Things to Do

“Pure Magic, Baby:” Mall Santas Tell All

Did you ever wonder how Santa really delivers all of those presents in one night? Yeah, we did too. We decided to go straight to the source—four of them, in fact. We asked these mall Santas to answer a few Christmasy questions for us. So which of them is

The Shops at Georgetown Park
At this Georgetown mall, Santa is a musician—he plays a mean “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on the recorder. His North Pole is small, but he has everything he needs: a red velvet throne, a few bags of gifts, and a mini-forest of snow-covered Christmas trees.

Name: Santa Claus.
Favorite reindeer? “Well, you know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen—but of course, do you recall Rudolph? In the story it says ‘all of the other reindeer.’ You see, that’s probably my favorite. Olive, the other reindeer.”
Favorite cookie? “Well, my favorite cookie really is the one that’s left for me. Oh, my goodness—well, look at me.” He pats his belly. “Gingerbread is good, oatmeal raisin is wonderful, peanut butter, chocolate chip, chocolate chip macadamia nut, all different kinds—yes!”
Favorite gift for a boy? “Boys are quite fantastic because most of them really want books. Picture books. Young girls like picture books, too.”
Favorite gift for a girl? “Well, the most fabulous gifts they’re asking for this year seems like American Girl dolls. That’s the number one on my list.”
Favorite Christmas movie?It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. Oh, I love that part when he remembers his daughter and he goes to her and then he has this tear in his eye about the absolute wonder of the Christmas season.”
What do you want for Christmas? “I want every young boy and girl to be able to immerse themselves in the fantasy of Christmas.”
How do you deliver all those presents in one night? “Oh, my goodness—well, it’s magic, of course. Of course! I can see it in your eyes as you wrinkle your nose. It’s the magic, the wonder of it all! And also a very fast sleigh. We’re going green next year, you know. Hybrid.”

Mazza Gallerie
This Chevy Chase Santa has a special mission. With the help of Deaf-REACH, a DC-based nonprofit, “Signing Santa” has been flying in from the North Pole for more than 20 years to reach out to deaf children in the area. This year, he sits on a gilded throne near the mall’s Christmas tree, and he’ll be posing for photos with holiday shoppers every weekend through Christmas Eve. Proceeds from photo sales benefit Deaf-REACH.

Name: Santa Claus.
Favorite reindeer? “Rudolph. His job is the most important: He leads me where I need to go.”
Favorite cookie? “Chocolate chip. I love chocolate. Need I say more?”
Favorite gift for a boy? “A red truck. A boy’s got to have a truck to play with.”
Favorite gift for a girl? “Barbie. It’s the most requested. Girls just love them!”
Favorite Christmas movie?The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. I love his humorous approach. People don’t realize that I’m a funny guy. Santa has a sense of humor, too!”
What do you want for Christmas? “That’s easy: peace on Earth.”
How do you deliver all those presents in one night? “It’s a secret, but I can say my reindeer are faster than they look. I can’t give away too much.”

Tysons Corner Center
The North Pole at Tysons has all the trimmings: glittery snow, sparkling arches, and strings of white lights. Santa’s blue velvet chair is big enough for two—or maybe just for him after he fills up on cookies.

Name: Santa Claus.
Favorite reindeer? “It’s Rudolph, of course! He got me through the fog. And he’s been very good. He’s keeping his nose nice and bright for me.”
Favorite cookie? “Ooh, I love coconut cookies. It makes me think of snow. And also, different parts of the world. You go to the tropics, what do you have? Coconut.”
Favorite gift for a boy? “Transformers. Very, very popular. And Webkinz. Those items are very hot.”
Favorite gift for girl? “A doll of any kind. American Girl dolls are a big hit.”
Favorite Christmas movie?Miracle on 34th Street. The old one. I like the classic.”
What do you want for Christmas? “My favorite thing would be for everybody to be happy.”
How do you deliver all those presents in one night? “We have a little thing called magic. Nod of my head, touch of my nose, we get the toys there.”

Chevy Chase Pavilion
Santa and his helper sit tucked away in a cozy corner of the mall’s center court. His overstuffed chair is flanked by boxes of wrapped gifts, and he sits next to a warm fireplace decorated with his own holiday stocking.

Name: Santa Claus.
Favorite reindeer? “I’d have to say Rudolph. He’s my headlamp, and I need good light to deliver all those presents.”
Favorite cookie? “Macadamia nut. People don’t know this about me, but I just love nuts. Most kids leave out chocolate chip or sugar cookies, but what I really want is a nice macadamia-nut cookie. Yum!”
Favorite gift for a boy? “Nintendo. It’s great for hand-eye coordination.”
Favorite gift for a girl? “Well, I’d have to say Nintendo again. Maybe Nintendo DS. Girls like video games, too!”
Favorite Christmas movie? Miracle on 34th Street. That Santa is the best portrayal of me. He’s an honest, down-to-earth guy who knows how to give advice and make dreams come true.”
What do you want for Christmas? “A Mac laptop. It would really help organize the North Pole and keep it running smoothly during the busy holidays. It would also help me keep my naughty and nice lists straight!”
How do you deliver all those presents in one night? “Pure magic, baby. Pure magic.”