Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, or simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in all the cultures of the world, brings gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, in December. Santa Claus is generally depicted as an ageless portly, joyous, white-bearded man - sometimes with spectacles - wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots, a flowing white beard and moustache almost covering his ever smiling lips.
According to tradition, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine flying reindeer with whose help, Santa Claus has been believed to make a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior ("naughty" or "nice") and to deliver presents, including toys, and candy to all of the “well-behaved” children in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He is supposed to accomplish this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer that pull his sleigh.
Is he really like that, or is that his stage persona? I decided to find out. Does he too, like all of us, constantly wear a mask? Christmas was approaching and I thought, unmasking the Santa, would make for a good news story. But I was in for the surprise of my life.
I requested a meeting via email – Santa@WrestleUTA.com I was taken up to the North Pole as is widely believed – a delightful experience that lasted (sadly) for only a couple of minutes through the use of "Christmas magic", although I will admit that Santa had me drink something that made me very sleepy first. I was taken straight to his office. I was wearing my best suit and was feeling a little out of place in an office that was frugal - a desk and a chair for Santa, and a couple for visitors. The room was circular and had a rather airy and pleasant atmosphere, I realized, that came from the almost seamless open windows that circumscribed the room. I looked around, and curiously peeked outside. Santa was reclining in his chair, looking a little weary – but still his joyous smiling self – the eternal optimist. And yes he looked exactly like tradition described him. And going by the equipment surrounding him, he was fully into cloud computing.
Tommy Ace: Morning Santa, thank you for consenting to meet with me and for this interview.
Santa: (Smiling) Welcome, it’s a pleasure. The Media is an important part of our plans for this year, to extend our reach, reinforce Brand Santa and attract more people to our cause.
Tommy Ace: And that is?
Santa: (Still smiling) Spreading the message of Christmas.. love your neighbor and show that you care by sharing..
Tommy Ace: But Santa, I must ask. How can children do that, they are just interested in the toys and gifts that you bring, and the fun and laughter that you symbolize.
Santa: You will be surprised by how the message of Christmas touches children. Many of the toys and gifts that I distribute are given by those that can afford them. They send them to me and tell me that they should be given to a specific orphanage / special child or friend in difficulty. Some just leave it to my office to choose. But even those children that have very little to give, send in their gifts. These children are so so special to me. There was this one child from India who sent me ten balloons and accompanied it with an instructional note to blow them up and leave them in the pediatric cancer ward in a hospital in her town. A strange but compassionate request. I did exactly as instructed. I was actually drawn back to the hospital the next day to see the outcome of my efforts, and was overwhelmed to see the happiness and joy among the children in the ward. It's something that I've started working with WrestleUTA to give back.
Tommy Ace: Santa, there is a question I must ask and I hope you won’t mind. My readers will not forgive me if I don’t. So here goes... Do you, as is widely believed, make a distinction between nice and naughty children?
Santa: (with a naughty look on his face) Of course I do! It's part of the job, Thomas. In fact, I spend a lot of time going over my list constantly, double-checking it, and adding people to each side all the time. Why, there was a young man named Duke Dibbins who has been added and removed from the Naughty list so many times that I just keep him on there permanently now.
Tommy Ace: Santa, children continue to believe that it’s Santa that brings them gifts on Christmas Eve, sliding down the chimney or crawling through an open window or even coming through walls into their homes. The adults and most particularly, the talent in UTA, tend to believe that you're nothing but a fraud, a con man trying to gain some easy money and cheap pops by dressing up like a holiday icon.
Santa: (Smiling) I don't mind. It's people like you who don't believe any more. Some adults, children, and old folks still believe. They need a figure, a crutch on which to lean on, in times of trouble. Both children and their parents look up to me to provide them with an opportunity to bring joy into their lives and the lives of those around them at least for that one night and day in December. Have you seen anyone refusing to shake hands with Santa? Or refusing a gift from him or failing to return his smile? Or not welcoming him into his home? If you treat your neighbor as Santa the world will be a different place, will it not? So it’s you who want to believe in Santa and rely on him to provide cheer and joy and not the other way around. This is why I have made my return to UTA, I want to spread the joy and happiness of Christmas all around the world, and what better way to do it, than by entertaining the fans as well.
Tommy Ace: Isn’t it hard work Santa? You'll not only be wrestling in UTA, but also preparing for Christmas, and likely, making deliveries during the holiday season while performing in the ring. How do you manage the logistics?
