Santa, the man behind the beard

Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, KrisKringle, Father Christmas, orsimply Santa, this iconic characteris loved by children the world over. Secrecy has alwayssurrounded this international mega-star, so just who is behind the beard? Ruben Lewis, aged eight and a quarter, investigates.With just a few weeksto the busiest night of the year, Santa Claus takes abreak to answer some burning questions. There’s a reason Santa starts in the Pacific – the warm water …

Q: Is it true you only workone night a year?

A: The delivery part ofmy work takes 32 hours, but planning the logistics andoverseeing toy construction takes most of the year.

Q: What’s changing inyour workshop?

A: There is a lot more focus on occupational health and safety in the workplacethese days, We’ve seen a real decline in work-related injuries.

The elves can be a bit sillywith the hammers, if I don’t keep an eye on them.

Q: How many elves do you have working at the shop this Christmas?

A: 19,503 working inthree shifts so construction can continue all around the clock.

Q: What would you like to receive this Christmas?

A: For me, it really is thethought that counts rather than expensive gifts.

Q: Can you pick just one?

A: The Captain Underpants DVD would be super.

Q: Where do you deliverto first?

A: I start in the South Pacific, then New Zealand and . After that, I zoomup to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada,the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. I travel around 510,000,000km, so thankfully my reindeer are supersonicand there’s no traffic jams.

Q: What do you do if a house hasn’t got a chimney?

A: I do have a magic key, although Rudolph’s very helpful at opening windows.

Q: How do you decide who is naughty or nice?

A: There are millions of children the world over, so I can’t monitor every child atevery moment. We do spot checks of course, but to get an accurate reading we usea highly convoluted mathematical equation. I won’tbore you with the detail, but it includes monitoring your carers for increases in greyhair. Helping with chores gets factored in, too.

Then I make a list andcheck it twice.

Q: Um, have I madethe cut?

A: Certainly looks very promising Ruben, but in the last few weeks there is stilleverything to play for. Brush your teeth, go to bed on time and be kind to yourbrother and you’ll enjoy a very merry Christmas.

Q: Is it true you knowmy Grandma?

A: Yes.

Thanks Santa, and good luck for your big night.