As the final seconds clicked off the scoreboard at last weekend’s Miami-Jacksonville game, a bearded man darted through the crowd. A Dolphins jersey (No. 7) was stretched over his protruding belly, but only a handful of fans noticed the amazing speed in which the jolly old man made his way across the concourse. Those who did recognize the twinkle in his eye only caught a fleeting glimpse of his rosy cheeks and a faint whiff of peppermint.
Over the past couple of centuries, the legend of Santa Claus has been heavily researched and well documented through storybooks and movies, public trials and sporadic brushes with the media.
In a 1926 Vanity Fair interview, Claus was portrayed as a progressive businessman with an affinity for childish delights.
“I like hot cocoa, cookies, sugar plums, and playing reindeer games,” he said. “But my true passion is toys. How to make them safer, more fun, and with fewer small parts to lose.”
Even at an early age young Kristopher Kringle recognized an opportunity to expand a local toy business. First he incorporated an assembly-line production (Henry Ford would later credit Claus as his inspiration) by employing the nimble fingers of elves. Years later an exotic discovery led to a breakthrough in shipping.
“Delivering toys is not rocket science,” Claus admitted. “You just need faith, plenty of eggnog and magic reindeer.”
And most of the time, faith seems to work out in Claus’s favor. In the 1950s, the Cold War made his annual sprint around the globe a dangerous endeavor. Claus considered China, Korea, Germany, and the former Soviet Union “hot zones” and trained his reindeer to, “fly real low under the commie’s radar.”
Yet the presents always arrived to the good boys and girls.
“In 1962 I paid a special visit to lil’ Nikita Kruschev,” Claus recalled. “He withdrew some rockets and started to play nice, so he got an Etch-A-Sketch.”
Another Christmas…Another Elmo
Claus admits his biggest challenge isn’t his naughty/nice list, but creating new toys. He currently holds the patents on several thousand playthings including Play-doh, Slinky, Easy Bake Oven, and one of the first MP3 players.
In the 1970s he was the first to coin the phrase “Global Market” and his work in the field of shipping eventually earned him the distinction of Time magazine’s “CEO of the Decade.”
“It is a great honor,” said Claus. “But Christmas is more than awards, cookies and toys.
This is the time of year to gather with family and friends and get spiritual.”
Sequestered at the ice-locked North Pole for most of the year, surrounded by elves, the bearded man has granted few interviews since the infamous Macy’s trial, but the Weekly Newspapers recently caught up with Santa as he basked in relative anonymity at Little Palm Island.
JK: What kinds of challenges do you find when delivering presents to the good boys and girls of the Florida Keys.
SC: After coming from the bright lights of Miami, the Keys are hard to find in the dark. Also, keeping the naughty/nice list up-to-date is quiet a challenge. People just cannot stay out of trouble down here.
JK: What seems to be the hot gift this year?
SC: In general, or the Keys?
JK: The Keys.
SC: Shimano rod and reel combos…and lateral sewer connections.
JK: I hear you are a big Dolphins fan? Is there any chance of delivering a division title to South Florida for Christmas?
SC: I’m working on it. In February I want to be back in Miami to watch the Dolphins win Superbowl XLIV!