Santa Claus recently made a stop at the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada to catch up on hearing a few "wish lists" from children.
His snow-white hair and beard frame a round face with bespectacled, twinkling blue eyes.
Excited about his upcoming travels, Santa shared a few stories about his Christmas adventures, like when it comes to delivering the toys, Santa has lots of help.
"I deliver them so quickly because it's magic," he said. "I work from north to south, then east to west.
"And I am sorry, but sometimes I miss a couple of children. I try my best, but sometimes it happens. I know they're on the good list.
"And God helps me. I couldn't do it without His help. He created me.
"I've been blessed to know if a child's been naughty or nice, I can tell how they did on a math test and how well their grades are. It's my intuition - it just happens."
Santa said toy requests change from year to year, and it helps to be specific with what you want.
"The more you let me know, the easier it is for me to find."
Helping Santa on Christmas Eve are elves Jingles and Elmer.
"Elmer is not the best in navigation," Santa said, crossing his arms. "I have to trust Rudolph's nose.
"I think the reason Rudolph's nose is so bright is because he has an allergy to cherries. He eats a pie the day before, and it just swells up and shines very brightly.
"Elmer is the distributor. He brings the list and helps distribute the toys. Jingles gets me where I need to be."
Santa said one night, about 15 years ago, he was feeding the
reindeer when Vixen bit and tore his pants.
"I had to have Mrs. Claus fix them. Mrs. Claus does great work.
"You know, not many people know Mrs. Claus' first name - it's "Goody Two Shoes."
Santa has been slightly burned while climbing down chimneys to deliver toys. A house in Lancashire, England, had two chimneys. Santa saw one had smoke coming from it; the other did not. But just before he reached the bottom of the second one, the fire was lit, and he flew back up the chimney as fast as the smoke.
"I singed my boots, but that was it. The elves took care of them when I got home to the North Pole."
Speaking of the North Pole, Santa said there are plenty of polar bears, but no penguins or seals. Penguins live only and seals mostly at the South Pole.
"Please, kids, do not leave apples for the reindeer. They do bad things to them, and I have to ride behind them - if you know what I mean.
"And cookies and milk are OK for Santa. Chocolate chip cookies are still my favorite. If there are any scraps left, Jingles and Elmer get them. Sometimes they beat me to the plate," he said with a chuckle.
Santa encourages children to have their Christmas list ready in early December. If they forget, they can leave it with Mom or Dad to get it to him. Children can visit his Web site at www.santaandmrsc.com and send their lists via e-mail.
"It sure beats putting them all in shoeboxes," he said.
"I still get requests for ponies, but Prancer and Vixen get jealous when they see them. Kids should ask their parents first. And if they ask for a puppy or kitten, they should tell me what breed, long or short hair, will it live indoors or outside - be specific, don't take a chance of being disappointed."
Santa said he has held newborn babies and listened to a 105-year-old.
"I especially love the teenagers," Santa said. "There's nothing wrong with believing."
As he left the Children's Museum and drove out of sight, he said, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.