Santa Claus made a brief stop in 100 Mile earlier this month for a nice-or-naughty check.
He almost didn’t make it to the Creekside Seniors’ Centre. Blitzen blew a hoof as they were getting ready to leave the North Pole. Mrs. Claus stayed home to tend the reindeer, putting hot and cold compresses on Blitzen’s hoof.
Thankfully, Santa had a reindeer waiting in the wings: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious stepped into Blitzen’s harness.
He is one of 17 reindeer in training, who once in a while get to join the regular reindeer. Santa said his team is a mix of does and bucks as he asks each reindeer at a young age if they want antlers or not. Some reindeer say no antlers because they do not want to have to comb them, he said.
“It’s a new era. Antlers are passe.”
It also turns out his reindeer only eat pancakes at night. But they like to eat carrots in the daytime so they can see to eat the pancakes, he said.
Santa and Mrs. Claus work as a team. He keeps track of who’s naughty and nice, while she ticks off the names. She would have come with him on the trip but had to help Blitzen.
Santa said people are always asking him how he can be everywhere at once. He credits his Chief Elf, who runs the North Pole when he is away.
“He’s been with me for, I think, going on 125 years now. He knows everything, in and out, so when I leave he kind of theoretically becomes Santa up there.”
Santa also feeds the elves a lot of candy canes to keep them working hard. “The sugar high is just great.”
There have been several years when he did not think he would be able to pull off Christmas. The worst time was when Mrs. Claus messed up his hot chocolate.
Santa said he was feeling so low he could not harness the reindeer. Mrs. Claus redeemed herself by doing the job in the nick of time.
“We’ve had a few of those close calls.”
He has also relied on Rudolph to pull them through many times - in snowstorms or the dead of night when there is no moon.
Santa had a parting message for the children of the South Cariboo: Always remember to have fun.
“When you have fun, you’re happy, you’re joyful and when you’re happy and joyful so are your parents and it just makes for a great Christmas.”
As the hall began to empty, Santa said that he’d just had a phone call from Mrs. Claus with an update on Blitzen.
“She said the cold and hot compresses are working great but we do have to trim his hoof and that might slow him down a little bit but we will be able to make everything on time at Christmas.”