With Christmas only days away reporter Emma Whittaker got a handle on what it takes to bring cheer to millions in an exclusive Central Leader interview with Santa Claus.
HE'S facing one of his toughest Christmases yet but the big day is still on track to come off without a hitch, says the man with the reigns to the festive season.
The lead-up to the night when Santa Claus will deliver millions of gifts to children and adults across the world has been shaky with the elves demanding a last minute pay rise and Mrs Claus failing to get into a jolly holly yuletide mood.
"She keeps saying I haven't got my listening ears on - whatever they are," Santa says.
"But it will be sorted by Christmas. As long as you've got your Christmas trees up it will all be alright."
Lego is one of the most popular gifts being asked for by boys this year, while Pillow Pets and Barbies are favourites for girls.
A newly upgraded factory means Santa can deliver most of things he finds on wish lists but there are some items that might not end up under your tree.
"I can't bring a new brother or sister, and livestock are hard," he says.
"When animals hop in the sleigh there is a chance they will jump out, it is one of those things you can't always do."
As well as making gifts, and training the reindeer in how to bypass burglar alarms, Santa has been busy making his usual appearances at the shopping malls.
An increase in demand for time with the big guy in the last decade has seen him enlist an army of doubles to stand in for him at events he can't attend.
The recruits spend about half of the year at Santa School in the North Pole.
"They get to meet the elves and Mrs Claus. They sit exams and if they pass they get to represent me," he says.
"That's why you see different Santas in different malls. You'll never know which is the real one though."
During the interview Santa was able to reveal his favourite snack.
Two chocolate biscuits, one glass of milk, one bowl of water for the reindeer and one carrot is expected, but he'll take what he can get.
"Rudolph is the only one that requires a carrot, seeing as he is the lead reindeer he needs a carrot so he can see in the dark," he says.
When asked how he manages to pull off so many deliveries in one night Santa's response is simple.
"It's magic," he says.
Magic dust also comes in handy for getting into homes without chimneys, he says.
Getting ready for Christmas takes all year and Santa says there will only just be time for a quick holiday in Hawaii and then it will be time to get back to work again.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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