It’s rare to score a few minutes with the big man this time of year with his busy schedule of supervising elves and last-minute tweaks to the naughty and nice list, but once we told him he was Hilton Head Monthly’s Most Valuable Person this month, he quickly obliged.
DB: Hello, Mr. Claus. Thanks for taking a few moments to speak with me today.
SC: No problem. Please, call me Nick.
DB: In order to ensure you’re the real deal and not some shopping mall imposter, I need to ask you a quick question to verify your identity. What did you give me for Christmas in 1986?
SC: The original Nintendo, of course. How could I resist with that lovely spread of milk and cookies and that adorable, poorly-written ‘thanks in advance’ note you put out? Man, you loved Duck Hunt.
DB: Some say you have one of the hardest jobs known to man, traveling around the world in a single night and delivering gifts to all the world’s girls and boys, but critics point to the 364 days you’re not working and suggest you’re a bit of an ill-qualified slacker. Which is it?
SC: Geez, will Glenn Beck ever get off my back? The truth is that being Santa isn’t all glamour. It’s a lot of hard work. I oversee a staff of 236 elves and we have a nerve-center that constantly monitors the world’s children and their good deeds and not-so-good deeds year-round. Plus, I’m dealing with thousands of different toy vendors and some very tight deadlines. Bottom line: It’s a much harder gig than my critics give me credit for.
DB: Forgive me for the sensitive nature of this question, but how do you fit down all of those chimneys? You’re not exactly slim.
SC: Those darn paparazzi only shoot pictures of me on my route. The truth is that I drop to about 180 pounds during the off-season, but quickly bulk up around the holidays because of all those sweets. Christmas night starts out smooth with me being able to fit in the tiniest of crevices. A few hours and millions of cookies later, I’m barely able to walk, let alone slide down a chimney. Luckily, Blitzen’s there to give me a kick in the fanny when I get stuck.
DB: Here on Hilton Head Island, we turn off the lights at night so we don’t disturb the sea turtles. How on earth are you able to find us?
SC: Rudolph installed a GPS unit on my sleigh a few years ago, so it sort of takes the guessing out of it. Plus between Dove Street and all of the new lights in Bluffton, I rarely pass Hilton Head by.
DB: I’ve always thought Mrs. Claus is quite the babe. How did you meet her?
SC: She was a cheerleader when my hockey team, the North Pole Polar Bears, took on the Antarctic Antelopes. I scored a hat trick and the love of my life that day!
DB: What’s the secret to your marriage?
SC: My wife and I love our yearly vacations to Hilton Head. It really recharges our batteries. I shave my beard so no one recognizes me and Mrs. Claus puts on a pair of big sunglasses. Gregg Russell is so kind to distract the kids while we have dinner in Harbour Town.
DB: Santa, you’ve been great.
SC: According to my list, you haven’t been, so don’t expect much from me this year. Santa out! Ho-ho-ho.