An interview with Santa

I was lucky enough to interview the Santa Claus for SBS. Here’s what he had to say,

**

The screen is black, but I hear movement and then someone (presumably Mrs Claus) whispering, “You have to turn the camera on.” Suddenly, he appears, resplendent in a red cable-knit jumper and round tortoiseshell glasses. He’s sitting in what looks like his home office.

“Hello, I’m Santa Claus,” he says.

Hi! It’s an honour to speak with you today. How you are feeling? Weary! It’s been a wild few years, hasn’t it?

It really has. I heard COVID got into the North Pole via an infected humpback whale? That’s the rumour, but I’m not sure we’ll ever know the truth. It’s all a bit of a blur… I don’t think Mrs Claus or I will ever get over having to home school 1456 elves.

I can’t imagine! I thought two kids was tough. Not to mention the endless RAT testing. Have you ever tried to put a cotton bud up an elf’s nose? They are extremely ticklish creatures. Thankfully, the virus has slowed down for the moment, but we’re seeing increasing numbers of elfuenza. Their high sugar, low fibre diets make them more susceptible, so we’re making changes. Bone broth, greens…

How’s that going? Badly. They just love sugar. They sneak it into their dormitories in the tips of their shoes.

Are you feeling the cost-of-living crises up there? We are. We used to crank up the heater and swan about in T-shirts. But now we’re asking everyone to put on an extra jumper and jog on the spot before the heater even goes on. Food-wise, Mrs Claus is our saviour. Give her a packet of mince and she’ll turn it into culinary gold.

You’ve got a lot of personnel to support. Yes, and a huge mortgage on my grotto. Some of the reindeers have taken on second jobs to help out. They’re very creative: Prancer was selling crocheted reindeer on Etsy, Rudolph took on a job with Uber Eats (clearly his skills were transferrable) and Comet, um, well he’s been doing extremely well on Only Fans.

Have the data breaches affected you at all? Yes, we were hacked. The hackers – who turned out to be a couple of bored pimply teenagers somewhere in California – ended up releasing my highly sensitive naughty_nice 2022_v1.6 document on the dark web. Our Chief Information Security Officer, Dwanye, had to stand down. It’s been very upsetting.

As the information is out there, could we discuss who’s been naughty or nice? How about the Wiggles? Nice. All faultless.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong? Nice. Saintly.

Rudolph. No comment.

King Charles. Terribly naughty.

I heard you were very good friends with Queen Elizabeth. I was. Although she was 96, I was still shocked to hear of her passing. I brought her a snow dome with corgis when she was young. She kept it on her bedside table till the end.

How’s everything shaping up for the big night? We’re ready. We have record numbers of children to deliver to this year. My Chief Elf has been meticulously planning our journey since February. We’ll be flying everywhere – from yurts in Mongolia to high-rise apartments in New York.

Do you actually go down chimneys? Rarely. I’m a bit claustrophobic, so I try to avoid it. Plus, all the soot and cobwebs set off my allergies. Think of me as a master locksmith. I’m very handy with a hair pin and credit card.

How do you manage such a demanding journey? I’ve done tactical driving courses with the SAS. We learn how to brake suddenly, avoid obstacles and even drive under fire. I know you’ve had terrible floods in Australia. Worry not: we’re prepared. And we’ll be going to war-affected countries, too. Those children need us.

What do you do on Boxing Day? In the olden days, we’d get home and hit the champagne and party pies. Nowadays, I’m whisked away to have bloods taken, supplements given, ice baths and sessions with my psychologist.

What would you like for Christmas this year? Great question. I can confirm I’ve been a good boy. Ha! I’d really love a—

At this point an elf appears in the background and whispers something in Santa’s ear.

Apologies, I have to go. There’s something in the workshop I must attend to.

No problem! But before you go, what was it that you wanted for Christmas? We’d love to know.

The screen has gone blank.

Later, Santa clarifies by email that he’d like “world peace and an air fryer”. “Those machines are marvellous,” he says.

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