April 5, 2020

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Winnipeg Free Press

ABOVE THE FOLD

The biggest interview of the holiday season

The Free Press sits down with the jolliest of elves ahead of his biggest night of the year

A week before Christmas, I found out it is harder to get an interview with Santa Claus than it was to get pop star Shawn Mendes on the phone.

After being passed off from person to person, including one with the title "Santa wrangler" in her email address, for many days, finally — FINALLY — I was able to lock in a time to have a one-on-one question-and-answer session with the big guy in red at his home base at CF Polo Park shopping centre.

Santa is getting ready for his biggest, busiest night of the year, during which he will deliver presents to more than 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. You can track his path Tuesday night at the official Norad site or by using the Santa Tracker app.

Santa says his pre-Christmas rituals include weightlifting and yoga to help him stay flexible. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Santa says his pre-Christmas rituals include weightlifting and yoga to help him stay flexible. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

At a very sprightly 1,749 years old, Santa says he’s been amping up his fitness routines to make sure he’s got enough kick in his kringle to make it through the night. He also gives the Free Press some intel that he is increasing production at the workshop in the North Pole to accommodate an increased demand for LOL dolls and Lego, two of the most popular toys on kids’ wish lists this year.

Obviously, Santa’s schedule is pretty crammed these days, but, being the generous guy he is, he was kind enough to spare a few minutes to answer some of our burning questions about his life on and off the Christmas clock.

Winnipeg Free Press

Christmas is less than a week away now. Do you have any rituals or routines you go through before the big day?

Santa Claus

My pre-Christmas rituals are weightlifting and yoga, to stay flexible.

Winnipeg Free Press

Do you have a favourite reindeer?

Santa Claus

I would have to say Rudolph, he leads my sleigh.

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How many red suits do you own? And have you ever thought about changing up your look?

Santa Claus

You know, I really don’t keep count. And I have tried a green suit, but red suits me best.

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Any tips for staying off the naughty list?

Santa Claus

Listen to your parents.

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Do you actually check the list twice? Or is it a one-and-done situation?

Santa Claus

Oh no, definitely twice. Sometimes three times.

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How do you personally celebrate Christmas once you’re off the clock?

Santa Claus

Well, I like to go south, to the South Pole, because it’s summer down there and they have penguins.

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Any other favourite vacation spots for you and Mrs. Claus?

Santa Claus

Hawaii. Mrs. Claus likes to go surfing.

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For the record, what is your favourite kind of cookie, and do you actually drink all that milk?

Santa Claus

My favourite cookie would be the cookie under your tree, and yes, I drink the milk.

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What do you do during the off-season? Do you have any hobbies?

Santa Claus

What off-season? Santa Claus is all-encompassing.

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What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

Santa Claus

The joy on children’s faces.

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What’s your favourite thing about Christmas being over?

Santa Claus

The joy on Santa’s face.

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You have a very impressive beard; do you have a beard-maintenance routine?

Santa Claus

Well, my beard-maintenance routine would be let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

Winnipeg Free Press

You’re more than 1,700 years old, so do you have any wise words to share with our readers this holiday season?

Santa Claus

Rest, listen to your parents and eat lots of cookies... I hope you all have a very merry Christmas; be good and I’ll see you soon.

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

Read full biography

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