NORTH POLE - Every once in a while, TBNN has the great privilege of interviewing a famous person. Today we are sitting down with one of our favorites, Santa Claus. We at TBNN freely admit that we believe in Santa, and sitting down with old Father Christmas up here in the Arctic only confirms that.
TBNN: We are honored to be here. Should we refer to you as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or something else?
Santa: You can call me whatever you like. Santa is just fine. Have some milk and cookies.
TBNN: Thanks. We are amazed that you are able to get presents to all these different people all around the world in just one night. How can you possibly do it? No offense, but you are a bit old and you're not in the best physical shape, so how does it happen?
Santa: No offense taken. I do need to lay off the Christmas cookies, but Mrs. Claus is just such a good baker. Anyway, I see where your confusion about the gifts comes in. The reality is that I actually don't deliver most of the presents that you see on Christmas. I would guess that about 15-20% of Christmas presents actually come from my sleigh.
TBNN: (Shocked expression on our faces) Sorry, but we still don't understand.
Santa: Let me back up a bit. After Christmas, I take a break for about two months. Mrs. Claus and I holiday in Florida with the rest of the old people. The elves go off to Cancun. Toward the end of March, back here at the North Pole, I decide who will get presents from me at Christmas. The decision is up to me. No one influences me in my decision. Then we start putting the gifts together. It takes a long time.
TBNN: Wow. Growing up, we always heard the little jingle, "Making a list, checking it twice; gonna find out who's naughty or nice..."? Is there any truth to that?
Santa: I have no idea where that song came from. As if kids could be good enough to earn Christmas gifts?! What a bunch of baloney. Maybe their parents made it up in the hope that it would motivate them to behave in school or something like that.
TBNN: We are still a little confused. Can you explain?
Santa: Sure. Each year I choose who will get presents. I only give gifts to people who believe I am real. How do they believe? They are the ones I show myself to. So both their belief in me and their gifts come from my hand. They can't earn it.
TBNN: We had always wondered why some kids get more stuff than others. This also explains why there are no gifts at all in some parts of the world.
Santa: You're right about that. There are plenty of well-behaved kids in countries like Afghanistan. However, no one there believes I exist, and I haven't yet decided to go there. I may do so, but that is my sovereign choice.
TBNN: Some folks continue to feel like they deserve presents. What do you say to that?
Santa: That's nonsense. Nobody deserves anything good from me. I simply give gifts to those who believe; and they can only believe because I chose them to believe. I never looked into the future to see who would believe and then chose them. That's just silly.
TBNN: So you don't "woo" anyone to believe.
Santa: What does "woo" mean?
TBNN: Forget it. That was a stupid question.
Santa: Look, I'll try to make this simple for you. No one deserves any presents. I simply choose who gets them. The gifts are limited to those I choose. When I give gifts, no one rejects them. I keep those who believe in me so that they never stop believing.
TBNN: What about all the gifts that don't come from you? If only 15-20% are from you, then where do all the rest come from?
Santa: Haven't you ever gone to Wal*Mart, Sears, or Target at this time of year? How do you think they stay in business? This whole "present thing" has gotten out of hand with everyone giving to everyone else. Very little of it actually has anything to do with belief in me.
TBNN: What do you think of people who buy gifts for others but do not believe?
Santa: I refer to them as "False Santas." Interestingly, children are much more willing to believe in me, but their parents and school teachers "educate" them out of their belief. So I guess they never really believed in the first place.
TBNN: Some people say this isn't fair. You only give to some, but not to all. What do you say to that?
Santa: How am I obligated to give good to anyone? They don't believe in me unless I cause them to. It would be fair for me to stay in my warm igloo on the night of December 24th with Mrs. Claus. If I choose to give out presents to whomever I will, then that's just a free gift from me. Why do people have such a hard time with that?
TBNN: One last question for you. Where do the elves come from?
Santa: They're just my messengers and helpers. I don't really need them, but they are handy to have around.