“The joy of giving and family are the true gifts that Santa brings.”

Christmastime is here.  People are out shopping and making Christmas cookies.  You will also see Santa out and about chatting with all the kids who made the Nice List this year.

Joy McJingles was able to sit down for a one-on-one interview with Santa.  We talk about his last minute preps, his appearances and what Christmas really means to him.

JOY:  Hello Santa!  Christmas is less than a week away.  How is everything going for the big journey?  How are the elves doing?

Santa Claus sits down for a One-on-One with Joy McJingles.

SANTA: “They are always working hard to make sure that all the toys and everything are ready.  They make other things too, that people don’t think about.  So they make sure we get all the books ordered and everything we need.  They are busier than we think.  They don’t just sit there and make toys, they have a lot of different things that they are involved with.”

JOY:  What is Mrs. Claus up to right now?

SANTA:  “She likes to get Christmas cards ready for people and bakes pies.”

JOY: And the reindeer?  Are they ready to go?  

SANTA:  “Absolutely, they get as excited to go as the dogs do for the John Beargrease or the Iditarod, any of those big races.  They just love it.  It’s a challenge.”

JOY:  Between getting ready for Christmas and making all your appearances, you must be tired.

SANTA: “Most people think I drink a lot of cocoa, but really I drink a lot of coffee.”

JOY: So, kids should leave a cup of coffee out for you?  What about a snack?  What is your favorite cookie?

SANTA:  The truth is…any!”  Unless they have lutefisk in them. No lutefisk cookies.  I try to give them to the reindeer, but do not have any takers.”

JOY:  I heard that you & Mrs. Claus have a favorite spot to eat on the Range.  Where is that?

SANTA:  “Neighbors BBQ at the Lodge at Giants Ridge.  The owners are very kind to Santa and Mrs.C.  

JOY: What is their favorite on the menu?

SANTA:  “Mrs. C likes the half chicken and I like the…its a mixed BBQ ribs and prime rib.  It comes with some really good cornbread and baked beans.  If you go tell the owners that Santa and Mrs. C sent you!”

JOY: So, do you have any plans after Christmas, like what will you do in January?

SANTA:  “I’m going to take a little time off, work a little on the weekend, and one of my favorite places to go is always to an animal shelter.and visit the cats and dogs that are there.”

Santa speaks with a little girl recently at the Uptown Mall in Virginia.

JOY:  I spoke with a few kids while they were waiting to talk to you and they all told me they were on the NICE LIST.  Zayree told me she is going to ask you for Bluey toys, Evalymn wants a hoverboard and a “stuffie”. Caysin told us he wants Legos and Thomas the Tank train. 

SANTA:  “They are good kids and are on Santa’s Nice List.  In past years, kids would come with a list with fifteen things on it. This year the kids only want one or two things.” 

JOY: According to Good Housekeeping some of this year’s trends are Barbie, Disney’s 100th, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle…and Legos.  You can never go wrong with Legos.

SANTA: “Oh Santa delivers lots of Legos! But, one thing kids ask is that families will be healthy because there has been so much sickness, and I understand that, that’s really important, I can’t promise kids that but you can certainly pray for it”

JOY:  Well, thank you for your time, Santa.  I know how busy you are this close to Christmas.  Is there anything else you want to tell people?

SANTA: “For me, one of the most important things about Christmas really is family and memories.  The Creator gave us the gift of memory and so there are many memories that are locked into Santa’s heart of family and friends that are no longer here. And, that makes Christmas special…like listening to Christmas music, I really enjoy all those things. The most important part of Christmas is that there is a Savior that came to Bethlehem’s manger.  That is what Christmas is all about!” 

Do you still need to have your annual chat with Santa, grab a selfie and tell him your wish list?  Santa will be at the Uptown Mall in Virginia on Friday, December 22nd from 11am to 2pm and again, on Saturday, December 23, from 11am to 2pm.

Joy McJingles writes blogs about Iron Range Tourism and Holidays on the Range. Blogs are posted on Thursdays and Sundays.