Claus takes timeout for interview
It was nearly a year since he's been to town, but on Sunday evening a very special guest came to Baldwin City a few weeks before his busy night around the world.
After the annual Light Parade, the Signal was granted an exclusive interview with Santa Claus before he flew away with his reindeer. Santa came to Baldwin for one specific reason.
"I am glad to be back in Baldwin City," Santa said. "I received a few reports from my elves about some good little boys and girls here in Baldwin City and I really wanted to come down here and see for myself if the good things they were saying were true. I found it out to be correct."
Santa said most children in Baldwin City behave well, but he said a few others enjoy misbehaving.
"There are lots of them," Santa said. "There are a few little ornery characters out there, but most of the kids are just great."
Santa came alone on this trip, but said Mrs. Claus gave him lots of goodies before he left.
"She's got her hands full, let me tell you," Santa said. "She is a great wife and she loads me up with cookies, milk and hot chocolate for the long trip."
When asked if he enjoyed visiting Baldwin City, Santa smiled and exclaimed his true feelings.
"Oh, absolutely. I love coming to Baldwin City," Santa said. "I love the children here. I love the moms and dads. I am enjoying it very much and I will always be coming back."
Besides checking on the children, there was another reason Santa came to Baldwin, thanks to Baldwin City Fire Department Chief Allen Craig.
"Chief Craig from the volunteer fire department called me," Santa said. "He mentioned that he would be able to bring me into town for the parade. The crowds are always great."
Santa rode in the antique fire truck float with Craig. That was the last float in the parade. Santa exited the truck, handed out candy canes and lit the Baldwin City Christmas tree.
The crowds of people that bundled up to watch the parade impressed Santa.
"I've been coming here for so long," Santa said. "It's grown bigger and bigger every year. The town has grown a little bit."
The wintry weather that hit Baldwin last week helped bring in the holiday season, according to Santa.
"It sure does help bring in the season," Santa said. "Rudolph and all of his buddies really enjoy when they land on top of Parmenter Hall. It's really easy for them to land and they love the snow."
He also said Rudolph's red nose was very beneficial in the snow.
"He loves the snow," Santa said. "That red light going through the snow flurries is just great. It really lights the way."
Santa left Baldwin right after the exclusive interview, so he could return to the North Pole and finish making toys. He said there are different popular toys each year, but some gifts are always asked for by children.
"I think every year there is some new toy that the kids want," Santa said. "Historically, the girls have always wanted dolls and the boys always want something related to sports or computer games. CDs are always big and we have a great recording studio up in the North Pole. We have all of the big artists working with us."
Although his visit to Baldwin was brief, Santa said he has to return to the North Pole before he can make his worldwide trip on Christmas Eve.
"I go completely 360 degrees around the world," Santa said. "For those little girls and boys, I'll do the best that I possibly can to make sure they have the greatest Christmas ever."
After his busy night of delivering presents, Santa said he will be resting up, before he begins to plan for next year.
"Right after Christmas I take a little rest and relaxation," Santa said. "Mrs. Claus and I take a short vacation. Then we come right back to the North Pole and we start studying the lists of who has been good and who hasn't. Then we start preparing for the next Christmas. We work almost 12 months a year."
Before he left Sunday, Santa had a message for the children about behaving well and how to contact him.
"There's nothing that those girls and boys do that I don't hear about," Santa said. "The elves are always out there watching. You'd be surprised how many people get in touch with me to let me know what those kids are doing. I will find out.
"I don't do e-mails and I don't do telephones, but children write me letters all of the time," Santa said. "All they have to do is write a letter and take it to the post office. They don't need to put a stamp on it or anything. Santa Claus will always get it."
He will return to Baldwin on Dec. 24, but since no one will see him, he hopes everyone has a great holiday.
"Of course, this is the busiest time of the year for Mrs. Claus, myself and all of the elves," Santa said. "We hope everybody here in Baldwin has a very merry Christmas. I look forward to seeing you next year."