With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, Santa Claus arrived at the South Towne Center in November to meet all the girls and boys of Sandy. The center of a spectacular display of Christmas decorations, Santa had his picture taken with the children and listened to what they wanted for Christmas.
As jolly as ever, Santa said he loves this time of year because there’s no other time like it.
“My favorite part about Christmas is experiencing the joy, the wonder, the amazement and the fantasy of it all,” Santa said. “Just look around. You see the beautiful lights, you hear the music, you see people bustling around carrying packages. When you see them and give them a smile, they smile back. It’s so nice being Santa Claus, because everybody loves you. You get a few ‘bah, humbugs,’ but not many.”
Peruvian Park Elementary School student Abigail Slama-Catron, 9, took it upon herself to ask Santa for a toothbrush and toothpaste for every person in the world. She also asked for a doll and a dance dress for herself.
Santa sees a lot of children every year, so it’s good to know that the vast majority of them are nice. He said that about 98 percent of children he sees are nice while a mere 2 percent are naughty, but he believes that “all children are good.”
Mrs. Claus is doing well, Santa said, busy tying ribbons on gifts and baking cookies. He said that the biggest gift she gets every year is when he returns to the North Pole after delivering all the presents, and she’s always excited to see him come home healthy and happy after a long night of travel.
The cast of “The Nutcracker,” performed by the Utah Artist School of Ballet, posed with Santa.
Santa is known for going down chimneys to deliver Christmas gifts every year. But what about homes that don’t have chimneys? Rest assured, those children are not left out.
“I can go through walls,” Santa said with a smile. “The elves have given me ways to go through walls. It’s magic.”
Santa explained that there are many different kinds of elves. Some take care of the reindeer; others make toys to be delivered on Christmas Eve, and still others watch over the children of the world.
Santa’s famous reindeer are also doing quite well, and they’re enjoying the cold weather.
“The reindeer are wonderful, but Rudolph is naughty,” Santa said. “He’s always getting the other reindeer to play tag and other reindeer games when they should be concentrating on what they’re supposed to be doing. We tried to have them in the mall, but they’re so large that they were knocking kiosks around.”
It seems that Santa has thought ahead when it comes to getting his work done efficiently. He said that while he and Mrs. Claus take a few weeks off for vacation after he gets done with his deliveries on Christmas Eve, the elves are hard at work making toys as early as January.
“The elves start making toys even in January for December,” Santa said. “We bag the toys that we know the kids want for the next year, and we put them in warehouses in the cities so they’re already there for me when I arrive.”
But how does Santa travel all the way around the world so quickly? Thanks to some more magic from the elves, he said he can miniaturize when he flies in his sleigh, allowing him to travel at supersonic speeds. Sometimes, however, he slows down so the North American Aerospace Defense Command can track the progress of his journey.
“I like NORAD,” Santa said. “I think it’s wonderful that children can see where I am in the world. I’ve been asked if I ever go into outer space, and actually, I get close, but I’ve never gone to any other planets.”
NORAD, based in Colorado, has been tracking Santa as he travels for more than 50 years; anyone can follow along online at www.noradsanta.org
Santa’s hope is that even the people who don’t get to see him will stop and take in the magic of the season. He said that the feeling of being together is the most important part of the season. He believes that the experience of being close with one another and “slowing down” everything else for a little while are what’s important.
“I wish that those I don’t get to talk to would take the time to look around and see the marvels of the holidays, and look at the decorations and listen to the music,” Santa said. “I hope that those of other faiths also take the time to share the family experience. Take this as a time of world peace, and everyone have happiness for your fellow man, no matter how you view the world. Just have that inner peace and happiness, and try to share it with those around you. Don’t try to solve all the problems in the world, just kind of bring it back down to self and who you’re with.”