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franklin county times

Santa Claus prepares for Christmas run

By By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
Dec. 23, 2002
With Christmas just two days away, Santa Claus has been busy putting the final touches on his annual worldwide tour when he will deliver toys to millions of boys and girls.
Santa plans to begin his trek at the International Dateline and then head east, taking him over Meridian skies sometime late Christmas Eve or the early-morning hours of Christmas.
In between supervising his elves, checking over his list and caring for a slightly under-the-weather Mrs. Claus, Santa took time to talk with The Meridian Star editorial board about his plans this year.
The Meridian Star: We're sorry to hear Mrs. Claus has this nasty flu that's going around. Will she be able to help this year?
Santa Claus: Oh, it's nothing really just a cold. I think it's just an excuse for Mrs. Claus to have me bring her breakfast in bed every morning. She likes the attention, particularly this time of the year when I'm busy planning my flight.
Seriously, though, she'll be fine. She even mentioned to me last week she wants to fly with me and Rudolph and the gang this year. I told her no, she needs to stay here and regain her strength. She doesn't need to be out in that night air. Plus, I just don't have any room in my sleigh.
The Star: How often do you check your list?
Santa: Well, that song my friends J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote back in 1934 says I check it twice. Actually, I try to check it more than that because sometimes you get last-minute changes and names listed as naughty suddenly are switched to the nice column.
One time, many years ago, things got so hectic at the North Pole and we were so far behind filling wish lists that I only had time to check the naughty list to make sure I marked off the right boys and girls from my Christmas route.
The naughty list hasn't been that long in recent years. Last year, I didn't have anybody on the naughty list; I think the boys and girls have been trying real hard to be as good and nice as possible. This year alone I expect to deliver a record number of toys worldwide.
The Star: What is the most-requested toy of the year?
Santa: That old mainstay, the bicycle even though it technically isn't a toy. I can't tell you how many letters I got this year from boys and girls asking me for a bike. And I'm sure it'll be the same next year.
The Star: How do you safely cover the entire world in a 24-hour period?
Santa: No doubt about it I have the best, crackerjack team of flying reindeer anywhere in the world. And with Rudolph guiding me every year, you just can't go wrong. I don't have to worry about bad visibility when I have someone with such a bright red nose leading the way.
Besides my team of reindeer, I also frequently get help from the U.S. Navy when flying over the United States and its territories. I can't begin to tell you how much smoother things go when I'm flying over Meridian with an escort from the Naval Air Station there. Those guys are, I don't know, incredible.
Of course, you have to have a good flight plan before you hit the skies. And after years and years and years of doing this, I can put together as accurate a flight plan as anybody today. I've even made a few minor modifications to my sleigh through the years to make it more aerodynamic, reduce the wind resistance and smooth the ride.
The Star: What do you do after you finish delivering Christmas presents? Do you close shop until next Christmas?
Santa: The first thing I do when I get back to the North Pole late on Christmas night is kick off my shoes, grab a cold Coke from outside, plop myself on my recliner, turn on my big screen TV and watch the football game that Mrs. Claus tapes for me usually one of those lower-tier, insignificant college bowl games. But, hey, it's college football, you know? I love it. As a matter of fact, I like Ole Miss over Nebraska in the Independence Bowl and USM over Oklahoma State in the Houston Bowl.
Anyway, back to your question, I try to sleep late the morning after Christmas because flying around the world for almost 24 hours straight is enough to wear you out.
But I don't get to rest too much because I immediately start planning for next Christmas in January. My North Pole Research Department is hard at work year-round devising on the latest toy designs and incorporating improvements into existing ones.
My job doesn't start and end with the holiday season. It's a 365-day-a-year affair.
The Star: Do you have any special requests for boys and girls this year?
Santa: Yes. Before they leave me a glass of milk at night, please, please, please, please, please check the date on the carton to see if it's still good. I know they mean well, but sour milk just tastes nasty. And to Vanda, who left me a note at a recent Meridian Symphony Orchestra concert, no soy milk please. I prefer cow milk.
Oh, one more thing: chocolate chip cookies. If they can, leave me a few chocolate chip cookies. I love those things, especially Chips Ahoy. Mrs. Claus can't keep enough of them at home. One night after delivering presents for 24 hours she asked me to stop at the grocery and pick up a case before I came home. I had to remind her the stores were closed for Christmas.
The Star: What's your one wish for Christmas this year?
Santa: Just one? I have several, and all are interrelated. I hope I bring all the boys and girls exactly what they wanted and I want everyone to have a great, safe Christmas.
And, as corny as it sounds, I want everyone to remember the real reason I'm here and the real reason why we have the holiday to celebrate and honor the birth of Jesus.
I think if people remember that, then everything else will fall in to place and be perfect.

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