HK Magazine: Are you the real Santa? Santa Jim: Of course I’m the real Santa. It’s a wonderful job. Did you think I was someone playing Santa? That’s outrageous. I’m here in Hong Kong this year to bring the spirit and meaning of Christmas here. I love making people smile and making them happy. How do I do that? Surprisingly, just by showing up. HK: What are you up to this Christmas? SJ: We get a lot of letters from children, asking for gifts. My team of robots at Pacific Place go through each letter, and we try to decide what presents we need to prepare. Then comes the packaging and sorting. After everything is packed, we load it all onto the sleigh for the robot reindeers. HK: Robot reindeers! That’s new. SJ: It’s a new concept. They eat less, and so they’re a lot easier to maintain. Ho ho ho ho! HK: Do you still go down chimneys? SJ: There aren’t as many chimneys as in the past. Not only are chimneys different, I’ve also gotten a lot bigger. Now I have to go through security. Ho ho ho ho ho! HK: Are there a lot of Hong Kong children on your naughty list? SJ: They’re very nice and respectful. Besides, you will have to be pretty bad to be on the naughty list. I’m more inclined to put some of the parents on the list. We have a saying at the North Pole: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ho ho ho ho ho… HK: How do kids react to you? SJ: Oh, my goodness! I get everything from hugs to screams. Some are scared, and I understand that. They come in, and they see this big fat man in a beard. I’m sure I would be scared to death. I’ve had some children say that they don’t believe in Santa in other places. I said to them: “Well, I believe in you.” HK: Any funny experiences with kids? SJ: Last year, a little girl came in, and I asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She said “a time machine.” But what would she do with a time machine? She said, “I would go back in time, and clip Einstein’s moustache.” I thought that was very specific and deep for a young child. I don’t know what she’s got against his moustache, but it worried me because I’ve got a moustache as well. HK: So, Santa, do you think we’re doing OK in our Christmas celebrations? SJ: Everywhere I go in the city, I’m greeted with smiles, hugs and all kinds of things. Even before I started working, I walked through the malls to see all the ornaments. Hong Kong people are doing much more than OK. HK: Does Santa ever feel down? SJ: Sometimes Santa hears sad stories, from children who lost a pet, or something like that. A girl came up to me once and said, “I have to whisper in your ear.” She said, “My kitty cat died, and I want her to come back.” I told her I couldn’t do that, and said there were many other kittens out there that need a good home, and maybe she could find one of them and give it all the love she would’ve given to the kitten that passed away. HK: Do you ever get tired? SJ: I don’t realize I’m tired until after Christmas. I find a quiet, secluded place, and I just sit and think about the season that has passed and the season that is coming. But just for a while. Then I go back to checking on everybody to see if they’re naughty or nice. HK: Will you ever retire? SJ: No! Santa is eternal. Christmas never ends. It lasts all through the 365 days. I hope the whole world runs on the same schedule. HK: I always leave out milk and cookies for santa. What’s your favorite flavor? SJ: I love sugar cookies with icing on them, with a cold glass of milk. The thought of it makes me hungry. Hong Kong children can leave a glass of milk and some cookies out for me, and a carrot or two for the reindeers. You can’t go wrong with that. Santa Jim is at Pacific Place from now until Dec 25.