They say you should never meet your heroes, but there are some opportunities you can’t refuse: like interviewing the REAL Father Christmas.
Here’s what happened…
I’m led by an elf (whose name I didn’t catch – could it have been ‘Squeaky’?) through the vast workshop complex here at the (rather chilly) North Pole. ‘Impressive’ doesn’t begin to describe Santa’s HQ, candy-striped elves fill every nook and cranny doing anything from painting rocking horses to soldering tablet computers (I make a mental note to consult an elf next time my laptop plays up. Although I’m not exactly sure how I’d get hold of one, they don’t use social media ‘It’s bad for your elf’ says one rather smug fellow).
Lovely as the complex is, I can’t ignore the strange smell in the air. Eventually I bring it up and I’m informed the sickly odour is emanating from Santa’s reindeer: “They stink,” says my nameless guide. I must say, I’m relieved it’s the deer and not Santa with the issue – discovering that Father Christmas has a record-breaking case of B.O. would have been too much to bear. Feeling slightly nauseous due to the stink from Santa’s flying friends, I’m glad of the distraction when we finally arrive at Santa’s office. Face to face with the man himself, I can’t help but smile as he welcomes me with his trademarked cheeriness.
“It’s our busiest time of year, of course. It’s tiring,” says Santa, opening a can of a popular fizzy drink. “Caffeine helps,” he says between slurps. “I used to drink full-fat, but frankly it was having an effect on the old waistline.” Santa slaps his tummy, which I can confirm does indeed wobble link a bowl full of jelly. “No, it’s diet drinks for me now. Probably not the best for you, but at least they mean I can fit down the chimneys… or most chimneys at least!”
Here’s my latest piece for The Eastern Daily Press, all about my trip to talk to Santa at The North Pole. Have a read.