ALAN EAMONN THOMPSON: What a pleasure to have you with us today Mr.Claus, I know it’s the busiest time of year for you, and I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than to sit here with us, so I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your precious time with us.
SANTA: It’s no bother at all really, and please - call me Fernando.
ALAN: Alright, if you insist. Your name is Fernando?
SANTA: Yes, mama is Portuguese; she had always been in love with the name you know, I’d never even thought to ask why, I think her mother may have been a fan of ABBA.
ALAN: And your father?
SANTA: That’s Mr.Claus.
ALAN: Where was he from?
SANTA: The north pole, obviously.
ALAN: So there are generations of Santas?
SANTA: Yeah, my father was Cristoph Claus; his father was Jasper
Connerton, then Gerald Claus, and so on, and so forth.
SANTA: Yes, married to Lorraine Claus.
ALAN: A woman Santa?
SANTA: Well, Jasper became a Claus when they married; you always have to take the name of the Claus, male or female - that’s one of the rules. Firstborn becomes the next Santa, I guess it’s not dissimilar to how monarchies function.
ALAN: What about any further kids?
SANTA: No, you’re only allowed the one, ever since Callum Claus killed Alan Claus in a coup attempt 1931 to take his place as Santa. It was a time of great unrest within the Claus establishment, they had some ideological differences; the family history books are filled with peculiar stories like that from the previous Clauses.
ALAN: I see, is it mandatory to read through all of the history?
SANTA: You have to know certain key events, and complete the tests when you come of age to take over the role…but I wouldn’t say it’s mandatory.
ALAN: So at what age did you take over the gig from your father?
SANTA: The beard usually starts coming in from your early 20’s, but unless the current Santa finds himself unable to perform his duties, for one reason or another, most wait until they are 30 to take over the role.
ALAN: I was about to mention the beard, it really is something else. Do female Clauses also get the beard?
SANTA: Yes, but some choose to keep it shaven. One of the Clauses in the early 50’s developed a lotion that greatly reduces the rate the beard grows at, not that there haven’t been some women who made the beard their own.
ALAN: Do most of the men keep the beard then?
SANTA: There have been men in the past who choose not to keep the beard; it doesn’t grow out so quickly that it is unmanageable anyway. That being said, it’s very rare for a Santa to be caught in person, so it doesn’t matter so much what we look like, though the red delivery-wear is mandatory.
ALAN: Very rare to be caught in person? What do you do if that happens? And how do you deal with non-believers?
SANTA: Well, for a start, we charm every house before beginning a delivery, which means everyone inside gets put into a sort of suspended animation, if they’re asleep they won’t notice at all, if they’re awake, they usually just dream that they are laying there doing nothing, no time passes. If for any reason it doesn’t work and we’re spotted, then we can send that person to sleep and make them forget the last fifteen minutes.
ALAN: And the non-believers?
SANTA: Oh, after our delivery, we use some magic on the adults in the house to convince them that they’ve bought all of the presents, even the ones we’ve delivered. We use it on everyone, even the people who still believe in Santa, otherwise the mystery gifts would be too solid of a proof we exist. It very rarely goes wrong.
ALAN: But, you are here right now, talking with me; is this interview not proof you exist?
SANTA: Reality is not only what we can physically experience and perceive, it is also the dreams, the visions, the mystical experiences…because the concept of me exists, even if I do not exist, I still exist – per se. That being said, this interview could be entirely fictitious, I doubt that there isn’t a person out there who would question you on this Martin.
ALAN: That may well be, but, for the record, could you just say that you exist, just for all the sceptics out there who might think that this is fictitious?
SANTA: I exist, you have no real proof, but I can say I exist.
ALAN: Well, now that we’ve put everyone’s mind at ease about your existence, can I ask you a little about your work itself?
SANTA: Sure, go ahead.
ALAN: Well, being the 30th of December, you’ve just been all over the world delivering presents. When does work start for next Christmas?
SANTA: Usually we have a few weeks of rest, most of the year we just spend tracking the kids and finding out who has been good and bad, the list changes constantly throughout the year…and it’s not a naughty list and a nice list, it’s more of a scale from good to bad.
ALAN: And those on the top of the list get the most presents?
SANTA: Not necessarily, we have to take a lot of different things into consideration when we decide who gets what.
SANTA: I can’t really go into it, I’ve said too much already.
ALAN: Not even a hint?
SANTA: I feel that it might cause significant problems to discuss the rules around who gets what, it’s generally considered inappropriate to discuss, I’ll say only that it takes global economics into account.
ALAN: I’ll not pry any further then. So, when do you start production for next year?
SANTA: Usually around September, people seem to have this idea that
it takes all year for us to make everything, that’s not true, it’s actually rather easy, given the size of the workforce and the methods we use.
ALAN: But the delivery itself, I can imagine that takes some work?
SANTA: Well given the amount of places we have to visit, and the time each delivery takes…hmmm, we have no real way of giving a solid figure, but the time taken is in excess of a fortnight.
ALAN: A fortnight’s worth of work in one night? How do you get through it?
SANTA: Well we treat it like shifts, spend a period of time delivering, then a period of time resting, usually in a spare room of a random house, so long as the time stays frozen nothing really happens.
ALAN: Sounds like more of a curse than a gift, has there ever been a time someone has failed to do the delivery?
SANTA: There are recorded instances of it, they were punished severely, but the world was none the wiser, we had a contingency, he was replaced, the gifts were delivered on the 25th, and they put all of the gifts in obscure hiding places and made everyone believe they’d hidden the gifts away and forgotten about them.
ALAN: You’re happy enough with the work though?
SANTA: Sure, I listen to a lot of Portuguese folk music and play videogames during the long hauls, you know, crossing oceans and that, it’s quite a laid back job really, it just takes a really long time.
ALAN: Right, well I think you’re starting to take some of the magic away from the whole ‘Santa’ mythos.
SANTA: And I’m to blame for that? You’re asking the questions.
ALAN: Ok then, I think our readers should be satisfied with what we have so far, I’ll not delve into it any further for now. I hope you enjoy the time you have to rest before next year; and once again, thank you for your time today.
SANTA: You are most welcome, I wish you a happy new year, and to all your readers too. Farewell!
ALAN: Goodbye Mr. Claus.