Jolly Bold Elf
Santa Claus talks toy trends, cookies and rising coal prices
It started as a pretend game, dressing up in a red suit for family and friends. Then, about six years ago, Grove City resident Dennis Blanden became the real deal—a right jolly old elf with an authentic snow-white beard, round belly and, since 2011, an official gig at the Ohio governor’s residence. Santa shares some Christmas insight before heading north for the annual holiday crunch time.
My favorite cookie is an oatmeal raisin, but I love chocolate chip. Of course, I’m a sucker for snickerdoodles. In other words, ’most any cookie. Oreos I can take or leave.
There’s been a little bit of a surge on trains and windup toys the past few years. I’ve had, ironically, several girls ask for a model train or electric train, which kind of surprised me. Of course, I’ve also had them ask for BB guns and a hunting permit.
Older children or adults, they’ll ask for a million dollars or a new automobile. Of course, you understand that I’m the sixth-largest manufacturer of automobiles in the entire world. Unfortunately, they either have to be the size of a matchbox or made out of wood.
I haven’t had to really add to my coal stock. We do not heat with coal any longer because it got to be just a little cost-prohibitive due to the requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency and having a clean burn. Most children have been fairly good, year to year.
Everybody falls off the narrow path from time to time. No one’s perfect, and we understand that. When somebody stumbles or they have a little problem or they’ve done something naughty—and they realize that—we’re more than happy to be able to overlook some of the things and keep them on the good list.
I’m a regular guy. Mrs. Claus and I like to take a vacation after Christmas. You know, it’s not unusual to find me down on the beach basking in the sun and enjoying myself. We get around to all kinds of different areas. Florida. Myrtle Beach. We don’t mind a little time in Hawaii.