An Interview with Santa Claus
Santa (a.k.a. Hal Reitmeier) Says!
Santa (or Hal Reitmeier) is a professional Santa Claus living in Central Oregon (when not at the North Pole). As Santa Claus, he does a variety of special events during the holiday season but enjoys home visits the most. Santa has been married for 43 years and has three children and four grandchildren. When not at the North Pole, he enjoys camping, hiking, long arm quilting and playing cards. Santa always has a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
What is the single best thing you have learned from being with children?
I have learned to revel in the excitement and joy of anticipation. I loved that as a parent when my kids were young, and I love it now as a father, grandfather, and Santa Claus. I love to see the joy in the eyes of children as they anticipate the Christmas season.
What did you learn from your parents about children?
Honestly, from my own parents I learned that children are better seen than heard. But I don’t subscribe to that notion at all. Children are incredibly clever, earnest, and honest. At a certain age, children use the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap to determine if Santa Claus is really the man he says he is. I once had a little girl sit on my lap and say, “If you’re really Santa, what’s the name of my cousin?” These types of questions are so great because this is really what we want children to do in order to learn about the world around them – ask bold questions and gather information from multiple sources. Fortunately for me, this little girl’s mother was listening in on our conversation and all I had to do was look up at her mouthing the name of the cousin. You should have seen the look on this little girl’s face when I told her the name of her cousin. The magic lasted a little longer for her on that day.
What Superhero power do you wish you had?
I wish I had the power to right all wrongs, for my own kids and for the kids I know as Santa. I wish I had the power to bring true comfort and joy to everyone – not just the temporary comfort and joy that comes from gifts under the tree. Santa is a superhero when it comes to making and delivering toys, but falls totally short in answering serious requests.
How are kids today different than when you were a kid?
I do not believe children have changed. Toy requests have changed, certainly. But the basic needs of children are the same. They desire love, care, and forgiveness.
What can parents do to help you as Santa?
Please wash the stockings before hanging them on the fireplace. Nothing is worse than sticking my hand in a dirty sock. Also, regarding the placement of the Santa treats, please put them in a location where your pets do not get to them first.
The golden rule in parenting and in being Santa is . . .?
… always talk to children at eye-level. As I have aged, it has become harder to kneel down and talk to them at eye level. But I still do it. Meeting them at their level conveys to children that I care about them and that I take them seriously.
Santa wants to wish you an exciting and safe holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas. If you
want to reach him you can write the North Pole or visit here: