Arlington resident Gerald Miller is best known as Santa Claus every year, when he sets up shop at Lincoln Square. Here, he answers one of the questions he is most-often asked: “Santa, what’s the North Pole really like”?
Well now I’ll tell you, if you have one of these World Globes at your house, you’ll notice right here, on top there’s a big white space up on the top. Well now, that’s because up at the North Pole where the Elves, Mrs. Claus and I live it’s cold and snowy all the time. Why, when I left home just this morning, the wind was blowin’ real hard, n’ the snow was blowing something fierce; and cold? My goodness, it was about -34 degrees below zero. Now that’s even colder than your Mom’s freezer. According to the Snow Gauge (that’s actually the pole up at the North Pole) the snow was 39 feet deep!
Now then, if you’ve ever seen the movie “Polar Express,” you already know about North Pole City and about the 50,000 or so Elves who live there. But my TOY SHOP isn’t located there. Nope, it’s actually four miles directly north of the city. You see, when Admiral Byrd discovered the North Pole, it was on a day when there was a terrible blizzard, and it was difficult for anyone to see. He missed the exact North Pole. Now, had it been a better day he would have seen where Mrs. Claus, the Elves and I work.
Way back when my Great Great, Great, Great Grandfather (Santa Claus # 9) was alive, he and the Elves dug tunnels under that deep snow that connected the house with the Toy Shop and Barn where the reindeer live. Since then more buildings have been added – and snow tunnels to connect them. Why, a few years ago we even added a Dormitory for the Elves to live up near the Toy Shop and put a tunnel there, too. Now all 386 Elves who work with me making toys each year live up there and don’t have to walk or ride snow mobiles to get to work every day.
Back to North Pole City, which was your question, right? Okay now, lets see. No one but the Elves live at North Pole City. The houses where the Elves all live are pretty small by your standards. Shucks, I can’t even stand up in them. They have 6-feet- high ceilings and narrow doorways. I can’t get through the doors front ways or sideways; in fact I don’t even try. Now they’re fine for the Elves because there’s a whole lot less to heat, and they have to be heated year-round ‘cause it is so cold all the time.
North Pole City is pretty much like your town. Lots of stores (shops, drug and hardware stores), bakeries, churches, schools and such, which are the places for the Elves’ parents to work. There’s a nice City Hall, a big (by Elf standards) new hospital, a nice library, and of course, North Pole University where I got my first undergraduate degree. Now, because the snow is so deep, almost every adult drives a snowmobile or dogsled to get around. Even though they’re adults, they can’t drive automobiles because they’d always be getting stuck in the snow. The real truth of the matter is that Elves simply are so short that their feet can’t reach the pedals!
The Elf children do a lot of playing outside. They don’t play baseball, football or things like tennis. The snow’s too deep. But don’t let an Elf talk you into a hockey match or some kind of skiing or snowshoe race. Man, oh man, you’ll really be outmatched there. They build a lot of snow forts and igloos and are pretty well able to get the snow to do whatever they want it to do. Lots of boys and girls in Arlington ask me, “Are all Elves Small?” Well, the truth to that is almost all are short. But, do you know what? That’s why you’re so lucky. You live where vegetables can be grown … and lots of them. It’s too cold to grow vegetables up at the North Pole. You see, once the Elves dig down deep enough to where you’d think dirt would be, all they find is rock hard ice.
You see, unlike where most humans live here on planet Earth, the North Pole really isn’t a continent like North America, South America or Europe, to name a few. Those places are on actual dirt and rocks, or, as some people call it …”Terra Firma.” All the countries on the Earth’s surface are like where you live. But one isn’t! That place is the North Pole up in the Arctic Ocean. There’s no dirt or rocks up there … The North Pole is nothing but an iceberg.
Now that may be a new term to you …”Iceberg.” An iceberg is nothing but a huge chunk of ice. Scientists have estimated that the ice up at the North Pole may be a mile or two thick and hundreds of square miles in every direction. So you see, the Elves are small because they don’t get vegetables everyday like you do. That’s why you’re so very lucky.
Oh, I could go on for hours talking about the North Pole because that’s where I spend most of my time. But Mrs. Claus says I talk too much! But if you want to learn more about where the Elves and I live; where most of the Christmas toys are made and pose for a picture with me too, then just bring your Mom or Dad to Santa Land at Lincoln Square about six blocks north of Cowboys Stadium. Every child gets to sit on my lap for a few minutes, ask me questions, get a free toy to take home and talk with one of my friendly Elves. Photos are only $15, $20 or $25 dollars depending upon the size desired, and the best part is that 100 percent of what’s paid goes directly to a children’s charity known as “A Wish with Wings.” They provide “magical“ wishes for little Texans with life-threatening conditions. All this is through the courtesy of the Merchants and Management of Lincoln Square Shopping Center.
The hours when the Elves, Mrs. Claus and Ol’ Santa will be there for personal visits may be found on the websites of either “A Wish with Wings,” awishwithwings.org or Lincoln Square Shopping Center, lincolnsquarearlington.net.