9. Interviewing kindergartners about Santa

Did you know that Santa is 20 and if you don’t have a chimney he just makes a hole in your roof and throws the presents down it? He also has the capabilities to make a key if necessary.

He eats anywhere from 2 1/2 to 30 cookies Christmas Eve night and starts his route in Kentucky because “it’s the cool place.” If he had to get a new reindeer, he’d probably name it Jingle or Rainy and when he’s done delivering all the presents, he takes a big nap. Oh, and if you want to get him a present this year, he needs ornaments for his Christmas tree.

Apparently, there’s a lot we didn’t know about Santa. Good thing there are kindergartners willing to be interviewed on the subject so we can all know what’s up. In the past week, I’ve interviewed about 30 five-year-olds about all things Christmas. Well, not all things, but things like how old Santa is and what he should get for Christmas this year.

When I worked at my first newspaper job out of college, I got an idea for a “people poll” around Thanksgiving time. I thought it would be cool – and adorable – to interview some kindergartners about the proper way to cook a turkey. They had some good ideas – you know, put juice on it, or ketchup, and cook it for 20 minutes, or 10 hours, whatever. We did a couple more polls with the kids for other holidays, like Valentine’s Day and Easter.

When I got to the job where I am now, I thought the idea would be good for Christmas. So last year, I talked to some kids about Santa. The results were hilarious. I even got a column out of it – that won an award with SPJ – “24 and older than Santa.” One of the students I’d interviewed said Santa was the ripe old age of 23, which mean at 24 I was ancient. And amazingly didn’t have gray hair even though Santa, younger than me, did. This year, we decided to continue it, and it will run with our special section of Santa letters from kids, which provide their own hilarity.

I interviewed the first set of kids on Monday, and seriously, I wish I could start every Monday that way. It was so funny. I’d ask a question and they’d raise their hands to answer. And they were so convinced that what they were saying was right. Only a couple were shy and afraid to answer. One little girl became my friend immediately. I started talking to her about Christmas and she got so excited about it. She told me she had seven Christmas trees. I said, “Seven?!” And she got the biggest smile, put her hands on my knees and said “Yes!” It was adorable. I’ve done few other interviews in my life where people are so excited about what I’m talking to them about.

I still have a few more schools to get to and a few more questions to ask, including “How do you stay on Santa’s good list?” – I’ve got to know, make sure I’m livin’ right – and “What would you do if you woke up and Santa was in your house dropping off your presents?” – which should prompt some interesting answers. I hope one of them says “Call the cops” because that would be hilarious.

With all the news and serious stuff I write about on a weekly basis, this is one of my favorite times of the year because my job during those days consists of going into schools and talking to kids about Christmas. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

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