Those awkward questions
We get asked a lot of questions, and sometimes the answers don’t come easily. Here are some of my favourites, and some of those that I’m less keen to hear …
Why can’t I see Santa?
This comes up a lot, though it’s usually the elf who is working with Santa who gets asked this, so I’ve only had to deal with disappointed children or parents a handful of times.
The real answer: Your parents didn’t book you a ticket to see Santa, tough luck, kid.
My answer: Oh, I’m afraid Santa is very, very busy today, so much to do this close to Christmas. If you don’t have a golden ticket, you might have to wait to see him on Christmas Eve, because I know he’s coming to your house then, and why don’t you have a little word with Mrs. Claus, she’ll pass on any messages, look, have you seen Mrs. Santa’s house? Isn’t it pretty …
Where are the reindeer?
The real answer: We don’t have any. Not any real ones, anyway, but we do have several stuffed reindeer in Santa’s grotto. However I’ve no way of knowing whether they’re going to see Santa or not, so I have to guess …
My answer: They’re getting ready for Christmas Eve, they’re with Santa’s sleigh. Why don’t you take some reindeer food to give them on Christmas Eve … just sprinkle it on your lawn, and you’ll be all ready for when they come!
But I’ve just seen the reindeer, and his sleigh, they’re in the grotto!
Okay, kid, you win this battle of wits.
Do you remember me from last year?
The real answer: No. It was a different actor in this dress last year, so you quite clearly don’t remember me either!
My answer: Of course I do! How are you! How nice of you to come back and see us again.
You don’t look the same as you did in the film. Why not? [Mother Ginger is a character in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – you knew that, didn’t you?]
The real answer: Because I’m not quite as glamorous as Helen Mirren, darling.
My answer: Because I was far too busy making gingerbread to have time to be in the film. They had to ask somebody to pretend to be me. I think she did a pretty good job, don’t you?
Are you a witch?
The real answer: I’m sorry, what? Do I look like a witch?
My answer: I’m not a witch, goodness me, no! I’m Mother Ginger, and this is my gingerbread house … oh, I see! No, that was in Hansel and Gretel; I’m not a witch.
Then why do you have a gingerbread cottage?
The real answer: Stop asking me difficult questions!
My answer: Oh, that was my sister, the bad witch. She had her own gingerbread cottage, this one is mine. I’m a good witch – you know, like in The Wizard of Oz?
Then where is your sister now?
The real answer: Please, please, just stop asking me questions!
My answer: She’s dead. Hansel and Gretel pushed her in the oven and she burnt to death. Macabre? Don’t blame me, it’s in the fairy tale, and you asked!
And finally, one question where I got a very unexpected answer from one young child.
My question: What are you leaving out for Santa to eat on Christmas Eve?
The answer I expected: A mince pie, or possibly cookies and milk.
The answer I got: Shells.
Me: I’m sorry, what did you say? Was that, ‘a mince pie?’
Child: Shells. I’m leaving shells for Santa.
Me: Oh, shells. Of course! How … lovely …
Parent: (patiently) Santa gave him a present with shells in, so he’s giving them back to Santa.
Me: Oh, of course. Shells for Santa. Obviously. Well, perhaps you could leave him a mince pie as well!