Mike Koozmin/The SF ExaminerSanta Claus

Santa Claus is coming to town

Just before Santa Claus boarded his Macy’s rock-star tour bus, the jolly old man took a break from his busy holiday schedule of making toys and listening to children’s requests for gifts to talk about what the holidays mean to him and why he helps out with organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The Macy’s “Believe” campaign helps the organization grant seriously ill children wishes.

What brings you joy during the holidays?

The joy of seeing a wish fulfilled and being a part of the Make-a-Wish Foundation as we’ve been connected with Macy’s. Actually, since 1862, I’ve been seeing children with Macy’s. That’s almost 150 years. Macy’s has been donating money to the Make-a-Wish Foundation over the years, and through the “Believe” program, with each letter that is opened and delivered to a Macy’s store, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. And their goal this year is to raise $1 million. [Jolly laugh.] That’s a million reasons for Macy’s customers to believe right there alone.

How are the elves doing with all of the presents?

Oh, well, I have some of my elves with me on this trip. You see, we’re on a nationwide tour over 26 days to see as many boys and girls as we can and to share with them this message about the Macy’s “Believe” and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. So they’re back home working diligently and continuing to get those toys together and keep everything in order. Mrs. Claus is there helping to supervise things while we are out seeing everyone around the country.

What does it mean to help with the “Believe” campaign?

Oh, the joy. Of course, Santa has always been about giving. But the Macy’s “Believe” campaign, you see, it inspires others to have a giving heart because it incorporates the hope of giving. And when children write those letters, they’re giving to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, who in turn, grants wishes [jolly laugh] — and that’s what Santa is all about.

How can you eat so many cookies?

Santa will never be tired of milk and Christmas cookies.

How do you deliver all of the presents?

Oh, it’s a little bit of Santa magic and good preparation.

Which list is longer: naughty or nice?

That is a secret for Santa to know. But the good news is that there is a little bit of good in everyone. And we encourage everyone to let that good side shine during this Christmas season. Regardless of what list you might be on, you still have just a week left to make sure you get on the right list.

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