Well, its official. Ive scored the biggest celebrity interview of the year with the REAL Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa Claus!
This didnt just happen. I caught glimpses of them around our downtown Lewes office throughout the month of December and pursued them relentlessly. I was super-excited even though I had to balance that excitement with a couple of sightings of other people pretending to be Santa (one at a store that will go unnamed on Route 1 and one on a bike who was about 200 pounds underweight). I wont name names or locations but rest assured I was NOT fooled by the fakes, even though its nice to see Mrs. Claus being a little more chill about all of that, as youll read below.
Once I secured the interview one of my associates for the blog was able to pose the following questions of Mrs. Claus while her mister attended to a labor dispute among the more fractious group of reindeer (Blitzen, the Lead Negotiator for the flying caribou, made some excellent points, according to press accounts).
As a Lewes insider I also know that during the non-Christmas months Santa and Mrs. Claus impersonate regular people as Debra and Paul Evalds, and that this year they once again managed the Lewes Lights Celebration, leweslights.org, which brightens up the whole town. I was glad to ask Mrs. Claus about that as well.
Heres what Mrs. Claus had to tell us.
Tell me about your various public appearances this holiday season . . . places where you've met kids and gotten their gift wish lists, etc. Or public appearances as goodwill ambassadors for Christmas or whatever.
Santa and I go where were needed to spread joy, always unpaid. We love to help local charities, organizations, small businesses, and sometimes families who just need to see Santa. We have a longstanding commitment at Lewes Yacht Club and visit with many local families there. We did a pop-up event to support a small business, Hauden, last week at Half Full in Lewes, did surprise visits to local restaurants and businesses, and spent this last weekend down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to raise funds for a small museum. Im sure this last week will be a busy one with last-minute requests.
Tell me about a favorite moment or two - moments that show just how much people love the holidays.
This is such a hard question! Magical moments occur every time you go out in full Santa attire! People call out your name and stop their cars. Often adults are as excited as children. We have had some touching moments over the years and some leave a lasting mark on you. Last year we were stopped by a man who had just lost his father and he needed a hug. Santa knows who needs some extra love and carries special treats for those special people. Sometimes the most magical moments happen when Santa is dressed down to blend in. That's when some children notice and believe the most. The most special moment is the love and light in the faces of those who are so happy to see Santa.
I know there are quite a few "fake" Santas around. How did you feel when you saw these people playing dress up?
The world population is huge. Santa can't be everywhere, so that is ok. There is a code of conduct for Santas, and we just hope everyone follows it. Kindness and giving freely of yourself are the most important rules for being Santa, but having a real beard and some natural padding helps with authenticity. Any "Santa" who is spreading joy is on the nice list.
I know that you have alter egos as Debra and Paul Evalds, two people who pretend to live in a regular neighborhood, and that you have to spend a lot of time as those people to get other stuff done. One of the most important things you've done - albeit in collaboration with others - has been the creation of the Lewes Lights event. Can you just describe how the idea came about and what people will experience with it this year?
Lewes Lights started during COVID in the Fall of 2020 when our co-chair approached us with the idea of doing a Christmas light competition and tour in the City of Lewes. All Christmas events were cancelled that year and Lewes Lights was embraced with so much love by the local community. It's a grassroots effort, organized by a few volunteers, so that part is a challenge because we don't advertise like commercial events do.
Our hope was that Lewes Lights would get more people to decorate and illuminate their homes and businesses, and that this would grow every year. We also hoped that people would come into town to see the lights and support local businesses by shopping and dining in town.
Lewes has more lights this year than we have ever seen, so we think it is catching on! Some properties are registered on the Lewes Lights map at http://www.LewesLights.org , but many aren't. All add to the beautiful experience that is Lewes at Christmas. We look forward to the sharing of light being a tradition in Lewes for years to come.
As Debra and Pal Evalds, have you done anything else to make Christmas especially festive this year?
We observe many traditions ourselves during the Advent season, but mostly, we try to make giving to others our focus this time of year. That truly is the best gift and the greatest joy of Christmas.