Northeast Times

‘Tis the season

Naughty or nice?: Santa Claus sits in his chair in the Ne­sham­iny Mall. He’s been vis­it­ing the Ben­s­alem mall since it opened in 1968. MELISSA YERKOV / TIMES PHOTO

No, he wouldn’t tell us if you’ve been naughty or nice. But, Santa Claus was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy day vis­it­ing with his “little bud­dies” at the Ne­sham­iny Mall to an­swer a few of­ten-asked ques­tions about his job, his home — and his beard. 

How old are you?

I star­ted count­ing one time. I got up to 365 days and I fell asleep. So, I’d say in the range of 1,700 years.

How long have you been com­ing to Ne­sham­iny Mall? 

Well, I’ve been here since 1968, when it opened.

What made you de­cide to come here every year?

I al­ways like to see my little bud­dies. I love kids, it’s my fa­vor­ite part of the job.

I’m sure you’ve seen many trends come and go. Are there any toy re­quests that nev­er seem to go out of style?

Teddy bears are al­ways in style. Boys, girls, every­body likes them. 

What are some mem­or­able re­quests you’ve got­ten over the years? 

The most mem­or­able are when they ask for something for someone oth­er than them­selves. It shows me what a good per­son they are.

It must be tir­ing to spend all day in the mall. What keeps you go­ing? 

Get­ting to see all my little bud­dies! 

Who do you have here at the mall to help you? 

I have a lot of elves help­ing me here. I have some of my elves from the North Pole here, too, but they move so fast you can’t see them.

Do you keep your beard all year round or do you get to shave it when it gets hot out? 

People think it gets hot, but it’s like in­su­la­tion. It’s neither hot nor cold. But, I usu­ally shave it down to one or two inches in the off-sea­son.

How do you travel around the world in one night? 

Well, if you think about it, I really have two full nights be­cause of the way the Earth ro­tates. And, I also have plenty of time be­cause of the time zones. I also have over 300 elves plot­ting my course. Between all that and my ma­gic, we’ve got it down to a sci­ence. 

Is it true you give out coal to bad kids? 

If you think about it, is there really a bad kid? Some­times they’re hungry or some­times they had a bad day and they lash out, but they’re not really bad at heart. So no, I don’t. I want all my little bud­dies to be happy.

Do you ever help out the po­lar bears at the North Pole?

Well, I have a couple of po­lar bears that are my friends, and they vis­it me. To help them out, we try to be as green as pos­sible at the North Pole, as should every­one else. ••

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Human Interest