Bottom Line // November-December 2023
By Epiphany Communications: Coaching & Consulting*
MIRA President & CEO Bill Wild caught up with the CEO of the North Pole Inc. DBA Toy Town at the MIRA 24th Annual Holiday Food & Beverage Buying Show. Wild took the opportunity to ask Santa Claus some questions that had been on his mind for a long time.
What was the best Holiday Present you ever received?
Mrs. Claus and I haven’t really exchanged Christmas gifts for a few years. We’ve pretty much agreed that we each have nearly everything we need. We get a lot of pleasure from giving to others. As far as favorite gifts go; many years ago, she and the elves had a beautiful Santa Claus ring designed for me. That was a cool and heartfelt gift.
What is your favorite part of Christmas?
The days leading up to Christmas are great. I love to see the spirit of Christmas on the faces of those around me. It’s a special time of the year.
What is the best last-minute Christmas item you’ve picked up at a grocery or convenience store?
My last-minute grocery store pick-ups are almost always cookies. I can eat most of a “family size” package of Double-Stuffed Golden Oreo’s on my ride home from the grocery store. Mrs. Claus likes to “limit my cookie intake” in the months leading up to Christmas. She has told me, on more than one occasion to “Go ahead Santa, eat as many cookies as you want, but if you do, there won’t be enough magic in the world to allow you to make yourself small enough to squeeze down any chimneys on Christmas Eve!”
What is your favorite drink to toast in the New Year?
I’m Santa Claus! I always toast with an ice-cold glass of milk and a handful of Christmas cookies.
What is your favorite holiday story?
That’s a no-brainer. I love reading aloud, to anyone who’ll listen, “The Night Before Christmas.”
What is your favorite Christmas song?
I enjoy most Christmas music. I listen to it a lot even in the months leading up to Christmas. I like all the classics from Silent Night to The Little Drummer Boy. I also enjoy some of the toe-tappers like Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. My two personal favorite Christmas songs are probably Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
What do you do on Christmas Day, your official day off?
Mrs. Claus and I spend Christmas Day visiting with family and enjoying a little quiet time by ourselves.
In most businesses, the boss receives “mixed reviews” good and bad from their employees. How do I know if I ended up on your Naughty or Nice list?
I get that question all the time. My general response is this: “The Nice List is very long and filled with millions of names. I can’t possibly remember everyone who is on it. The Naughty List, however, is usually very short. So, if you ask, and I can remember your name, chances are you’re not on the Nice List.
What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?
I love all Christmas cookies from peanut butter blossoms to snicker-doodles. I think that the cookie I love most waiting for me when I am dropping off presents on Christmas Eve is a nice sugar cookie with icing and sprinkles on top. I can eat a load of those through the night and never fill up.
As a CEO I am often asked very pointed questions by others, who think that they already know the answer, just to see me squirm. Have you ever experienced situations like that?
I make many visits around the world before Christmas. One of the first questions I get is “Where is your sleigh and reindeer? Are they on the roof? Are they in the street?” My response is always the same. “They are still at the North Pole. They only fly one time a year; on Christmas Eve.” That’s when I get the zinger. Well then how did you get here Santa? I tell them that many good little boys and girls keep in contact with me over the years even when they get to be adults and have children of their own. Very often, as adults, they will contact me to let me know that they will have a car or truck for me to use on my visits if I need one when I am in their area around Christmas time.
Have you had to deal much with jealousy or claims of favoritism within the ranks of members of your staff?
Rudolph took some heat from some of the other reindeer when he first sprang onto the scene. He was not one of my original eight tiny reindeer. He earned his chops on one blizzardy almost impassable Christmas Eve. The light from that shining red nose of his cut through the storm like a hot knife through butter. He became an overnight sensation. Outside of Rudolph, only Prancer achieved a bit of individual fame and recognition. Rudolph gives all the credit to the other reindeer and has never let all the notoriety go to his head, but things have never been quite the same. He doesn’t even have to pull the sleigh. He just leads the way!
My favorite Christmas movie is Christmas Vacation, what is yours?
My hands down favorite Christmas movie is the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, and Edmund Gwenn as Santa Claus.
In business, regardless of the planning, there always seems to be a frantic scramble to close out a major deadline. What do your final preparations look like getting ready for lift-off on Christmas Eve?
As with most businesses, at the North Pole, the days leading up to Christmas could be described as controlled chaos. The reason for the great success we achieve every season revolves around everyone knowing their job and working hard to ensure success knowing how many are counting on them to make it happen.
As a CEO, I am extremely busy and away from home a lot of the time. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t try to involve my wife in more of the business. Have you ever had the opportunity to include Mrs. Claus in a major holiday event?
I’m convinced that making Christmas such a great success every year would be impossible without the help of Mrs. Claus. However, many, many years ago Mrs. Claus dropped a few subtle hints that she was hoping for a more active role in the process. So, believe it or not, for a couple of seasons she made the sleigh trip with me delivering toys on Christmas Eve. We’d get on the sleigh and off we’d go. It didn’t work out very well though. She really didn’t like it. It came down to, “We’re going too fast Santa!”, or “I’m freezing out here!”, or “I think you missed a turn!”. She wasn’t happy with the flying, so after a couple of seasons she decided to stay back and supervise the elves while I was gone and wait for my return.
*Writers with Epiphany Communications: Coaching & Consulting are content creators for Bottom Line.