Why the name “Elf Without Jingles”?
The name, basically, is largely self-parody. If you grew up in the 1950’s, there was a great weekly Western TV show called Have Gun, Will Travel, in which Richard Boone starred as Paladin. Mr. Boone wrote and sang the show’s theme song, which contains the line “A knight without armor in a savage land.” Taking my cue from “Weird” Al Yankovic, I simply wrote my own version, implying that I was “an elf without jingles in a savage land,” that savage land being New York City. The rest, as they say, is history!
Why don’t you have jingles?
Well, look at it this way: It’s pretty hard to buy your own set of jingles, the kind that you usually have on your arm and you can shake it around while you’re waving it at people. Sometimes it’s expensive, other times, it’s not. But, let’s just boil it down to personal preference.
Do you like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen?
I’m Santa Claus, you sillies! Couldn’t get along without my faithful reindeer! They’re as much a part of my Legend as the very magic of Christmas itself! Ho-ho-ho!
Your spectacles, or eyeglasses, are rather unusual. Can you tell us a little more about them?
Oh, most certainly! During my many adventures, there have been one or two, Santas and parents alike, who have wondered why I wear my personally-crafted glasses, as opposed to the horn-rimmed or traditional pair of eyeglasses. Well, being mostly nearsighted, I prefer having bifocals around when I’m doing my work; and these particular glasses were developed by combining two pairs of eyeglasses, and then just tying them up with a small elastic band. The result has been fascinating to some, controversial to others. Nevertheless, I enjoy using them if I need to. They always come in handy if I have to view the sights of my City from a distance, because that’s what these particular eyeglasses were made for: distance. In the end, as always, it is never how you dress that counts. It’s always what’s in the heart — the thrill of performing as Santa Claus — that finally matters.
What else can you tell folks about your “KringleQuest battlegear”?
Mostly, the full suit is a combination of three Santa suit tops, each of which were made by the fabulous Rubie’s Costume Company; I wear them with a bigger, larger, one-size-fits-all extra-large suit from Halco. Add a few minor accessories — belt, bells round me neck, gloves — and your humble Elf Without Jingles is ready for action, as it were. Ho-ho-ho!
Do you like Coca-Cola?
Haddon Sundblom’s classic portraits of me are American icons, my dears! Even to this day, I find it ironic that Mr. Sundblom was never a real fan of Coca-Cola — but I love Coke so much that each Christmas season, The Coca-Cola Company sets up an entire nook, just for me, in their World of Coca-Cola Pavilion at Coca-Cola World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. I hope you’ll visit it one of these days!
What’s it like flying over Manhattan on Christmas Eve?
Oh, it’s thrilling, being able to soar high over the air — and then, when the reindeer and I have our first sight of Manhattan airspace: believe me, you couldn’t ask for a more fabulous view! “Merry Christmas, pretty Lady,” I usually shout out, as we pass by the famous Statue. Oh, she may be green, but she sure does enlighten the world, just as her creators wanted her to. And you really should see that new One World Trade Center, all lit up and magical for the holidays! Ho-ho-ho! New York at Christmastime is just so durned magical!
What should I know about your services?
I’m available 24/7/365, needless to say. No adventure is too big, no venue is too big. What matters, ultimately, is that the kids enjoy a Santa experience that can benefit everybody, and be totally positive! All that is asked of you in return is that you enjoy yourselves, and let me have as much fun with everybody as I hope to have with you! (‘Nuff said.)
What makes the season so magical in New York?
New York is a truly magnificent City during the holidays. Why, there’s so much to do that it’s very much impossible to take in the sights and sounds of the winter magic of the Big Apple all in one day. So I would suggest that if you should ever find your way here, or plan your next vacation, start out by exploring things slowly, and never, never overdo it. As I’ve come to realize myself through the years, you are only at your best when you decide to take things slowly. But remember this, too: A New York Christmas is only as magical as the way you choose to make the magic happen. Yeah, it is a bit cryptic on my part, that I’ll grant you, but the point is simply this: Choose your Christmas adventures wisely!
Do you like cookies?
Oh, of course! Chocolate chip, especially! Chocolate chip cookies are everyone’s favorite treat at the North Pole! And it’s not just cookies I enjoy; during the mid- to late 1980’s, one of my more favorite cookie treats was Mrs. Fields’ Cookies’ Peanut Butter Dreambar!
Tell us about your favorite beverages, please.
Well, of course, you can’t go wrong with good ol’ Coca-Cola Classic (which is fairly saying something, given that I happen to be an old soldier of the Cola Wars of the mid-1970s); and Pepsi‘s a bit nice, too — but, my occasional preferences tend to be hot chocolate; or, failing that, Gatorade Cool Blue Thirst Quencher!
What else do you like to read when you’re not making toys?
Ah! Making toys is a pretty tough profession, even for a Jolly Old Elf like me; but I do like reading books about the season. One of my favorite books was self-published a few years ago. Written by Dr. Arthur Hoffman, this story was called The Blue King, and followed the adventures of two young kids from Rochester, Michigan — Kimberly and Stephen and their dog, Teddy Blue Bear, and the magical odyssey they shared in the fabulous Blue Kingdom, ruled by my ‘cousin,’ the Blue King of the story’s title. Sadly, the website that accompanied the story no longer exists. The book itself is difficult to find unless you go to Amazon.com or simply look the tale up on Google.
Are you REALLY big for a Santa Claus?
Well, I’m 6’1″; 145 lbs.; brown eyes; receding black hair, and we can pretty much leave it at that! Ho-ho-ho!
What do you do during the off-season, when you’re not planning for the holidays?
Remember, if you’re a performing Santa, these days, you have to really look behind the scenes in order to make the scene. That’s why I read a lot of The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Backstage. Trust me, these three publications, along with Call Sheet Magazine (formerly Ross Reports), have some of the finest information available if you wanna land a really awesome Santa gig!
As for what I do in my spare time, I draw, I design logos, I plan ideas for old and new children’s book projects that I’m working on, and, given that New York is the world capital of people-watching, I people-watch, try to tell stories of all my travels in the Big Apple — and essentially promote this very website! Ho-ho-ho!
What can I look forward to when it’s Christmas in New York City?
Well, we’ve just recently opened up Westfield World Trade Center Oculus, the most fantastic mall I’ve seen in years! Tony Award-winning producer Scott Sanders is working with his team right now on what, if things go according to plan, will be a spectacular Grand Entrance for Santa Claus when he makes his Westfield World Trade Center debut. Now, I can’t say more about it until the press releases become official, but I promise you, when the news breaks, count on this old Elf Without Jingles to share it with you all first thing!
Have you asked for anything for Christmas?
Oh, through the centuries, I’ve been asked for lots of things! Besides the action figures and the Barbie dolls, I’ve had the occasional requests for Peace on Earth, Good Toward All (note that I said all, as opposed to men; the world is changing, after all, you know!). But if there’s one one thing I myself would ask for for this holiday season, it’s that we all learn to love each other and be friends!