Even in the last few days before Christmas, Santa sometimes sneaks a little break from all the planning, present wrapping and list checking to answer his cell phone.

Even in the last few days before Christmas, Santa sometimes sneaks a little break from all the planning, present wrapping and list checking to answer his cell phone.


What? You didn’t know Santa had a cell phone? Sure he does. It is bright red and shines like Dorothy’s shoes from "The Wizard of Oz" but that’s getting off point.


So one recent bitterly cold afternoon, Santa took a minute to answer a call from a Herald Democrat reporter. Said reporter was getting a little concerned because she had not heard from the big guy in red yet this season.


"Busy as can be," Santa said when asked how things were going up at the North Pole. "Everyone is working like mad to make that deadline."


Of course, even with all of that working, Santa said he and his right-hand elf Mortimer were still taking time out to feed the reindeer carrots and taste some of Mrs. Claus’ famous cookies.


Santa said he is amazed this year, as he is every year, at the number of little boys and girls who have made his "good list." He said keeping up with who is on which list is Mortimer’s job and Mortimer had assured him that more children were watching their "p’s" and "q’s" this year than ever before. Santa said he really shouldn’t be surprised because children are basically good at heart.


"I still get asked about pets," Santa said when discussing the gifts he hears requested most this time of the year. He said he doesn’t deliver pets as presents because the sleigh is just not equipped to safely carry puppies, doggies or even hippos for that matter. The last part was a reference to a Christmas song about a little girl who wanted a hippo for Christmas. It happens to be a favorite Christmas song of Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the reporter.


Other than pets, Santa said, children have been asking for technology gifts like tablets and laptops. But, he said, they have also been asking for some of the same things they have been requesting for decades like dolls, trucks, teddy bears, toy trains, basket balls and bikes.


When asked what treat he would most like to find waiting for him by the tree tonight, Santa said he loves cookies. However, he said, he likes other things too. He finds that whatever treat he finds next to the tree instantly becomes one of his favorites. That is just part of the magic of being Santa. He gets different treats in different parts of the world and he loves them all. Of course, his absolute favorite treats are the ones baked by his own dear wife in their cozy home.


When asked if anyone every left him any energy drinks by the tree, Santa laughed and laughed before saying "No, but that might be useful."


Santa said he knows all of the little children will be watching his progress around the world on NORAD and other such programs and he is delighted to have them along for the ride. He added that the folks from NORAD have even helped him out a time or two when he and the sleigh got off track in bad weather.


The jolly man in red said he can’t wait to see all of the children Grayson, Fannin and Bryan counties and he wishes each of them a "Very Merry Christmas."