RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. -- Believe it or not, boys and girls, a very jolly Santa checks his lists for who's naughty or nice from his home in Bergen County.
Along with his North Pole address (a given, of course), Kris Kringle, the name he goes by this time of year, hails from Ridgefield Park where his website SantaNJ is based and where he lives most of the year.
Needless to say, this time into the holiday season, it's hard to find him at home. Tree-lightings, meet-and-greet breakfasts, mall outings and special events keep him especially preoccupied, though he says, come Dec. 27, life slows down.
For now, he's busy fielding requests for Hatchimals ("The top toy this year," he said), Star Wars products, and Shopkins. Also forever popular: "anything Barbie," especially the Barbie dreamhouse and the Cinderella coach.
Kringle has been catering to the Bergen, Passaic, and Rockland County areas for 29 years. He also does private events in New York City and works part-time at the Staten Island Mall.
Despite his docket of events -- he's been known to do five or six in a day during November and December --- he said it never gets old. "
The gifts the kids ask for may differ from year to year but the magic and wonder of Christmas is fresh for them every year thereby making it fresh for me," he said.
"In a wacky way, it's like doing a play that has a long run to it. How do you say the same lines night after night and make it different? It's the audience that makes the performance," he added. "I may tell the same joke but for one child, that's the first time he's heard it. And it's such a blessing to be able to spread such joy and wonder."
Kringle even remembers kids year after year -- and they remember him. One child last December asked for a younger sibling and Santa told him that was really a Valentine's gift that came from the stork, and not something he could promise. But lo and behold, the mother of that child is pregnant this year and asked Santa to tell their son when he next visits the mall.
"How amazing is that?" he said.
Kringle is also known for handing out "SSSA" cards to kids with glasses -- that stands for Santa's Secret Spec Society. "All of a sudden something that may have been a drag to a kid now becomes a novelty," he said. "I've even written a whole proclamation about the glasses. It's as much for the children as it is for me."
ramapo film festival - in suffern-- sat dec l0 -- screening white xmas annual ramapo film festival held in cinema room at rampao senior center, 319 haverstraw road in suffern ny; show at ll am ; when movie done there to meet and greet everyone
- Wednesday, Nov. 30: Tree Lighting at Woodcliff Lake, 6:30 p.m. at corner of Werimus Road and Woodcliff Ave, by the Old Mill Pool. Santa will meet with folks after at the Senior Center at Tice's Corner.
- Thursday, Dec. 1 : Tree Lighting at Tice's Corner Marketplace, Woodcliff Lake, 6 p.m., 441 Chestnut Ridge Road.
- Saturday, Dec. 3: Breakfast with Santa, St. John's, Leonia, Broad Avenue (Santa has been a regular there since 1987), 9 a.m. Make reservations at email@example.com. Adults are $12, kids are $8; children under 2 are free.
- Thursday, Dec. 8: Metro PCS, Teaneck, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 1427 Teaneck Road.
- Saturday, Dec. 10: Ridgefield Community Center, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 725 Slocum Ave.; $2 admission.
Go to www.santanj.com/ for more details.