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Santa’s Back!
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Santa’s Back!

12-16 santa interview art

12-16 santa interview art

As we acknowledged when we first spoke with him in 2010, the subject of this interview is known by many names in many places – Father Christmas, Père Noël, Kriss Kringle and Saint Nicholas, among others. But in America, wide-eyed children of all ages mainly know him as Santa Claus.

Imagine our surprise at WaterShapes when, for the second time in our history, we received an e-mail from the jolly, rosy-cheeked legend expressing his abiding love for watershapes of every kind and inviting us to the North Pole for another interview. As far as we know, this is just the second time Santa Claus has ever met with the media to expound on this particular subject.

It’s a real honor to be able to interview you again, Mr. Claus. Thank you.

Ho-ho-ho! But you forget. Please, none of this “Mr. Claus” business: Call me Santa.

Santa it is! When we received your e-mail, we were surprised to learn that you had even more to say about how much you love watershapes. Given how busy you are, we’d figured we’d heard about as much from you as we were ever going to hear.

Well, watershapers have been much better than merely “nice” these past five years, and I wanted to recognize it – and encourage everyone to keep it up.

Those techie people think they have it all cornered in the holiday season, but in my book (and it’s a big one), watershapes still make the perfect Christmas gift. And you’ve done so much to raise the bar in the past five years that it’s really quite unbelievable. I said it last time and it bears repeating: Can you think of anything besides a swimming pool or a spa or a fountain or a pond that brings families closer together and give moms, dads and kids alike such joy?

Last time, you said you noticed a difference between kids who grow up around water and those who don’t. Is that still the case?

Absolutely! I haven’t gotten around to doing the research, mind you, but experience tells me that kids who grow up with watershapes as part of their lives are considerably less naughty than kids in the control group. Also, I keep hearing about a study whose results indicate that youngsters who swim a lot may actually be smarter than those who don’t.

Of course, a gift of a pool or pond or fountain can cost a fair amount of money.

I’m amazed that you persist in bringing this canard up as an issue! You must have seen all those television commercials promoting fancy cars as the perfect Christmas present. I say “Humbug!” to that. Most of those cars cost more than a lot of the wonderful watershapes that are available nowadays. You know as well as I do that a pond or a fountain or a spa or a pool can give more pleasure than any automobile ever could – and for many more years.

Can you expand on that a bit?

Well, let’s say you own a pool. You can take a wonderful vacation whenever you want, right in your own backyard! You know where your kids are and can make sure they’re enjoying good, clean fun, not getting into trouble like so many youngsters these days. Plus, swimming is great exercise. What wonderful experiences they’ll have!

And the same holds true with other watershapes: Have you ever watched children feeding fish in a backyard pond? Have you ever watched a hardworking couple unwind while sitting near their own backyard fountain? It’s marvelous to behold! So good for the spirits!

SantaClausYou’re in even better shape now than the last time we spoke. What’s the secret?

Mrs. Claus has really kept me on my strict exercise regimen. Now I swim laps each and every day. I’m trying to watch my diet as well, but I find that the more I swim, the easier it is to get away with a treat now and then.

I repeat myself, but please don’t get too svelte, Santa. It’d be bad for your roly-poly image.

Ho-ho-ho! [Rubbing his still-ample belly] Fat chance of that happening! Ho-ho-ho! But seriously, even Santa Claus has to take care of the ol’ ticker. Swimming is great for heart health, and feeling stress fade away when I’m in my spa or sitting next to my fountain or pond with Mrs. Claus? That’s just great! For me, the key has always been swimming – lots of laps every day.

Wait. Last time I was here, you had just put in an indoor pool. Now there’s a spa and a pond and a fountain?

I guess one thing leads to another. Traveling the world and seeing the creative things watershapers and homeowners are doing in their backyards everywhere is a powerful inspiration. We just couldn’t resist.

How do you keep up with the cost of keeping all that water warm and moving? Energy prices can’t be low at the North Pole.

That’s the understatement of the century, but here’s the trick: We went completely off the grid starting four years ago. It keeps our indoor pool in great shape, and we can run our outdoor watershapes year-round, too!

Wow. What systems do you use?

Our main operations – toy-making, gift-wrapping, naughty/nice record-keeping – all run off our arrays of solar panels and wind turbines, but we warm the water indoors and out with a heat pump supported by a geothermal system that runs off our waste heat. Hey, we’re very environmentally conscious here at the North Pole. And I still love the indoor pool and the way the glass tile reminds me of sparkly Christmas tree ornaments.

Do only you and Mrs. Claus use the pool?

Oh, no! The elves use it even more than we do! They love playing water volleyball and run aquatic exercise classes on a daily schedule. I think they call it “Aqua Zoomba” or something like that. Too frisky for me, but they have lots of excess energy to burn.

While they’re inside making noise – especially at night! – the Mrs. and I head outside and settle into our spa. The upper deck offers spectacular views of the Aurora Borealis! And I have to say there’s nothing better after a tough day in the workshop than taking a nice, hot soak in a spa. Great for the muscles, and [winking] great in the romance department, too. Ho-ho-ho!

Are you still including your reindeer in on the fun?

Oh, dear me, yes! If you’ll recall, we installed a big swim spa for them – and just for them – a couple years back. But now, they also get to splash around in the big natural swimming pool we installed outdoors last year. They love playing in the water and, as my bog manager will tell you, they also like snacking on the aquatic plants, which is a constant concern. But we have to keep them active: They must be in tip-top condition for Christmas Eve!

So it’s safe to say your reindeer are big fans of watershapes?

Absolutely. On our annual rounds, we were seeing so many more beautiful streams and ponds that they insisted on having one to enjoy right here. We set it up so the pond and the natural pool look like they flow into one another. It’s amazing watching them stick their heads under the water to watch the Koi.

Rudolph, too?

He’s still with us, still an important part of the team. But he would have been sidelined for good if not for modern technology.

What do you mean?

[Whispering] I’m talking about yet another nose job. Just last year!

Uh, what kind of nose job did he have this time?

A bright, white LED saved the day! The surgeon implanted it right in Rudolph’s schnozzle! We use red and green fiberoptics on the sleigh, too – beautiful running lights! Of course, I no longer need Rudolph to steer me in the right direction while we deliver gifts. Not since I had a GPS system installed in the sleigh. But the headlight is still a huge help, believe me.

What else has caught your eye on your annual rounds?

I mentioned it last time, but now even more people are installing those fancy outdoor fireplaces. I wish they wouldn’t, really, because I sometimes have trouble sorting them out from thousands of feet above. Let me put it this way: I’ve squeezed through quite a few of the chimneys on those things, and I’ve never found cookies and milk on the other side!

But don’t get me wrong: I love fire features, and we often pause to warm ourselves in the glow. Lighting is getting better, too. Mrs. Claus in particular loves the way the system we installed last year lets her control the mood, whether we’re entertaining the elves or are alone outside at night.

Santa, we know you’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for Christmas, so we don’t want to keep you too long. Any final words for our readers?

No matter which traditions they celebrate, I wish all watershapers a great holiday season and a wonderful New Year! And to the many talented, creative professionals out there: Never forget that you bring much joy to the world. Be proud of that, keep getting educated and never look back!

Finally, just let me add, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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