| Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Pantomime season in Dubai

Dora the Explorer, The Wizard of Oz and Santa himself up on stage

On average, how many mince pies do you eat on Christmas Eve, and how do you keep yourself in shape?
Hmmm. Tricky... On average how many mince pies do I eat on Christmas Eve? Lots and lots. I’m not sure if I can count high enough. I try to eat all the pies that are left out for me because Mrs Claus only allows me to eat them once a year. Whatever I cannot seem to eat, I share with the reindeer.

As for keeping in shape… I’m busy most of the year with preparing for Christmas and the elves are always keeping me on my toes. I also like to help take care of my wonderful reindeer, which is a lot of work, especially when they try to fly off; you have to be strong to get them back on the ground

How naughty do you have to be on a scale of one to ten (for example: one being calling your sister names and ten setting off stinkbombs in class), for Santa not to come?
I would say an eight or nine is a little too naughty, and I like to believe those boys and girls will be extra good to make up for it. But I do believe in forgiving, so I will come to the houses of children who are naughty if they are truly sorry for what they do.

How do you keep up with the latest ‘it’ toy demands and trends?
Well we do have a television at the North Pole and the advertisements are indeed a big help, but the main way I keep up with the latest and greatest toys is from all the millions of letters I get every year. You can always tell what the most popular toy of the season will be because it is the one that is most mentioned in the letters. I do have to admit, I have so much fun testing out the newest ‘it’ toys…

What’s your view on modern toys (PlayStations, Robo dogs and iPads etc) versus traditional wooden toys and games?
I’m a very old-fashioned man. I love the traditional toys that make children use their imagination, but the technology that is involved with all the new gadgets is quite interesting. I just purchased an iPad myself; the elves are having to teach me how to use it.

When you’re not being Santa Claus, what’s your favourite everyday hobby?
Mrs Claus and I love to take a holiday after the Christmas season. We like to see different parts of the world and experience different cultures.

Finish this sentence: ‘Being Santa Claus is brilliant because…’
I get to make billions of children happy every year. Children young and old love Christmas, seeing all their smiling faces makes my job worth all of that hard work.

You spend a lot of time in shopping malls at this time of year. What’s your favourite mall in Dubai?
All the malls are great and I love meeting all the wonderful boys and girls each year in my grottos. I know Mrs Claus loves to shop at the Mall of the Emirates while I’m working in the grotto so I would have to say it is one of my favourite malls because Mrs Claus comes along with me!

Festive movies are a big part of Christmas. What’s your favourite flick?
Oh, I love all the Christmas movies out there. If I had to choose my favourite, I would say Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town is my favourite. However, why didn’t they ask me to star in it?

You’ve got a new show on at the Centrepoint Theatre. Tell us about that
Yes I do, it’s called Santa Claus and The Christmas Adventure. Children young and old will love this show. Without giving too much away, it is about one year on Christmas Eve, when chaos strikes and everything that could have gone wrong does go wrong. With the help of my Elves, Charlie and Kara, Muffin the Bear and the Santa-Nav controller, we are able to save Christmas. It is such an exciting show full of adventure, Christmas songs, Christmas cheer and, of course, a little Santa magic!

Dubai houses don’t tend to have chimneys – how do you get in?
I like to keep a few things secret so I can always surprise the kids I am visiting. All I can say to this question is that I use a little magic but I always find a way! Come and see me at the theatre to see some of my very special magic for yourself!
If you’d like to see Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure on stage, book your tickets now. Dhs 85-135, morning and matinee performances. December 6-9. Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.ductac.org (04 341 4777).

Time Out Dubai,

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