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27th November, 2018

So after a little bit of doubt due to sudden new Government guidelines, Santa (the real one – obviously) has arrived in the courtyard of Restoration Yard in Dalkeith Country Park. His beautiful grotto has been recreated ‘outside’ for now where it is safe to meet excited children and create the magic of Christmas.  We caught up with the man himself on all things Christmas, how he got through lockdown 2020 and, all-importantly, was toy production in the workshop affected by 2020’s restrictions. 

How has this rather odd year been for you Santa and has it impacted toy production? It was a strange year, but in the North Pole we worked extra hard to make sure we were all safe. The elves and myself took extra steps to look after each other by washing our hands more often than usual and by using hand sanitiser. As we have been so careful when working together, we are on schedule with all the toy making. Now December is here, we are starting to move into high gear, making sure everything will be ready for Christmas.

You usually go somewhere a bit warmer for your holidays but did you have to ‘staycation’ this year? I take my holiday normally in July and I like going to somewhere warm. This year instead of heading abroad, Mrs Clause and myself had a nice break travelling around our local area when we were allowed to travel a bit more. Luckily I have a special pass for travel, for myself and the reindeer, on 24th December.

How will you manage to deliver all those presents safely? I am looking forward to the big day, flying around the world will be amazing after this year being so restrictive. I will be taking all precautions when delivering the gifts and meeting the children in my new outside Grotto. Even the reindeer will be getting an extra wash down to make sure they stay healthy and safe.

Santa, how do you decipher what list a little boy or girl is on when it comes to the Christmas Eve delivery schedule? I have my special elves who watch all the children throughout the year who fill out my list. Then at Christmas time I check it twice to make sure there are no mistakes and I will put ‘P’ or ‘C’ next to the names of the children to note whether they are getting presents or a piece of coal on Christmas morning.

What do you say to all those families coping with those naughty Elves on the Shelves this December? First off, I’m so sorry! I have to send the trickier elves somewhere every year as they misbehave so much at the North Pole. We are too busy at this time of year for the chaos they cause. So I give them the job of checking on children directly to make sure they stay on my ‘Nice’ list.

What kind of magic is it that powers your sleigh on Christmas Eve? The magic power that makes my sleigh fly on Christmas Eve is all the children smiling and being happy. Smiles are the magic ingredient that makes my Sleigh fly. The more children smile the faster I can fly.

What are your favourite types of presents to give? I like to give presents that will help children learn and have fun at the same time.

How do you get around the world so quickly? This is something I get asked all the time. It is easy for me to get round the world in one night because time flies with me.

How do you keep the reindeer quiet during your deliveries? The reindeer have been doing the job so long they know they have to be very quiet.

What’s your favourite snack to be left? Cookies and milk is my favourite.

How do you steer through bad weather? If it is really foggy Rodolph helps me out. Your children will tell you how.

When do the elves start preparing for the next Christmas? The elves have Christmas day and Boxing day off then they start preparing for the next year.

That’s all we got from him before Santa in Dalkeith Country Park had to shoot off to check a few different lists and make sure that his SantaNav is working. He’s looking forward to seeing everyone in his new Grotto over the next couple of weeks. We are going to enjoy every minute of the magic and we can’t wait for all of you to enjoy it too. Memories in the making.

PS. He is the real deal – because yes we do still believe. Do you?