An Exclusive Interview With Kris Kringle


Grab a mug of eggnog or some hot cocoa and take a moment to learn a few secrets about "auld" St. Nick! The truth might amaze you... or shock you! I caught up with Kris Kringle over the summer and had the chance to chat with him about his life as Father Christmas and the goings-on at the North Pole.

Lugo: Thank you, Kris, for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I understand how busy you must be at this time of year. {Santa laughs} What can you tell us about yourself, your family, and your job?
I was born in Patara of Lycia, now Turkey, sometime in the middle of the 3rd century. {winks} When you're my age, the exact date doesn't seem to matter. Ho, ho, ho! {belly jiggles like a bowlful of jelly} I was raised in a monastery in Myra after my parents passed away. When I was 30, I became the Bishop of Lycia. Of course, back then I was called Nicholas.
I'm married to Mrs. Claus. In all our years of wedded bliss, she still won't tell me what her first name is {mutters something about complicated women}. We weren't blessed with our own children, but we have hundreds of Elvises living with us now. And well, we've kind of adopted the children of the world as our own, haven't we? {smiles with rosy cheeks}
I think I've got the best job in the world. I work one 24-hour shift, and then I'm off for the rest of the year. Ho, ho, ho! If you believe that, maybe you should get coal in your stocking this year! {winks}
Seriously, being Santa Claus is no laughing matter. Certainly the 24th is the busiest night of the year for Claus and Company, but the rest of the year we put in long days and sometimes evenings too. We have billions of names to check, crosscheck, and re-check again to be sure everyone is on the right list. Then there are the letters we get from those little tykes asking for special presents—we have a special department for that. Then there's engineering, production, quality control, packaging...
Sure, I could just wiggle my nose and make presents appear, but that wouldn't be any fun now, would it? {winks, touches the side of his nose in "that way"}
Lugo: What do you enjoy the most about being Father Christmas?
: Oohhh, there's so much I enjoy: I get to meet people from all over the world; I know all the languages, including sign languages; and I even know that silly hand thing kids do these days. {fist bumps with me, explodes his fingers, then thumbs over his shoulder with a head jerk}
I love gift-giving too, but only to the good boys and girls. For the rest, I have a special coal shed. Well, it's not real coal anymore—just black rocks. We have to be environmentally friendly, don't we?
Lugo: {nods} What inspired you to start giving gifts?
: Back in the old days, and I'm going back to the 3rd century, I was pretty good with my hands. I'd carve and shape little trinkets during the year and save them up for the big night. I had this cute little donkey called Hunk, and we'd travel across the countryside every year delivering the toys to poor children who were excluded from gift giving simply because their parents didn't have as much money as the wealthy families.
I knew where all the children lived because they were parishioners. At night, Hunk and I would leave something for each child on their windowsill. Well, it wasn't long before word got around, and soon I was delivering far and wide.
It was after I was made a Saint that I moved to the North Pole. Orders had been coming in daily, all year, and I couldn't keep up. Then I met the Elvises. Nice little family, all with the same black pompadour hair, pointy ears, and funny shoes. They're colorful characters who wear sequined outfits and love to sing. Requests for gifts kept pouring in, so they helped me set up shop, and well, you know the rest.
Lugo: Do you have any favorite toys?
{looks around quickly, narrows his gaze then whispers} I promised Mrs. Claus I wouldn't talk about those.
Lugo: {clears throat} Moving right along... what has been your best memory of Christmas so far?
Ho, ho, ho! By far it’s the feeling I get when I see the joy on the little one's faces when they receive their special Santa gifts.
Lugo: Is there a routine you follow during the year to help get in shape for the big night?
{groaning} You know, I tried all the popular diets. Everyone suffered through the week I was on the cabbage soup diet. The poor Elvises threatened to quit if I didn't have more windows installed in the factory. In the end, I stopped dieting when my good friend, Father Time, reminded me that I'm immortal. He also told me to stop worrying about my weight, embrace my chubbiness, and love myself for who I am. I do have to pace myself though. At every stop is a plate of cookies or Christmas cake waiting with a glass of milk. {rubs belly}
Lugo: Good advice we should all take more often. What do you find the hardest about preparing for Christmas?
A few more hours in the day would be nice, but you know, I'd end up filling them too.
Lugo: What is your biggest pet peeve about the holidays? Is there anything that turns you off?
Oh, oh, oh, yes! It's all become too commercial. Back in the old days, it was about love and family and community. Today it's all about "keeping up with the Joneses." I can tell you this; the Joneses are just a normal family like everyone else!
I also believe we should go back to giving homemade gifts, things we create especially for someone that come from the heart. That's what Christmas is all about. Tell someone you love them. That's the best gift everyone wants.
Lugo: Absolutely! I'm sure the readers would like to know about your reading habits. Do you have much reading time?
: Oh. I love reading. It's wonderful escapism, isn't it? Unfortunately, I'm so busy during the holidays that (whispering) the only time I get to read is in the "necessary".
Lugo: {chuckles} What books are you anxious to grab when they're released?
Oh, just about anything. Over the centuries, I've learned to read quickly so I can go through several books a day. I'm a 21st century man now, ye know. I have all my favorite books on an e-reader. {leans in close and wiggles an eyebrow} I do like a good romance. Can give a man ideas! Ho, ho, ho! {blushing} Mrs. Claus ain't complaining!
Lugo: {smirks} Do you have any aspirations to write a book of your own someday?
Maybe one day I'll write my memoir, but for now I'll just stick to Naughty or Nice lists. {thoughtfully scratches chin through his thick beard} You know, if I was anyone else, I'd publish those Naughty Lists and donate the proceeds to charity. Could end world poverty!
Lugo: You haven't mentioned the reindeer yet. How's the gang?
Oh, they're fine, just fine. Most people think only the boys pull my sleigh, but that's not true. Vixen and Blitzen are actually twin sisters. Latest news in the Claus and Company newsletter, Dasher and Vixen have started dating, and so have Dancer and Prancer.
Lugo: {interviewer grins} Tell us something we'd be shocked to discover about you, Kris.
I have an all over body tan. There's this great little nude beach in Jamaica... {attention wanders reflectively}
Lugo: {clearing throat, getting things back on track} Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview?
Ho, ho, ho! I'd like to wish all the boys and girls a Meeeerrrrrry Christmas {he sings}. There's still some redemption time left before the big night. You know who you are out there. {lifts a single fluffy brow} Do some good deeds between now and the 24th, and that lump of coal will become a special gift in your stocking.
Lugo: Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with me. It's always great getting to know Father Christmas a little better.