Christmas wishes from a very special Eph.
Advocate: Santa, we hear that your planning to return to
Williamstown again for the town 2008 Holiday Walk.
Santa: Yes, Williamstown is one of the most special places on
earth. I’ve been visiting different places for over 200 years and
I’d have to say that your town is one of my favorites.
Advocate: Santa, how long does it take to get here?
Santa: Well, technically my workshop is based in the North Pole but
it’s safe to say that I come from everywhere, given the many, many
places I need to visit to celebrate the Holiday traditions
throughout the world. In fact depending on where I am, I’m
recognized by many different names. A few that come to mind are:
St. Nickolas, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Pelznickel, Ru-Klaus,
Sante Klaas, Sinter Claes, Grandfather Frost and a few more- that
Ahem.. let’s say the less spirited (or perhaps the too spirited)
have dubbed me. I dare not repeat them for the sake of the children.
Advocate: Santa, is it safe to say that you have a lock on being
the sole commercial icon of the Christmas season?
Santa: There are other players out there – but c’mon … and no
offense intended here but…Befana- an Italian witch on a broom?
Julnissen- the grey-clad giftgiving elf of Denmark? The Russian
Grandfather Frost? I’ll let you decide! Plus, good Christian
children know that the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the
birth of the Christ child. As you know, we all answer to a higher
power, and even Santa has a boss, if you get my snowdrift.
Rest of the interview below. Also, read this heart-warming story.
Merry Christmas to Ephs far and wide.
Advocate: How did you start your Yule career?
Santa: Oh, the good old days… when I made my debut the Dutch
really took a liking to me. In fact, they invited me to travel to
your country way before it became the United States of America. It
was the little Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, nowadays called New
York City where I got my start. Now here is where it gets
interesting… I had already made a bit of a name for myself in
Holland. I had been a feature act in their Yuletide Festival. They
dubbed me St. Nickolas, but the name didn’t really take on universal
importance until I decorated the ship that brought me to America.
From that point on I became the patron saint of seafarers who spread
the word throughout all of the major ports in the world.
Advocate: Have you always worn the red suit that we are accustomed
Santa: No, my first get up was much like a bishops robe, then I
switched my style to include a pipe and some tight Dutch style
breeches.. Ouch! For health reasons I rid myself of the pipe years
ago and dabbled in a variety of looks but in 1931 I was asked to
pose for an illustration for a Coca Cola ad and had to come up with
a catchy look. The red suit I wore received rave reviews. Since
then I have stuck with my current attire. Works well.. wouldn’t you
agree? Weird though, the soda illustration depicted me as being
much shorter and chubbier than I am… even after all of the great
Mrs. Claus meals I’ve consumed over the past 200 years.
Advocate: Have you always had the sleigh and eight tiny reindeer?
Santa: No, when I first came to the New World I rode around the
colonies on a white horse but those early britches gave me a serious
rash so I opted for the sleigh thing. Just as well, I’ve put on a
mess of pounds and probably would have given my horse a hernia by
now. How you say… bowl full of jelly and a half! Ho, Ho, Ho.
When I arrive in Sydney,Australia though I’m not in my sleigh pulled
by 8 tiny reindeer. There they like me to come into town on a boat.
Afterall- Christmas in the land down under occurs in mid-summer.
Yet- riding into Williamstown on the Volunteer Fire Department hook
and ladder truck is my favorite ride of all. I wouldn’t trade that
experience for all the gumballs in Santas Workshop.
Advocate: How did you find your current helpers Santa.. you
Santa: Well I started out with one guy called Peter who used to
scare the kids who were bad during the year to get them to change
their ways. Not my style.. I pride myself on being kind, jolly,
twinkly eyed.. this guy was giving me a bad rap. You may know, I
keep my eye on children through a telescope and jot down whether
kids have been bad or good in my big journal of names. I didn’t
need some guy telling me what I already know. Plus, kids have the
opportunity to write me letters to explain some of their misdeeds.
