Santa, the man behind the beard

Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, this iconic character is loved by children the world over. Secrecy has always surrounded this international mega-star, so just who is behind the beard?

Ruben Lewis, aged eight and a quarter, investigates. With just a few weeks to the busiest night of the year, Santa Claus takes a break to answer some burning questions.

There's a reason Santa starts in the Pacific - the warm water ...

There's a reason Santa starts in the Pacific - the warm water ...

Q: Is it true you only work one night a year?

A: The delivery part of my work takes 32 hours, but planning the logistics and overseeing toy construction takes most of the year.

Q: What’s changing in your workshop?

A: There is a lot more focus on occupational health and safety in the workplace these days, We’ve seen a real decline in work-related injuries.

The elves can be a bit silly with the hammers, if I don’t keep an eye on them.

Q: How many elves do you have working at the shop this Christmas?

A: 19,503 working in three shifts so construction can continue all around the clock.

Q: What would you like to receive this Christmas?

A: For me, it really is the thought that counts rather than expensive gifts.

Q: Can you pick just one? 

A: The Captain Underpants DVD would be super.

Q: Where do you deliver to first?

A: I start in the South Pacific, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, I zoom up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. I travel around 510,000,000km, so thankfully my reindeer are supersonic and there’s no traffic jams.

Q: What do you do if a house hasn't got a chimney?

A: I do have a magic key, although Rudolph’s very helpful at opening windows. 

Q: How do you decide who is naughty or nice?

A: There are millions of children the world over, so I can’t monitor every child at every moment. We do spot checks of course, but to get an accurate reading we use a highly convoluted mathematical equation. I won’t bore you with the detail, but it includes monitoring your carers for increases in grey hair. Helping with chores gets factored in, too.

Then I make a list and check it twice.

Q: Um, have I made the cut?

A: Certainly looks very promising Ruben, but in the last few weeks there is still everything to play for. Brush your teeth, go to bed on time and be kind to your brother and you’ll enjoy a very merry Christmas.

Q: Is it true you know my Grandma?

A: Yes.

Thanks Santa, and good luck for your big night.