Jolly Old Saint Nick makes a special trip to the village to talk about his favorite requests, the recession and why he loves Sag Harbor.
Thanks for taking some time to come on down to Sag Harbor from the North Pole. I know this is your busy season.
It’s a pleasure. I love Sag Harbor. Over the years I have become friendly with Al Daniels, because people think we look so much alike, so this year I took a few hours off to go out scalloping. Although Al said there were not as many scallops this year, I certainly found enough to bring back to my elves.
But please don’t tell anyone this is my little get away.
Santa, do tell us where did Al take you where you were able to find this bounty of scallops?
Oh my goodness. I don’t have many secrets, but if I ever want to be invited back to Sag Harbor again, I just can’t tell you.
In Sag Harbor what is the ratio of nice children to naughty children?
One of the reasons I find Sag Harbor so special is I have never met a naughty child here. I have met a few naughty adults, but not one naughty child.
What are some of the more touching requests you have received from Sag Harbor children or is it all about the toys?
There is a very high ratio of children in Sag Harbor who are not interested in receiving something for themselves but want me to give their parents or grandparents something special. Mrs. Claus and I always are touched by how the children in Sag Harbor care for their families. It is also fun when we get requests from kids from Sag Harbor because there are not too many kids around the world who ask for clamming rakes or fish tackle.
What kind of effect has the recession had on Santa’s Workshop?
Our focus is not money. Our focus is joy and love and peace and harmony. So we are actually in a growth industry if we do our job well.
As a toy connoisseur, have you been to the Wharf Shop, Sag Harbor’s oldest toy store?
Are you kidding me? I have them on retainer.
Do you find it difficult to keep up with the varied international traditions you must uphold? Which is your favorite?
Thank you for asking that question. I have to say my personal favorite is still cookies and milk and carrots for my reindeer; but I love Christmas in Tokyo, I love the wooden shoes in Holland, I love the Gaucho hats in Argentina — and the koala bears in Australia always make me laugh. I know it does not seem possible, but every single house has something special. I keep thinking, ‘how is it going to be better next year?’ and it always is.
What is your favorite myth the world has dreamt up about you?
It’s a myth that I am a jolly old man. I am like everyone else. I get saddened by injustice, I get excited by courage, and I feel deep and abiding love for my family and every child in the world. But I am not old and I am not always jolly, but I am deeply happy. I am at peace.
So what’s with the beard?
I don’t like to shave and it keeps me warm.
Do you get a vacation after Christmas is over?
Well I do. I take a break once I know all the reports have come in and every child has received their gifts and that I know that there is peace on earth and good will towards men. Then Mrs. Claus and I steal away to someplace warm.
What do you think the Village of Sag Harbor really needs for Christmas?
A glorious, optimistic, collective vision for a wonderful future. To adapt, to proclaim that the official word of Sag Harbor is “yes.” Yes, that Sag Harbor students have a great future. Yes, that you can make Sag Harbor into a model tourist destination and yes, that as a community you can come together, and regardless of the problem, the issue or opposition, you can solve it together.
Now that you have been around the world, and we are going into a new decade, do you have any tips for our Sag Harbor children?
Yes, Ma’am, I do, although my suggestions for the children of Sag Harbor are timeless. First, give more than you receive. Second, make everything better than you found it. Love your parents, – they are the greatest gift you will ever receive. And third, always do your best. You are somebody’s hero – act that way.
Is there anything you want to add Santa?
Yes. Sag Harbor is a treasure and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to express my good wishes.