As crews of elves work at the North Pole to prepare for Christmas Eve, the jolly old elf, Santa Claus himself stopped by the Herald Democrat last week to visit with the newsroom staff. The stop by the Herald Democrat offices has become something of an annual tradition for the big guy in red as he stops in Texoma to check up on children ahead of his yearly world tour.

“My wish for all the children is that they do the things they need to do to stay health and happy,” Santa said. “Study hard in school, live a good life and always believe in Santa.”

For this year’s trip, Santa said he planned to make more than a trillion stops around the globe over the course of one night. In order to pull of this miraculous feat, Santa said he will need to rely on holiday magic.

“Santa is allowed to use magic on Christmas Eve,” he said. “It takes so much energy that I am only allowed to use it once a year.”

“I also try to make sure I eat healthy in order to keep the energy up,” he added.

Santa said as he has gotten older he has had to spend less time at the North Pole, but has instead been able to spend more time locally in Texoma. While in disguise, Santa said, he still likes to check in on the children, often by volunteering with a local kindergarten class. Even with his disguises, Santa said, the children know.

“The ones at school all know I am the real Santa Claus,” he said. “I get handed letters from them every day.”

For this year, Santa said many of the children across the country are asking for electronics and gadgets like tablets and iPads for Christmas. Even with the changing times, classics like the Barbie dream house remain ever popular, he said.

“I ask them if they are going to use them (tablets) to do homework or just play games and most just want to play games without the homework,” he said.

Santa admitted that he has had some unusual requests over the years, including one from a child who really wanted a dragon for Christmas.

“I asked if they wanted a real dragon or a toy dragon and they said they really wanted a real one,” Santa said, noting that he went on to talk to the child about the responsibilities of owning a real dragon. After the discussion, both decided that a toy dragon may be for the best, he said.

In a more serious tone, Santa said that he has had many children ask that their parents could be home for the holidays.

As he left, Santa had one final message to all the naughty children in the region, who have not been on their best behavior this year.

“If they will work real hard to be good I don’t think I will have to pass them by next year,” he said.