Christmas Day is nearly here. In between escorting his elves around the workshop and tending to his reindeer, the big man himself makes times for this exclusive interview to chat all things festive…
With billions of presents to deliver, around 200 countries to visit and nine reindeer to keep in check, it’s fair to say Santa Claus has a big job to do come Christmas Eve.
Luckily for us, he took five minutes out of his very busy schedule to chat about requirements for the job, clearing up our misconceptions and Christmas Eve camel wrangling.
What kinds of skills are required to get a job like being Santa Claus?
It’s definitely a multi-skilled position. Timekeeping and a good memory are essential, but you also have to look really good in red – luckily that’s something I’m a natural at.
You also have to be able to grow a really bushy beard, have twinkly eyes and maintain a jovial disposition at all times, even when things get stressful and you get stuck in a chimney.
Owing to the nature of the job, you also need to really, really like cookies and know how to handle a reindeer; they can get a bit highly-strung sometimes.
We don’t really have chimneys here in Abu Dhabi, so how are you going to deliver the presents?
Parents leave me a magic key so I can get in through the air conditioning vents on Christmas Eve.
As Christmas Eve is a long night for Rudolph and his pals, I usually let the reindeer have a little break to munch some oats in the Empty Quarter while I deliver presents in Abu Dhabi.
The local camels take over: they’re very friendly but they’re a bit noisier than my reindeer.
What’s on your sleigh playlist?
I’m a huge fan of the Michael Bublé Christmas album. One of my favourite songs is ‘Jingle Bells’, and of course you can’t have Christmas without ‘White Christmas’.
I do find it a bit embarrassing that so many people have written songs about me, but I do have a soft spot for Elvis’ ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’, and I’m also very partial to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ as I might not look like it, but your man Santa is very good at hitting the high notes.
What’s a misconception about you that you’d like to clear up?
There’s a very popular story about me that says when I laugh my belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly. Mrs Claus put me on a diet and exercise regime, so I’ve lost a lot of weight.
Also, I never give out soot or coal to naughty children. Reducing our use of fossil fuels is an important global issue – that’s why I use my sustainable sleigh.
Finally – we have to know – has the team at Abu Dhabi World been naughty or nice this year?
I’ve checked my list twice, and I’m happy to report that you’ve all been very, very good boys and girls this year.
And to all the people of Abu Dhabi, I want to wish you a very merry Christmas – and I’ll see you again the same time next year…