McGinnis: An interview with Santa ClausWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
No matter how old you are, there’s always something magical about meeting Santa Claus.
He emerges from behind a door at Westfield Franklin Park, looking resplendent in his red coat and carrying a cane. He walks to a beautiful area that’s been prepared for him in the mall, right in front of Macy’s.
Between preparing for his trip around the world on Christmas Eve and listening to the requests of hundreds, if not thousands, of children here at Westfield between now and Dec. 25, the legendary Saint Nicholas has his hands full.
And yet, Santa was kind enough to grant Toledo Free Press Star a rare interview in the middle of his busiest month. As he sat in his large and comfy chair, cane off to one side, coat neatly hung next to him, he smiled as he thought of the kids he sees every day.
“It’s just their smiling faces, the beautiful children. They come to see me, and they’ve been coming to see me for a long time. I’ve become accustomed to children, and I get to see them grow up through the years. And it’s just the love they have.”
He said his daily routine at Westfield is only part of a much bigger month of activity.
“I come in and meet with the children, then at breaks, I call the North Pole and check on the toy production, make sure the elves load the sleigh in the correct order and I review the naughty and nice list to make sure kids are staying on the nice list. At night, Mrs. Claus and I drink hot cocoa and rejoice at all the toy production.”
The elves must certainly have their hands full this year — kids aren’t asking for a wooden horse or jack-in-the-box much anymore. Santa said his most requested gifts this year are an iPod Touch or a Nintendo DSi. Quite a far cry from the traditional gifts one imagines Santa’s helpers crafting.
Sometimes, though, the children don’t ask for anything at all. “It is exciting when the children are so excited in line to see me, then when they come around the corner and see me, they sometimes scream bloody murder and go running back to Mom and Dad,” he said. “Often I can soothe them and calm them down enough to get a picture with me. Sometimes, the pouting faces are the best memories.”
It’s not just kids who visit Saint Nick at Westfield, however. “I also have a brother and sister who visit me every year even though they are well into their 30s, as well as a group of breast cancer survivors who celebrate each Christmas with a picture with me. A child is never too old to see Santa,” he said. “Earlier this year, a couple that had been married for 60 years had their photo taken with me.”
And kids don’t ask just for presents, of course. Any child who meets Santa is sure to be loaded with questions. “My favorite request was when a foster child asked for his foster parents to adopt him during Christmas,” he said.
Do any of the kids ask if they can pull his beard? He smiled. “No, they don’t ask, they just do that.”
And an answer to the question that everyone has wondered — what does Santa do Dec. 26, when everything is finally done?
“Rest. Just rest and take it easy. Reminisce, think about the things that have happened. And make plans for next year.”