By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
“Ho! Ho! Ho!…sorry I just had to say it,” says Santa Claus as we begin our annual profile.
Santa spoke to The Coaster in his own words:
“I really don’t mind doing these profiles every year, in fact I enjoy reminding everyone that the man from the North Pole loves his job, but has to work hard at it all year to get ready for that one special night.
“Although my wonderful elves work hard too, keeping them in line is not always a jolly good time, even for a man named Santa.
“Mrs. Claus keeps the soup pot on non-stop to keep us all warm and she has a soft spot for all the elves, so she has no problem giving me “that look” when she thinks I’m being too hard on them.
“She makes sure that they get their play time in too. We have a playground outside the toy shop where it never stops snowing and the ferris wheel takes them up high enough so they get a good view of the North Pole and the world beyond.
“They also have new playground equipment installed all year long so they can get fresh ideas for new rides and jungle gyms for the children.
“They have been doing this for centuries so sometimes getting new ideas is not easy, but they enjoy surprising children all over the world with something new to play on.
“One new gift idea this year are all types of drones. But I have to admit I’m not sure why.
“I have to wonder what everyone is so curious about that they need to send a camera up in the air to take pictures or videos of what’s going on below?
“Oh well, even for Santa sometimes mine is not to reason why.
“Another hot gift this year are those genetic testing kits that tell you your genetic makeup and where your ancestors come from.
“The most popular are 23 and Me and Ancestry.com.
“As for me, I know I come from a little bit of everywhere. That’s why I feel so comfortable as I take my Christmas Eve night ride around the planet.
“But over the years many well known and popular stories have been written about me and how I came to be known as a saint and a giver of gifts.
“My own ancestry story, as historians tell it, begins with Saint Nicholas of Myra, also known as Nicholas of Bari born on this earth March 15, 270 AD in an area of what is now Greece.
“My celebrity status as the modern day Santa Claus dressed in a suit of red and beard that’s white, has certainly evolved since those early days.
“Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas. The earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death and contain many legendary elaborations.”
“But enough about me.
“Let’s talk about the children, who as we speak, are getting very excited about waking up Christmas morning and hoping I brought them at least some of the things on their lists.
“I’ve checked all of the lists, twice of course, to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
“I have to say this is one of the best years in a while for niceness and I couldn’t be happier.
“I will however have to pack a small bag of coal for the few naughties who just never seem to learn.
“Hint, hint, many of them are in the Washington, DC zip code!
Many children of all ages will be receiving the usual shirts, pajamas, slippers, scarves, sweaters and all, along with the latest toys or tech gadgets for the kids.
“But on the practical side the plethora of gift cards from stores, restaurants and entertainment venues that can be found almost anywhere this year, make excellent Christmas gifts.
“One of the tops on the list is an Amazon gift card. Recipients, including men, women and children, can log on and choose something frivolous, fanciful or frugal.
“It’s all there for the taking and I’m sure many out there have an Amazon wish list they’d like to shorten.
“But no matter the gift, the best gift you can give someone is a relationship and that comes with kind wishes and time spent.
“Wishing it for all of you.
“Now Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”