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September 2014


Who knew? Santa's a Packer backer

Jolly Old Elf pauses for a few Christmas questions

Believe it or not, I found myself on the nice list this year and so I asked Santa if he would be up for a short interview. The jolly old elf obliged and took a moment to answer some of my most-pressing questions. Here's what he had to say.

Q How do you handle the stress of keeping the naughty and nice lists separate, and do they ever get messed up?

Well Paige, you bring up an interesting issue. With over 6.8 billion people on the planet, I am bound to make mistakes from time to time. The North Pole has begun using a new computer-based software program these last few years, and we have an all-new technology wing that is dedicated to PDA, or Presents Delivery Assurance. I let the tech elves do the worrying.

Q Speaking of the naughty list, do you ever get grief from the people who find themselves on it?

I find that the people on the naughty list have had many opportunities to make changes. It's a life philosophy actually. Everyone gets to make daily choices on their behavior, and on any given day you can make the decision to change your course. Sometimes people will express their frustration by leaving me stale cookies. This also becomes a choice, and I note it in their file. I usually still eat the cookies too.

Q If you do get grief, do you have any elves that provide counseling to those people on how to be nice next year?

I would not call them grief counselors, but I do have a group of oversized elves that are pretty good at influencing people. We just call them Lou and Tony.

Q Have increasing costs affected your operations at all? Did you have to let any elves go? Cut back on wages? Are you feeding the reindeer lesser-grade food these days?

Paige, these are all very good questions! Fuel costs have never been an issue for us, as our sleigh runs on Holiday Cheer and Merriment. The economy affects all of us, but I remind people that Christmas and the holiday season is about so much more. I like the hard economic years, as it reminds people of what really matters. When we spend less time focusing on the latest, greatest toys and more time loving each other, the true season takes form.

I remember a time when I simply delivered candy and fruit; now we have gift refueling stations throughout our routes! As for our reindeer, they are fed as well as I. There are some things you just can't cut back on. Heaven forbid they unionize.

Q Does a local dealership service your sleigh before the big night?

Although there are some great dealerships here, we do not let anyone work on the sleigh. This is an old but very magical piece of equipment, and only our certified elves work on it.

Q Santa, we know you're a loyal subscriber of the Oconomowoc Focus. Who locally is on the naughty and nice list?

I normally don't like to mention these folks by name, but a few of each really stand out. The board members of Oconomowoc's German Christmas Market as well as all the city staff and departments that brought you the event are on the top of the list this year. Steve Olson from your high school's trades program also sits high atop my list this year. What a nice young man he has become. Dr. Scott Allen at Cornerstone Counseling is again on top the list. Your mayor, Jim Daley, and your city administrator, Diane Gard, have done a nice job at moving the city forward and staying on task, though I would like to see little Jimmy wear his fancy suits a bit more. The girls at Roots Cafe downtown made me so proud this year with their donation of $3,000 to the Food Pantry. As always the Oconomowoc Food Pantry volunteers all deserve our thanks and remain solidly grounded in "nice."

On my naughty list this year, well … I will simply say that anyone that puts themselves before the betterment of a community should anticipate a season of coal.

Q What are some of the most memorable Christmas wishes you've received?

I have heard from billions of people asking not for themselves, but to take some of the sorrow from those hurting in Connecticut. Again I am reminded that the best acts of the holidays are the selfless acts and prayers for others.

Q Do you take a vacation every year after Christmas?

It might surprise people to know that I take my vacation in the fall before the holiday season. If you saw me in a local parade this year, then you saw something I tend to keep secret outside of Wisconsin. I am a Packers fan and try to see at least two games a season. I actually went the day after the parade and this week to the game in Chicago. I did not have to use magic to give our boys the wins either. Go, Packers!

Q Most importantly Santa, what's on your wish list?

This year the gift I need is one that everyone reading this can give: Just be nice to each other, and do random acts of kindness for people without needing to be noticed for it. The best part about paying it forward is the acts give you as much as those that you serve.

If you really want to get me something else, I tend to favor homemade Christmas cookies. Just leave them out where I can see them.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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