Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mr. Claus explains all


"Santa, baby, please hurry down the chimney tonight."

That's the prayer being offered up by millions of children as they are tucked into bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. But what if you have the misfortune to live in a home without a chimney? How is Santa going to get in, anyway?

Our exclusive interview with the Big Guy, achieved only hours before he began his famous annual jaunt, will try to answer some burning questions.

UP FRONT WITH THE FAT MAN: Santa Claus, portrayed by Ed Howie, listens to the Christmas list of Fey Sambrano, 7, of Santa Ana.


Q. We don't have a chimney. How are you going to get into my house?
A. Santa has a special key that lets him into every home.

Q. How do you get down the chimney, anyway? It's awfully small.
A. I just suck in my breath and become very, very thin.

Q. How many presents does one elf make in a whole year? (Shree Kaser, 8, Aliso Viejo)
A. It varies, depending on the particular gift, but they make quite a large amount of almost everything.

Q. How does Santa eat cookies without leaving crumbs?
A. He has a special apron he brings with him that has deep pockets.

Q. How does Santa eat all those cookies and not become gigantic, and not die from all the sugar? (Tristen Miller, 10, Anaheim
A. A little bite here and a little bite there and a sip of milk. It's got to be fat-free milk.

Q. How do reindeer fly? (Megan Santagata, 5, Ladera Ranch)
A. They have magical anti-gravity properties.

Q. Does Rudolph guide the sleigh every year or only when there's fog?
A. Rudolph is with me all the time, because we never know what kind of weather we are going to hit in different parts of the world.

Q. My grandson Christian wants to know how Santa knows which houses to visit and which houses to skip over. Does he fly by the front of the house to see the numbers? (Hanna Baker, grandmother, Rancho Santa Margarita)
A. My elves put everything in my PDA and then I use GPS coordinates to find the houses. Santa has gone high-tech.

Q. What does Santa do after he's done delivering toys?
A. Collapses.

Q. What are kids asking you for this year?
A. A lot of electronic toys. They are asking me for Xbox 360; even 10-year-olds are asking for cell phones, the iPod, the nano.

Q. How old are you, Santa? (Emily Ruiten, 7, Foothill Ranch)
A. Ageless.

Q. What was the hardest question a child ever asked you?
A. A little girl asked me if I could get a liver for her sister to have a liver transplant. I told her there are some things that Santa can't do, but I would pray for her.

Q. What's the best thing about being Santa?
A. The joy I get from being with the kids.

Q. How do you respond to the existence of your impostors throughout the nation's shopping malls? Is there some sort of legislation at the North Pole prohibiting "impersonation of Santa Claus"? (Annie Sui, 16, Costa Mesa)
A. There's no law against impersonating Santa Claus, but there's only one true Santa who, if you believe, always brings the spirit and meaning of Christmas and the joy of giving to you.