Santa: (the tired look is now back on his face) Lots of work goes into preparing for my journeys across the earth. I’m lucky that I have so many people here at the North Pole to help me out in sifting through the letters, chalking out the distribution program, receiving and packing the gifts and then sending me on my way.. The task is humongous both in terms of number of children and the distances involved – all to be done in a limited period across different time zones. There are over half a billion children under the age of 14 in the world who are expected to celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In other words, I have to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That's about 3,65,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second. Totally doable!
Luckily not all countries celebrate Christmas on December 25. There is January 5th. That's the day I have most of the night to hit parts of Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine before Eastern Orthodox celebrations on the twelfth Night. This calendar shift takes about 11.5 million kids out of the line-up on the 24th, meaning that on the 5th I can do a leisurely 800,000 kids an hour.
Not all children that celebrate Christmas are Christian. The secular elements of Christmas are extremely appealing: a tree in the house? Gifts? Cake and Candy? I have to get into each house that has a Christmas tree and a star at its approach. So add 5%. Luckily, I do get more than 24 hours especially as there are only 9 hours of light in New York on the 24th. And last but not the least I do have my co conspirators – Parents and Loved ones who do help me out, if I fall behind.
In terms of how I plan on tackling the issue of performing in the ring and delivering presents? Well, that's what my Santa's Helpers are for. I employ thousands of Mall Santa's all around the world, so who's to say that they won't help me out a little bit delivering gifts, or perhaps, even performing my duties in UTA for a while. This is why I'm not too worried about fulfilling my duties both in and out of the ring.
Tommy Ace: You have been scheduled to make your return to the UTA in a match on Wrestleshow against a true legend in UTA, La Flama Blanca. What are your thoughts on him and his meteoric rise to the top of the wrestling world?
Santa: (with a serious expression for the first time in the Interview) Thomas, that is an important and relevant question. At one point in time, La Flama Blanca was not only Santa's favorite wrestler, but he was Santa's favorite person. I enjoyed watching his antics on television during my breaks from building toys in the Workshop, and there were times when I would turn on my television and watch some UTA On Demand just so I could see my favorite wrestler perform in the ring, or do one of his wacky interviews. But in the time since I've left, he's become a mean, cruel, evil, naughty luchadore, and one that I have set in my mind to correct. It is no coincidence that right when I left UTA to perform my Christmas and post-Christmas work, La Flama Blanca loses his way and turns to the dark side. I have and will make it my mission to bring him back to the light and build him back up as the happy-go-lucky, friendly face of the company that he once was.
Tommy Ace: What are your plans to achieve this lofty goal?
Santa: (smiling) Let me explain first. I am available on Email, Whatsapp, Face book, Twitter and other social media. Children too, are now very tech savvy and are constantly in touch with me on my Cloud Computing network. I do try and answer every mail or post that is on my social media pages or messages on my Phone, but my time is limited and I do miss out on quite a few. However there is a special mail that I received this year on September 1st. Let me read it for you: I have it here somewhere,
(Santa searches through the mail on his computer)
I know it's not Christmas, but I wanted to write you a letter and ask you for a very special Christmas gift this year. I don't want any toys, I don't want any money ,and I don't want the latest iPad Pro. The only thing I want for Christmas is to see La Flama Blanca be a nice guy again. I have all of his merchandise, the t-shirts, DVDs, and the POP! doll of La Flama Blanca, even the limited edition alternate costume colors. Please make him a good person, because it makes me very sad when he does mean things.
Tommy Ace: Wow, that's pretty sad Santa. So you returned because one child wrote you a letter?
Santa: I did, Thomas. But that wasn't the only letter I've received from folks upset at Blanca. But it will be okay, I'll make this child's Christmas wish come true, regardless of how long it takes me to get there. Even if I have to spend the rest of my life doing it.
Tommy Ace: Speaking of life, you never seem to age. So how old are you actually? And what is your secret? I’m sure all of us on earth would like to know...
Santa: (Laughs) There’s no secret in my longevity. It’s the love of the people and the power of Christmas that keep me going.
Tommy Ace: Thank you Santa for such a wide ranging and honest exchange of thoughts. Good luck in your return match against La Flama Blanca on Wrestleshow.
Santa: Thank you Thomas, and be a little nicer yourself. I know when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!
"The only way Zhalia Fears or The Second Coming are getting into a ring in Japan would be carrying signs that say “Round One”."
- Alex Beckman