Children are out of school, meaning mom and dad will no longer be able to shop for gifts during the week secretly. But never fear, for Santa Claus is out and about, finding out what good boys and girls are looking to find in their stocking Christmas morning.

This past week, Santa was making the rounds in Trinity and Huntsville, visiting boys and girls young and old at senior centers and day care facilities, making his list, which will soon be checked twice.

The Huntsville Item was fortunate enough to catch up with jolly old St. Nick at Kids Konnection Play School in Huntsville and was able to get an exclusive interview.

HI: What seem to be the big gifts on the minds of children this year?

SC: Xbox and bicycles. Playstations are off this year. It’s the Xbox 360. But I’ve got to tell you this. I did a Christmas party last weekend in Humble. There were probably 350 people in attendance and I had a little 4-year-old girl on my lap. When I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she said ‘makeup.’ I don’t get that request from many 4-year-olds.

HI: How early in the year do the elves start working?

SC: They work year-round. They have a full-time job. Of course, I have a couple of them tending the reindeer, too.

HI: Do you ever get tired of all the milk and cookies?

SC: You may have noticed I have a very large cavity that is capable of holding a lot of milk and cookies, and I encourage the children to eat milk and cookies on Christmas, too.

HI: Does Mrs. Claus let you eat much milk and cookies at the North Pole?

SC: Not really. Her position is that I get an ample supply of them during the holiday season. She tells me that I really don’t need to be this great a Santa Claus, that I could probably drop a few pounds and still pass the test as a large Santa Claus.

HI: This year, which is the longer list, naughty or nice?

SC: Rarely will the children admit to being bad. Of course, Santa’s watching them and Santa knows. Sometimes when a child tells me how good he or she has been, I just raise my eyebrows, then they’ll soften it a little bit and say, ‘Well, I’ve been mostly good.’ But they know that Santa knows.

HI: Whenever you go from house to house on Christmas Eve, do you ever come close to running out of time?

SC: It’s all a matter of scheduling. Like most any business, if it’s scheduled properly, and if all your assistants to their part, if all they elves do their part and if the reindeer don’t get lazy on me, it’s possible to accomplish.

HI: Do you ever wish you could watch the children open their presents?

SC: Yes I do. When you leave them the gift, especially when they’ve been good and it’s what they’ve asked for, you sometimes wonder how much they’re going to enjoy it. But that’s one of the great things about being a parent, because the parents get to enjoy that.

HI: Why don’t you and Mrs. Claus have any kids?

SC: We have a world full of kids, so why do we need any of our own at home? All the children of the world are ours.

HI: Do you have a favorite reindeer?

SC: Rudolph would have to be the favorite, because he has that bright red nose and he’s the one who leads us through the fog and the stormy evenings.

HI: What does Santa Claus want for Christmas?

SC: Santa wants to make as many children as possible happy.