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Home / Art & Culture / Closing time: 10 Minutes With… Santa Claus

Closing time: 10 Minutes With… Santa Claus

Santa Claus is gearing up to take his annual flight around the world with his trusty team of reindeer and sleigh packed with presents to deliver gifts to the children of the world for Christmas. Before he goes, The Limerick Magazine reached out to have a chat about this coming Christmas and his story.

 

Hello Santa, how have the children of Limerick been this year?
The children from Limerick have been very good this year, like they are every year. Of course, there are always a few bad eggs, but for the most part the kids from Limerick have been very good. They deserve all of their presents this year.

What’s your favourite thing about coming to Limerick?
Limerick is a very beautiful city, I love flying my sleigh over the River Shannon and seeing all the Christmas lights in the city. It really is a testament to the Christmas spirit. The families are also very generous too so there’s always plenty of milk and cookies left out for me, and some carrots for the reindeer. They’re very tired after flying all night so they love to take a break for a few minutes and munch on some carrots.

What’s your favourite Christmas carol?
Ho ho ho, I love all of them, but it has to be “Santa Claus is coming to town”, because it’s true. I know who has been good this year, and who has been bad. I check the list twice, and as I say every year, I know who is sleeping or awake. So it’s best for the kids to be fast asleep when I arrive, and enjoy their presents in the morning. Besides, their parents could do with a full nights sleep.

How do the reindeer fly?
It’s the Christmas spirit and magic that makes them fly. They only fly on Christmas Eve so it’s the magic created by all the children in the world who believe in me, as well as the kind, giving spirit of Christmas that allows such a miracle to happen. It’s probably for the best that it only happens once a year, otherwise they would be causing havoc around my workshop, especially Rudolf as he’s the youngest and still a bit mischievous.

How do you deliver all the presents in one night?
A large part is the magic that goes into it, but I also take advantage of the time zones. For example, when it’s 7pm in New York, it’s midnight in Limerick so I come through the rest of Europe, then stop in Ireland, and have plenty of time to cross the Atlantic as it’s not as late in the States. By the time the kids are waking up Christmas morning here, it’s still Christmas Eve in some parts of the world.

Why do you leave presents in Christmas stockings?
I did it once and it caught on. The bigger presents are left under the Christmas tree, but I put little trinkets and sweets in the Stockings. Many years ago when I was mostly known as Saint Nicholas of Myra, in Turkey, I always helped those less fortunate than me. I was a bishop at the time, and heard a sad story of a widowed father with three daughters and no dowry to marry them off. At the time, a girl could not be married unless her family had the money to pay for it. Their father was considering selling one of the girls to pay for the other two. I couldn’t let this happen so I dropped three bags of gold coins down their chimney, which happened to land in their socks which were left over the fireplace to dry. After that, leaving the presents in a stocking on the fireplace became tradition. This story is also why I come down the chimney.

Where does the name Santa Claus come from?
I’m known by many names; Santa Claus, St Nick, Kris Kringle, Noel, Father Christmas. I like how I’m called Daidi na Nollag as Gaeilge. Sometimes I can’t even keep track of all of them, but Santa Claus seems to be the most popular. My story spread throughout the world due to colonisation, and back in the 1600s the Dutch introduced Sinterklass, which means St. Nicholas, to the colonies. The children who spoke English said the name so quickly that it sounded like Santy Claus. My name eventually became Santa Claus after years of mispronunciation!

That’s really interesting, Santa, but I’ll let you get back to making presents and getting ready for Christmas. It was lovely speaking to you.
Thank you. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Article by: Aisling O’Connor

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