Santa Claus reflects on his time in Sonora as he prepares for tonight’s headlong Christmas Eve race around the world, delivering gifts and good wishes to the young and young at heart.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but nothing I’ve done has been this much fun,” Santa said. “The children make me laugh, and sometimes they make me cry, just a little. My visit here has given me a real sense of what a special community this is.”
He saw babies as young as 3 days old this year. Generally, babies a year or younger are perfectly comfortable with Santa, but they can go through a period, from about 1 to 3 years old, when Santa is kind of big and scary up close.
“I try not to push myself on them,” he said. “Sometimes they want to stay in their parents arms and talk to me, or sometimes they want to sit on the chair next to mine, and that’s just fine.”
When the children get a little older, they start doubting whether he’s the real Santa and test him by asking the names of his reindeer or pulling on his beard. Of course, he always passes their tests, because he is the real Santa Claus.
He said Legos of all kinds are the hottest toys this year, and there are a lot of different kinds of Lego sets. Among the most popular are Star Wars and a train set. He has also gotten a lot of requests for Furbies.
Barbie never goes out of style, and neither do all the trappings for the iconic doll.
“A lot of kids want cell phones, iPads and things like that,” he said, “but if they are little kids, I tell them Mrs. Santa has a rule that I can’t give them electronics until they are 13 years old. Their parents sometimes breathe huge sighs of relief when they hear that.”
The most touching requests he gets are from children who want their families together for the holidays, wish their dads could come home, or just want to have a home for their families.
“That’s a real lesson about what’s going on right now,” he said. “Every day I get at least one or two requests similar to that.”
Santa said he expects on the whole to feel very good tomorrow about the job he, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, his elves and all of his other helpers around the world did to make it a happy Christmas.
But first, he’s going on a long vacation before he starts planning for next Christmas Eve.
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Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties