AS you can imagine, dear reader, I’m a busy boy at this time of the year. Morning becomes night as the light recedes beyond the curve of the earth up here at the North Pole. Having said that, Mrs Claus ensures that I have a big bowl of porridge with lots of blueberries, chia seeds and dark chocolate sprinkles – she has me on a diet, again – after I waken from a ten-minute nap around 5am.
I usually slurp it into me as I have my first workshop meeting of the day with the elves.
At this briefing, my Chief Elf, Alabaster Snowball, updates me on the ‘Naughty and Nice List’, which these days is computerised. Now that might sound really efficient to you young people but, frankly, I’m still a pencil and paper person and all that digitisation is Greek to me.
So, with a big mug of coffee, I’m off on my rounds ensuring that all the toys are being made to the highest standard. Even if I have a signature laugh and the image of being jolly and happy all the time, there are a lot of stresses to keeping the children of the world happy when they waken on Christmas morning and go rooting under the tree to check if Santa read their lists properly.
As you all know, times have changed and lists have become longer and more demanding. Oh! for the old days when dolls, toy soldiers or train sets, and, maybe, a surprise kept the young people of the world happy. This year along with such classics as Barbies and Kens, my army of elves have had to create new Fingerlings Baby Dragons, Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescue Firetrucks, Robot Boxers and Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprises.
Add in the fact that elves can be high maintenance and that is not only because they have unionised themselves since the economic crash. Frankly, from time immemorial, I have had to handle them with kid gloves. Fortunately, Bushy Evergreen, my Inventor Elf, has been with me for hundreds of years and has a calming influence on some of the more irritable among them. Of course, my oldest and most trusted elf, Shinny Upatree is always there too, giving me moral support and ensuring all my magic spells are in working order while darling Sugarplum Mary sneaks me some of her chocolates when you-know-who isn’t watching.
Then there are the reindeer. As you probably know already, there can be tensions between Rudolph and some of the others, particularly Dancer and Prancer. I have to be pragmatic and practical though, since Rudolph’s nose is better than any GPS or radar system.
Try flying in over Clew Bay in the middle of a south-westerly gale, hailstone showers and not a sliver of light from the moon. I can assure you it is very easy to become impaled on top of Croagh Patrick. In fact, about three years ago we were forced to make an emergency landing there due to cross-winds that could have landed us in Vladivostok if I hadn’t pulled hard on the reins and made a U-turn. Comet and Cupid were at the back of the pack that night and their quick-thinking saved the sleigh from ditching all the toys out over the bay. Can you just imagine the headlines in The Mayo News? My reputation would have been ruined.
Each year Mrs Claus always ensures I have a very healthy lunch on Christmas Eve with lots of spinach and lean protein. This is to ensure I have a big enough appetite for several million mince pies and slices of Christmas cake later. Fortunately, that nuisance of an Irish Minister for Abstention – I can’t remember his name – has no jurisdiction over the heavenly highways and I drink every drop of whiskey left out for me from Skibbereen to Sydney and Ballina to Berlin.
Now that can cause trouble when I finally get home. Mrs Claus has her moments too and while she understands that I deserve a drop of the crathur on my big night of the year, she does not appreciate my snoring, or, indeed, flatulence, when I finally fall into bed. And that is not before giving the reindeer – Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen and, my guiding light, Rudolf – enough hay to have them belching and burping until the lights of spring peep over the horizon again and the elves begin to awaken from their winter slumber. And thus another year begins at Santa’s workshop at the North Pole.
Ho ho ho!
In conversation with Áine Ryan
Name: Santa Claus
From: 2412 Nuuk, Greenland, The North Pole.
Age: 1,738 years old
Occupation: Toymaker, sleigh driver and chimney acrobat.
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
When you’ve been at the same job for over a thousand years it would be hard to adjust but, perhaps, bring Mrs Claus on a round-the-world cruise. It would be nice to see the stars from a different vantage point but we’d have to go in disguise, of course.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I once got vertigo after landing on Trump Tower in Manhattan.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
I was left a plate of Boxty and a cup of buttermilk in a tiny cottage on the end of the Mullet peninsula in 1939.
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
The Great Wall of China, post-Mao Tse Tung.
What makes you angry?
People who forget to clean their chimneys for Christmas Eve, naturally.
Who was your first hero(ine)?
From the day I set eyes on her, Mrs Claus, my longtime love and soulmate.
Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Reindeer treats, seal blubber (to keep me and the reindeers warm on our journey) and a bottle of good Russian Vodka.
What makes you nervous?
Who’s the most favourite person you’ve met?
It has to be the actor Will Ferrell. He just cracks me up every time I watch ‘Elf’.
What do you most miss about being a kid?
I’m Santa Claus, stupid. I was born old.
What is your most prized possession?
My sleigh, of course.
Best advice you’ve every got?
Check the width of a chimney before you slide down.
Describe yourself in three words?
Jolly, rotund and great at ho-ho-hoing.
How do you unwind?
Sleep from January to July.