A special spotlight in advance of Santa’s arrival

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November’s Spotlight features two special guests who bring a sparkle of joy to many children and parents alike all around the world.

The Southeastern Railway Museum pulls out all the stops with bells and whistles for Santa and Mrs. Claus! Keeping track of the world-renown Mr. and Mrs. Clause isn’t an easy task, but fortunately, I was able to side track them long enough to ask some burning questions that have been hot topics for centuries.

Santa, people all over the world and throughout the ages have pondered the following questions.

How long does it really take to deliver all the presents through all those time zones?

I know most of the people all over the world can’t believe I can deliver all those toys in one night. It’s because they don’t understand the magic of the sleigh and the reindeer. Well, to be honest, I don’t understand the magic of the sleigh and the reindeer. You see the elves had developed a magic dust that they sprinkle over the reindeer and the sleigh. It makes us go faster than light. When I look at my watch, it seems sometimes to be going backward.

Is the North Pole in a different time zone than the rest of the world?

Good questions! If you live at the north pole, you live in EVERY time zone! I can take 24 big steps around the north pole and be in every time zone in just a few minutes.

Is it very difficult to plan your route around the globe or is it similar to planning a train route?

I wish planning my trips was as easy as planning a train route; my job would be so easy! I have to have a route planning committee of elves to plan the trip every year. New children are being born every year. Many families move across town and others move across the globe. I’ve got to keep up.

When you are not zooming around in your reindeer sleigh delivering presents to all the “good” children, what is your other favorite mode of transportation?

I like to rest the reindeer when it’s not Christmas Eve. I have a very comfortable sleigh and I love to use it too whenever I can. So, instead of reindeer, I like to use my horses, just around the north pole. Mrs. Claus loves the buggy and enjoys trips through the snow.

Speaking of reindeer, do you have a favorite? Do you carry treats for the reindeer since you are given snacks on your travels?

They have all become my favorite. And all the elves love them too. But sometimes they love them too much. You see, they sneak in and give them too many treats. Fat reindeer cannot fly very fast and it will slow me down. Once we get back, I will give them a wonderful treat, then it’s back on their regular, healthy meals. And NO treats!

There is another burning question that has been up for debate over the decades and centuries, not to imply you are more than elderly, and that is – chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter cookies, or is there some other favorite treat you look forward to snacking on during your long journey?

Good question! I am always checking with the children as to their favorite cookie. And guess what? The hands-down favorite of children all over the world – they always say, “Chocolate chip”! I love chocolate chip too and I also like snicker-doodle, peanut butter, sugar cookie, Ginger snaps, molasses cookies, macaroons, gingerbread, spice cookies and double chocolate mint too. Of course, every now and then I love a handful of pecans!

Cold whole milk, hot cocoa or lactose-free milk? It is very important for all the children, who wait in anticipation for their gifts, to leave the perfect cookie paired with just the right beverage.

Well, to be honest, I can drink everything, but cold milk is my favorite. Sometimes the cocoa is too hot and I can’t wait too long for it to cool and I’m not lactose intolerant so a nice small glass of icy cold milk is just right. Of course, cold chocolate milk is good too!

Can you divulge what you do when you are faced with the dilemma of trying to deliver presents to a home that doesn’t have a chimney?

Chimneys chimneys! It used to be so easy back in the old days when almost every house had a chimney. That was so easy then. But now, with so few chimneys my elves had to be very inventive. I have a big bag of special snowflakes that I just drop on the roof and a chimney opens up for me. I deliver the toys and back up the chimney and it disappears and off I go. It’s all very fast and works great for me.

What do you do about guard dogs that could be waiting inside?

Oh, I love animals. When they first see me, they may be surprised, but after just a moment they realize its me and they become very calm. The only problem is they want to be petted and have their ears scratched. They would love for me to stay but as you know, I have to hurry.

When you deliver toys, is there a favorite toy that is requested? Do you have a favorite toy that you enjoy playing with?

This is very interesting for the last 200 years, the same gift keeps popping up on my lists I get from children from all over the world. Do you have a guess what that one toy almost every child wants for Christmas?
It’s a train set! Children love trains. Steam engines, diesels, HO, O and N scale – they love them all. Yes, trains are the most requested toy ever.

Do you give presents to the Elf children too? What type of toys do the Elf children like to receive at Christmas?

Elf children get toys? Oh, my!! Remember, they are in the biggest toy shop in the whole world. They get to play with EVERTHING! Just like other children, they love trains, but they also like art sets, computer games and of course, girls still like dolls.

When you finish with all your deliveries and return to your home in the North Pole,
does Mrs. Claus fix you a healthy meal?

Honestly, I’m not thinking about food, especial after all those cookies! Mrs. Claus helps me off with my boots and my jacket and I settle in a big easy chair and take a long, long nap. Then after the nap, I’m ready for that delicious meal. And my favorite is a hot bowl of vegetable soup.

If you could give any advice to the children around the world, what would you tell them?

This is a very important question. I am glad you asked it. The best advice I could give to all the children of the world is — obey your parents. When it comes to Christmas, your parents and I really do work together to give you the happiest time at Christmas. And remember I will be watching out for you all through the year. Always stay on the nice list and you will have the very best Christmas ever!

Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus plays an important behind the scene role in keeping Santa on track and making sure the elves are working full steam ahead to complete their toy orders. I wanted to ask Mrs. Clause some personal questions about life with Santa.

How do you spend your time while Santa is on his whirlwind trip around the globe?

The trip is so fast. I see him off on each trip with a kiss and then I go to bed. By the time I wake up, he’s back home. He heads for the lounge chair for a long nap.

Who helps the Elves clean up the mess they make while building all those toys?

Oh, they all share the workload. They switch off from building toys to cleaning the workshop and back again. Everybody helps.

Do you help Santa keep track of who is naughty and who is nice?

No, that’s Santa himself and a group of elves who keep up with the naughty and nice lists. They spend a lot of time. It’s a big job.

What do the two of you do during the summer? Do you go on vacation and if so, do you have to go incognito to avoid getting recognized?

Believe it or not, Santa stays busy year-round checking on children around the world. There are so many children to check on. And of course, he must be incognito. He tries to blend in with the people in that part of the world. For vacation, we like to travel south to places like Alaska or Canada or International Falls, Minnesota.

Thank you so much Santa and Mrs. Clause for taking the time to enlighten us on these age-old questions that many of us have pondered for years. We want to wish Santa and Mrs. Claus Happy “Rails and Sleighs” to you on your express journey back to the Polar Regions.

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