What was the most challenging part of the last holiday season when COVID had hit a dangerous level of infection?

SC:  As with many employers, my workers are my family. It was hard to see my elves only via Zoom. I had to take over the reindeer stalls myself to make sure they were cleaned. Rudolf fell into depression and was unable to light up his nose. He struggled, but he pulled out of his sadness with some love and support from the other reindeer. His nose was the brightest I had ever seen when Hermie DDS returned to work and was able to give him a big in-person elf hug. Mrs. Claus decided to hold a weekly Zoom coco hour to help pass the time and keep us all connected. I think I gained more weight than ever from all the cookies!  I even had time to install a brand new cloaking device for the sleigh.

Even though we had to fight through the social distancing, working from home, and other restrictions, Christmas Eve came and we were ready to fly. Considering we are essential workers, the North Pole sprang to work preparing for deliveries. I wore an extra layer of gloves and masked up to enter the homes. We individually packaged gifts for each household to avoid cross-contamination. I even trimmed my beard so the mask would fit better, and I’ve got to tell you, it was nice to have the extra protection in the cold. I am proud to say that I was able to “SANTAtize” at every drop-off location.

We know there were affected supply chains for many manufacturers. Did you have trouble getting supplies for the toys?

SC:  Well, as you are probably aware — Santa’s elves’ work is magic. We always have enough supplies to make every toy and gift. However, it was a tough time for moms and dads worldwide who were struggling to get holiday gifts. Santa’s naughty list was getting challenged. After almost a year of being masked, quarantines, and a lack of in-person social interaction with friends and family, there were many coal-worthy situations in homes all over the world. I had to give each little boy and girl more chances than usual as they struggled to find the magic. I can report that there were GREAT acts of patience and perseverance, the likes of which Santa has never seen. I commend the children of the world for their ability to find light and happiness in any situation.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

SC: As always, I am looking forward to the kids. They make my job the absolute best job in the world. I am looking forward to visiting the

children in hospitals, malls, and the Thanksgiving Day Parade to help bring a smile to their faces. I also look forward to the cookies. Keep those coming.  Look for me, and don’t be afraid to say “hi,” and tell Santa your holiday wish.

I look forward to a safe and healthy holiday, and after my work is done, plenty of time to rest.