Santa Claus is not in the habit of granting media interviews, but we were lucky enough to get one of the few 2017 Christmas Season media passes to meet with him and ask him the questions that you want to know.  Rather than to summarize and editorialize, we decided to just give you the transcript of the important answers to our questions.  (As is normally the case, the interview was longer than what is printed here.)  The interview was conducted at an undisclosed location.

Barbara and a photo opportunity with Santa after the interview.

ILO50: Santa, thank you very much for speaking to us today.  Our “Over 50” group will enjoy hearing what you have to say.

Santa: You are very welcome, but I must say that your website for “over 50” folks – why so young?  Some say that I am over seventeen hundred years old, but I quit counting when it got to three digits – I mean, age is a mental thing, not physical.   Rudolph turned seventy-eight this year, and he’s still such a child!

ILO50: What is your secret to staying so young over the centuries, then?

Santa: Ho, ho, ho!  I’m sure that some will want me to answer this with stuff like exercise, fiber, good diet, drink lots of water – all true, but the real secret?  Moderation.  The missus gets on me about my weight occasionally, but who wants a skinny Santa?  At least that is what I come back with!  But in my view, the secret to a long life is moderation.  Excess is bad for anything, including exercise and fiber! But that is just my opinion.

ILO50: What has changed over the years for you and your crew?

Santa: A lot has changed, especially in the last thirty or forty years.  The kids are all into electronics now – we quickly went from stuffed animals and footballs in the sixties to things needing D-Cell batteries, but now it is all rechargeable “devices” and stuff that plugs into the wall.  I will say, though, that the sack is a lot lighter now – tablets and gift cards for game downloads are a lot lighter than steel trucks.

ILO50: Has technology made its way to your North Pole Headquarters?

Image result for north pole alaskaSanta: Of course it has!  Kids don’t actually “write” letters to Santa any more – email is faster, and we can actually read what the kids are writing that way!  Ho, ho, ho!  We have several websites, and next year we are thinking of starting up a Santa Blog with Santa all year long!  We are also talking to Netflix, YouTube TV and Hulu about producing a Santa reality show called North Pole Confidential, but there is a lot that has to happen before we get there.

We have adopted a lot tech to help the elves keep up with increasing demand.  As global population has grown, we have had to do more and more with limited resources of both labor and space.  The same as everyone – trying to do more with less.

ILO50: So what can our readers – the young folks who happen to be over fifty – what can they do to help out?

Santa: People think that Rudolph and the elves are our greatest assets, but to be truthful, Image result for rudolphit is the grandparents that do the most for us up at the ‘Pole.  We find that the “Nice” list has thousands and thousands of children who have loving, supportive grandmas and grandpas helping them to grow up as kind, responsible people.  Without grandparents, our job would be a lot harder.  And grandparents help keep the kids believing in Santa and the magic of Christmas.  That is important.

ILO50: What can you leave our readers with this Christmas?

Santa: Keep teaching kindness and gentleness not only to the little ones, but the big ones, too.  Don’t get excited or upset at what others do – remember the story of Rudolph and how he was not the most popular guy in the herd until we really needed him.  On that foggy night, he was gracious enough to step up and help out, even after all the grief that the other reindeer had shoveled on him.  There is a great lesson there.

ILO50: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Santa, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Santa: You are very welcome, and a hearty Merry Christmas to everyone.