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Santa shares info on North Pole logistics

Paris Cronin, 6, arrived from Fargo to meet Santa. Santa will be hearing requests Friday and Saturday at Jack Pine Java in December. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Jolly Old St. Nick, arriving for Park Rapids' great Christmas kick-off, agreed to a brief Q & A interview before making his debut on Main Friday.

Q. Santa, we'll begin on a serious note. We've heard global warming is causing the polar ice cap to melt. Is this affecting your workshop on the North Pole?

A. Well, yes. We may have to move but we'll stay on the North Pole. The biggest concern is the elves. They're small and there are some big cracks. We don't want them to fall in.

And fissures in the reindeers' runway are causing some worry. The landing area has now been lit so Dancer, Prancer, Rudolph and the gang can avoid the cracks during landing and take-off.

Q. We understand you'll need a passport now, since you're heading across Canada. Have you received it?

A. I've applied for one, but haven't gotten it yet. Our biggest concern is whether passports will be required for the reindeer. (They don't sit well for photographs.) We've inquired, but haven't heard yet.

Japan and China don't require a passport.

Q. Has the recession affected the North Pole's holiday gift giving industry? Has there been, or do you anticipate, any layoffs? Will there be any outsourcing?

A. There are no layoffs of reindeer or elves. And there will be no outsourcing. But Santa might have to work off-season. I check on kids in towns in the off-season. The only time I wear a red suit is at Christmas. So I could work incognito.

I try to make Park Rapids my summer home, to romp around. I like it here. The people are friendly. They've been real good to me. (He merely winked when asked if he might be applying for a job here.)

Q. We've heard unsubstantiated rumors that you've gained a little weight, that Rudolph has been grumbling. Is this a problem? Will this reduce the number/ size of gifts in the sleigh?

A. No. Absolutely not. We'll put on another reindeer. There will be plenty of gifts. Our biggest problem is that we're still having to bring a few sacks of coal.

Q. That brings us to the big question. What constitutes naughty; what constitutes nice?

A. "Nice" is chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies waiting. With fudge for dessert. That's nice.

"Naughty" is none.

Milk is okay. It matches my beard. But I avoid brandy. With as many miles as I have to travel, I don't think it's a good idea. I might not make it to some places. That would spoil some kids' holiday.

Q. What are the hot ticket items this year?

A. Computers and iPods, the more expensive toys. And that's posing a problem because the elves aren't computer savvy. But we'll make it work. (Mrs. Claus is offering tech support.)

Q. How should Moms and Dads prepare for your arrival? Where to you prefer to enter?

A. Patio doors work better than chimneys. Getting down (and back up) a chimney with a bag of toys is tough. Getting the soot out of my beard is another task. Last year, I went down the wrong way and ended up the beauty shop to get my beard cleaned.

And make sure you leave the (exterior) lights on.

Q. We've heard you'll lend a listening ear to kids this Christmas season. When and where will this be?

A. Santa will be at Jack Pine Java from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 4, 11 and 18; from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19 and from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23.

I also want to see the kids' matinee Saturday, Dec. 19 at Park Theater. But I don't want to talk during the movie.

Q. Anything you'd like to add?

A. Yes, Santa will make special appearances by appointment. Call Nancy (a.k.a. Mrs. Claus) at 732-5668 to schedule an in-home Santa visit.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas to all. And to all, a good night!