Santa Claus was getting ready for his flight back to the North Pole, but he and Mrs. Claus, along with Judy the Elf, just couldn't resist making one last stop in Marietta Monday to visit some children in the pediatric therapy unit at Marietta Memorial Health System's Wayne Street facility. That's where The Marietta Times caught up with Santa and Company, also including Santa's helper Curt Alden, and asked a few pertinent questions:
Question: When did you arrive in Marietta?
Elf Judy: We fly in every year just in time for the city's Christmas parade, then head back to the North Pole by Christmas Eve.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Eight-month old Tata Chen checked out Santa Claus Monday as he paid a visit to children Monday in the pediatric therapy unit at Marietta Memorial Health System’s Wayne Street facility.
Mrs. Claus: If there's not enough snow we ride a horse-drawn carriage in the parade.
Q: Your sleigh flies so high above the earth, how do you know when you're over Marietta?
Santa: That's easy. The city's all lit up for the holiday and it's the prettiest place in Southeast Ohio.
Q: Speaking of flying, you have eight tiny flying reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Are there any more?
Santa: Oh yes. We keep a couple of spares, but they don't receive a name until they actually fly with the rest of the team.
Elf Judy: Rudolph is one of those reindeer. We have to keep him in line, though. He thinks he's pretty special because of that red nose, you know.
Q: Your red suits seem to be in pretty good shape. Who's your tailor?
Mrs. Claus: All of our clothes are made by elves, and they keep us very warm. It was pretty cold during the Christmas parades this year.
Santa: You wouldn't think these suits would need replaced that often as we only wear them a few times each year, but we are out in all kinds of weather.
Elf Judy: They both get a new set of clothes every two or three years. The suits are made of a special material using a secret technology we really can't reveal.
Q: We know the elves play an important part in the North Pole toy-making operations. How many are there?
Elf Judy: We bring a few with us to the Marietta area every year, but at the pole there are a lot more. I'm the head elf, and even I don't know how many there are.
Q: Santa, is it true you keep a list of who's naughty and nice all year long?
Santa: All year, absolutely. And I tell everyone if they have to ask which list they're on, they probably already know the answer.
Q: How old are you?
Santa: That's a tough one. I really don't remember my age. But I've been around a long time.
Q: A lot of kids leave you cookies and milk when you stop by on Christmas Eve. Do you have favorite cookies?
Santa: Iced sugar cookies are my absolute favorite. And some carrots for the reindeer, of course.
Q: You never seem to get tired of meeting kids.
Mrs. Claus: It's pure joy. What the children give by coming to see us is just beautiful.
Santa: The kids are always great.
Q: Are there any especially memorable children this year?
Mrs. Claus: We almost missed one. One evening we had been visiting with kids at the gazebo in Muskingum Park and were just ready to leave when we heard this little voice calling out, "Santa, Santa!" We turned around and saw this little boy almost out of breath coming toward us with his grandfather. He said "My grandpa can't walk too fast, so can you wait up?"
Q: Children are often concerned that Santa may not be able to get into their homes because there's no chimney to climb down. How do you get into those houses?
Santa: That's just part of the magic of Christmas I can't explain. And a magician can't reveal his tricks.
Q: Have you ever become stuck in a chimney?
Santa: I never do-but again, it's all part of the magic.
Q: Do you ever take a vacation?
Santa: We vacation at the North Pole. There's absolutely nothing to the rumor that we head south for our vacation.
Q: Any final words for the kids?
Santa: Just remember that Christmas is here, so be good for goodness sake.