SANTA IN THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY
Santa Claus sat down recently with the Stouffville Free Press in his North Pole workshop, reflecting on some of the changes the new century has brought and how he’ll be getting the job done for Christmas 2017.
SFP: Hi Santa. You must be getting lots of Dear Santa letters by now.
SC: For sure. A lot of them are coming in the form of tweeting, texting …whatever. Had to get the youngest elf in the workshop to figure out what the kids are asking for. We just got a text “Hi S HRU. 2N8 P brng M Superfriends Batman Batbot Xtreme, Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit… GTG PIR MC “ We accept digital requests but I still prefer hand written letters – there’s something about holding the paper, the big crayon printing, envelopes addressed simply to Santa Claus – North Pole…..but I know we have to keep up with how the world communicates.
SFP: So do you keep all your lists electronically now – i.e., “the ones you’re checking twice to find out who’s naughty and nice”?
SC: My lawyer says we can’t keep lists anymore because they contain personal information, and treating “naughty” and “nice” differently would be discriminatory. So no lists.
SFP: Any trends, ’must have’ toys this year?
SC: High tech’s hot – robots, ride in vehicles, anything Star Wars, interactive dolls, puppies, tigers, lego sets, super hero action figures… the days of watercolour paint boxes, slinkies and etch a sketch are long gone”
SFP: And the sleigh and reindeer can handle all that?
SC: It’s fine while we’re airborne. The problem is landing – ever tried to land a loaded sleigh and 8 reindeer on a 45 degree pitch tile roof? The houses are really close together now thanks to this urban intensification everywhere. And don’t get me started on those laser projectors- thousands of dots of light everywhere, messing up the reindeers’ natural starlight navigation systems.
SFP: Something I’ve always wanted to know – how do you get into houses with no chimney and fireplace?
SC: Actually, I never slid down chimneys – it was fake news. I use the door, like anybody else. If anybody in the house is still up I deploy the Santa Stunner – a handy little tool that freezes the action in the house till I’m done my delivery. They never know what hit them. Kind of a toy taser. And no, I’m not taking orders for those.
SFP: Are people still remembering to put out treats for you?
SC: Yes, but they can’t even leave that tradition alone. Shortbread, cookies, eggnog, a glass of wine – sugar, fat, booze, it was all good. Now everybody’s on a health kick. A note left for me last year read, “Santa, we want to help you blast that belly fat. They left me a kale smoothie, carrot sticks and some lettuce wedges!
SFP: We heard a rumour that you were thinking of re-locating to the South Pole. What was that about?
SC: We had some flooding in the sleigh garage. The polar ice cap’s melting, of course and the water level rose higher than we’d expected. We thought the South Pole, Antarctica, might be an option. It’s just cracking apart. But then the penguins heard about it and there were hundreds of thousands of them marching in protest. So we just shelved that idea.
SFP: One last question. So many homes are now equipped with security systems, alarms, cameras, motion detectors and so on. Aren’t you and the reindeer liable to be detected, or photographed by those systems? Or have you found a way to circumvent or temporarily disable them to get your work done in the house?
SC: No problem. Some guys I know live not far from the North Pole – Ivan, Sergie and Vladmir. They say they can hack into any system. They’re taking care of everything for me Christmas Eve, and no one’ll ever be the wiser.
SFP: Thanks so much for your time, Santa. Merry Christmas!