Santa gears up for Christmas eve in the Hastings

’TWAS a few nights before Christmas and all through the Hastings, boys and girls were bubbling in anticipation a fat man in a red suit would squish down their chimneys.

Santa is in the Hastings at the moment to find out what 

children want stuffed in their stockings.

iPads are very popular requests this year, Santa told the Port News. Xboxes, Lego, Spider-Man  outfits, Barbie dolls and even reindeer are some items on wish lists of Port Macquarie kids.

Babies from four days old right up to grandparents have lined up to have their photo taken with the jolly man.

“Seeing all the boys and girls happy is my favourite thing about Christmas,” Santa says.

Santa has 10 elves at any one time busily building and  sourcing toys at his workshop in the North Pole.

“They do a lot of ordering online to get the latest gadgets,” Santa says. “They’re very adaptable and flexible.”

Santa would be lost without Mrs Claus: “She is a big help to me."

Mrs Claus takes care of the elves and lends a hand to her husband to get ready for Christmas Eve.

Santa’s reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course, Rudolph – have been resting up before their most tiring day of the year.

Rudolph is Santa’s favourite reindeer – but don’t tell the  others.

“Some children say he’s the naughty one, but I don’t know where they’re getting that from,” Santa ponders.

To make it on the nice list this year, Santa says boys and girls need to obey parents, be nice to siblings, share, finish homework and be polite.

Rudeness, fighting and  disobeying mum and dad will certainly put children on the naughty list, meaning a stocking full of coal is all they can expect this Christmas.

Santa has many millions of homes to visit on Monday night, so he always appreciates a cool drink and a snack.

Milk, choc-chip cookies and the occasional beer are Santa’s favourites. Carrots and some water for the reindeer also are welcome.

Summer in Australia can mean Santa gets pretty hot in his heavy suit.

He has a little magic fan with wind transported all the way from the North Pole installed in his sleigh, which he switches on while visiting Australia.

“It’s all to do with the magic of Christmas,” Santa explains.

Santa originally was known as Saint Nicholas, and lived in south-western Turkey in the fourth Century. 

As the Bishop of Myra, he was credited with performing a number of miracles involving sailors and children. 

After his death, he became a saint and was given his own “feast day”, which was  celebrated on December 6.

Meanwhile, Pope Julius I established a date for the  celebration of the birth of Jesus, assigning the holiday to December 25. 

Eventually, Saint Nicholas’s feast day also became associated with December 25. 

A tradition developed that he would visit homes on Christmas Eve and children would place nuts, apples, sweets and other items around the house to welcome him.

American poem A Visit from St Nicholas, written by Clement Moore in 1822, cemented the idea of Santa in the Western world.

Moore depicts the Saint as a tiny man with a sleigh drawn by eight miniature reindeer. They fly him from house to house and, at each residence, he comes down the chimney to fill stockings hung by the fireplace with gifts.

Moore had written the poem for his family, but in 1823 it was published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel. It became popular and has been reprinted countless times under the more familiar title, The Night Before Christmas.

* For more information, visit www.unmuseum.org/santa.htm

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