I answer them all and I wouldn’t be Santa if I wasn’t forgiving. Oh
yeah, for a very short while I also had an Austrian guy named Knecht
Ruprecht helping me. He was very good at carrying Santa’s goodies,
but he also reminded children that if they weere naughty they would
be seeing coal in their Christmas stockings. Another guy trying to
do my job, but Heck, with high energy costs these days that may not
be such a bad idea.
Advocate: The current elves?
Santa: Oh, to answer your question I was very impressed with their
disposition, so I hired a few, and loved the results. The rest they
say is history!
Advocate: Santa, how are your reindeer able to fly?
Santa: Well, even though they have neither feathers nor wings, they
do have unusually powerful hind legs and aero-dynamically correct
antlers, which enable them to travel at speeds impossible to measure
by scientific instruments
Advocate: How did the reindeer get their names?
Santa: They named each other, Dancer named Prancer, Vixen named
Blitzen, Comet named Dasher so on and so forth
Advocate: Do you mind telling us how old you are, Santa?
Santa: Let’s just say that I am several hundred years old and leave
it at that, But I promise you this: As long as you believe in me, I
will exist forever.
Advocate: How old is Mrs. Claus?
Santa: She will scold me for telling her age but here goes: She is
one year younger than me.
Advocate: Does Mrs. Claus have a “nick”name for you, Santa?
Santa: Yes: She calls me J.O.E. – which stands for “Jolly Old Elf.”
Advocate: Why do you live at the North Pole?
Santa: Because in my location at the top of the world I can observe
the behavior of all of the little girls and boys.,
Advocate: Do you speak any foreign languages, Santa?
Santa: Yes, because I’ve been around for such a long time, I
currently understand 9,989,467 dialects and also speak fluent
Advocate: Santa, you look like you enjoy your food. Is there any
food that you won’t eat?
Advocate: Santa, do you mind telling us how much you weigh?
Santa: This is a closely guarded secret.
Advocate: What is your favorite kind of music?
Santa: Christmas music, closely followed by rhythm and blues and doo
Advocate: Any brothers or sisters?
Santa: No, but when you take into account the friendship I have with
my great number of elves, what more could Mrs. Claus and I ask for?
Advocate: What is Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer’s middle name?
Advocate: How do you get up and down the chimney?
Santa: Inhale … exhale.
Advocate: Do you have a cell phone?
Santa: Yes, but it’s a very long number – you had better get a pen
and a pad of paper!
Advocate: What do the reindeer do in their down time?
Santa: They play reindeer games. If you ever play with them, try to
avoid winter sports.
Advocate: Where do you get your hair cut and beard trimmed?
Santa: St. Pierre’s Barber Shop on Spring Street in Williamstown.
Advocate: Any newspapers at the North Pole?
Santa: You bet your candy cane: “The Polar Press” and “North Pole
Advocate: Do the Clauses have any pets?
Santa: Yes, nine reindeer.
Advocate: Do Santa and Mrs. Claus have any children?
Santa: The Clauses consider all who believe in him, regardless of
their age, to be their children.
Advocate: What sports do you like, Santa?
Santa: I’m a big sports fan. I enjoy all sporting events and roots
for all teams. You can find me watching games on my Telf-a-vision
because there is perfect reception at the top of the world.
Advocate: Where does Santa get his clothes?
Santa: If you mean my Santa suit, that was made by Mrs. Claus –
though not proud to say that I wear size XLSSS (Extra Large Special
Advocate: Have you ever fallen off your sleigh?
Santa: No, I always wear my Santa Sleigh Belt. Once in a while I
lose a present, though, but it’s fun to see it tumble down into the
Advocate. What was the strangest gift request you ever had?
Santa. I’ve had many strange requests, but a child once sent me a
letter asking me to bring a whoopie cushion. It must have been the
Advocate: Any parting words Santa?
Santa: HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL EPHS, AND TO ALL EPHS GOOD NIGHT!
Santa A.K.A. Ron Gallagher, has been the Williamstown Holiday Walk
Santa for 14 years running. His “day job” is Assistant Director of
the Office of Career Counseling at Williams College.