stocking this year {winks}. Seriously, being Santa Claus is no laughing matter. Certainly the 24th is the busiest night of the year for Claus and Company, but the rest of the year we put in long days and sometimes the evenings too. We now have billions of names to check, crosscheck and re-check again to be sure they're on the right list. Then there are the letters we get from those little tykes asking for special presents. We have a special department for that. Then there's production, quality control, engineering…we've quite a large manufacturing facility at the North Pole. Sure, I could just wiggle my nose and make presents appear, but that wouldn't be any fun now, would it? {winks, touches the side of his nose in "that way"}

What do you enjoy the most about being Mr. Christmas?

Ho, ho, ho! Oh, there's just so much about being me I enjoy. I get to meet people from all over the world. I know all the languages. Even that silly hand thing they do on the lower east side {shakes head, incredulous}.

I love to give gifts too, but only to the good boys and girls. For the bad girls and boys I have a coal shed out back {winks}. Hey, where do you think we get the coal for the stockings?

How did you get started and interested in gift giving? When did Christmas begin?

Back in the old days, and I'm going back to the 3rd century, I used to be creative with my hands. I'd carve and shape things all year, and save them up for the big day. I had this cute little donkey, Ho, ho, ho…that was his name, Ho, ho, ho…and we'd ride out across the countryside once a year and deliver the toys to poor children. Word got around and the wealthy parents were commissioning things for their kids. Then neighboring communities found out and they wanted things for their kids and well, it just snowballed…pardon the pun.

It was after they made me a saint that I moved to the North Pole. I was hoping for a little peace and quiet up there. Then I met the Elvises. Nice little family with pointy ears and funny shoes. Requests for gifts kept pouring in so the Elvises helped me set up shop, and well…you know the rest.

Do you have any favorite toys?

{looks around quickly, narrows his gaze then whispers} I promised Mrs. Claus I wouldn't talk about those {winks}.

{interviewer clears throat} Moving right along... What has been your best memory of Christmas so far?

Ho, ho,ho! By far the feeling I get when I see the joy on the little one's faces when they receive their special Santa gifts {sighs}.

Do you have a routine you follow during the year to help get in shape for the big night?

{groaning} You know, I tried that low carb diet and the South Beach Diet. Poor Mrs. Claus suffered through the week I was on the cabbage soup diet. Who am I kidding? The poor Elvis's threatened to quit if I didn't have more windows installed in the factory, or more gas masks. In the end, I just stopped dieting. My good friend and mentor Father Time reminded me that I'm immortal and that a skinny Santa just wasn't right. Ho, ho, ho! I do have to pace myself though. At every stop is a plate of cookies or Christmas cake waiting and a glass of milk {rubs belly}.

What do you find the hardest about preparing for Christmas?

You know, if I had a few more hours in the day I'd like to relax a little, maybe sit by the hot tub a little more, get one of those little Jamaican gals to come up and braid my beard {glancing around quickly for Mrs. Claus then grins}.

Seriously, a few more hours in the day wouldn't go amiss, especially on the 23rd. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to pack a few billion toys onto that little sleigh? {shakes head, disbelieving}

What is your biggest pet peeve about the holidays? Is there anything that turns you off about Christmas?

Heck yeah! I think the whole thing has gotten too commercial. Back in the old days, it was about love and family and community. Today it's all about "keeping up with the Jones's." Kids want toys better than the kid next door, Mom's trying to bake herself into exhaustion, Dad's obsessive about the turkey. I tell you, Spot and Whiskers have it right. Just camp out by the fire all day with your legs in the air. Ho, ho, ho!

{wipes tears of laughter from eyes} I think we should get back to homemade gifts, things we create especially for someone that come from the heart, that's what Christmas is all about. Tell someone you love them. That's the best gift anyone could get {points finger}.

{interviewer runs a nervous finger under collar to loosen, clears throat} Do you have much time to read?

I love to read. It's a great way to escape for a few hours. I especially love them romance ones. Gives a man ideas! {glances side to side checking for eavesdroppers}

Unfortunately, the only time I get any peace is in the "necessary" so I read in there quiet often.

What books are you anxious to grab when they come available?

Oh, just about anything really. I love to read. Over the centuries I've learned to read quickly so I can go through a couple books a day. I especially love exotic locations. You know, living in the snow all the time really makes me appreciate sunnier climates.

Like Jamaica?

Ho, ho, ho!

Do you have any aspirations to write a book of your own someday?

Ho, ho, ho! Maybe one day I'll write my memoir, but for now I'll just stick to Naught or Nice Lists. {scratches chin through his thick beard} You know, if I was anyone else, I'd publish those Naught Lists {winks}.

You haven't mentioned the reindeer yet. How's the gang doing?

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudy are all doing well. Dash and Vixen hooked up. Dancer and Prancer are an item now too. Comet, Donner and Blitzen are sharing quarters now, but we don't talk about that. To each their own {rolling eyes}.

What about Rudolf and Cupid?

Rudy's a playboy. The girls love his red nose. He's ever the gentleman, but to Mrs. Claus's disappointment, we don't think he'll ever settle down. But you never know, do you?

Cupid {sighs}…Cupid's a lover. Loves everyone, everyone loves Cupid. We're afraid that he spends too much time playing matchmaker that he'll never find his own match. {taps the side of his nose} The Elvis's are onto something though. Can't say yet, but {makes imaginary quote marks in the air} watch this space. Ho, ho, ho!

{interviewer grins} Tell us something we'd be shocked to discover about you. Kris?

I have an all over body tan. There's this great little nude beach in Jamaica....{attention wanders reflectively}

{clearing throat to get things back on track} Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview, Kris?

Ho, ho, ho! I'd like to wish all the boys and girls a Meeeerrrrrry Christmas {he sings}. There's still some redemption time left before the big night. You know who you are out there {lifts a single fluffy brow}. Do some good deeds between now and the 24th and that lump of coal will become a special gift in your stocking.

Thank you very much Kris for the time spent doing this interview. It's always great, getting to know our Saints better.

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