Santa recently made a special visit to Frankfort to sit down with FRANK. Magazine. We talked about all things Christmas — from favorite cookies and reindeer snacks to why Santa is so important to the Christmas season.

FRANK.: Tell me about being Santa.

Santa: I come from a very long line of Santas, however, I didn’t know it until about three years ago when the YMCA asked me to be Santa for their Christmas Ball. It was there that I found deep inside my heart, I indeed was Santa. You see, Santa always enters through the heart. When I put on my Santa suit, it feels like I am putting on a magic robe. I make children smile and I see their hopes and dreams in their eyes. It fills me with energy and it makes me smile.

I want to meet and greet children of all ages and listen to their dreams and wishes. I believe that Santa needs to be a good listener and a good happy person that a child can confide in.

FRANK.: What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Santa: My favorite cookie is the one I am eating! I actually don’t ever get full from eating cookies. I only take a single bite out of the cookies left for me at each house on Christmas Eve. I try to put all the others into my sack and take them back to the elves. We have a great big cookie party at the North Pole when I get back and I sneak a couple to the reindeer on occasion.

FRANK.: What are the reindeers’ favorite snacks? Which reindeer are the leaders?

Santa: Most people think my reindeers’ favorite snack is carrots. They do eat them and enjoy them, but their favorite snack is lichen, which grows on the side of trees. Since we can’t always find lichen, especially in warmer climates, they munch on the carrots and get along well enough with them. Some reindeer even like graham crackers!

All of the reindeer are important to pull my sleigh, but Rudolph does his fair share of leading especially when we need that big, bright red nose. Not only does he show us the way when it is foggy, but his nose acts like a beacon so others can see us in the sky. I also depend on Donder. (Some people call him Donner.) He is the most powerful reindeer and, of course, the biggest.

Donder means thunder. Donder is right in front of me, which makes it easier for me to call out commands to him. Then he relays my orders to the others. Sometimes, I don’t have to give many orders — Donder just knows!

FRANK.: Do you practice your HO HO HO?

Santa: Oh my! YES YES YES — almost every day! There are so many ways to express HO HO HO … soft and rumbling … slow to build and raised in volume … then, of course, the roaring HO HO HO announcing that Santa has arrived! I try to keep my vocal chords in good shape. I even exercise my voice, making sure I can be heard, even in large rooms.

FRANK.: Do you have a special story about giving to others?

Santa: There was this little girl — her name is Willow. She was such a nice, very mannerly little girl. She handed me a note and I unfolded it to find her wish list for Christmas. I noticed one thing in it that was different from all the rest.

Among her list, she made sure she included a list of what she wanted to “give” to others. This really touched my heart. So, in honor of little Willow, I created a “Wish List” for everyone who visits me. Children now fill out their list before they visit and there is a place for every child to list what they want to “give” to others.

FRANK.: What do you tell people who say they don’t believe in Santa Claus?

Santa: I usually say, “Well, Santa believes in you!” If they ask how old I am, I usually say, “I am as old as my nose and a little bit older than my teeth!”

FRANK.: Where are some places you have visited in the Frankfort area?

Santa: As Santa Ralph, I have been honored to attend many events in Frankfort over the last few years. Glenn Willis & Terri’s Catering asked me to drop by several times last year. I’ve also visited KECU (now Expree), YMCA, Traditional Bank, B’s Bakery, Chick-fil-A, Capital Plaza Hotel, The Salvation Army and private parties and homes.

FRANK.: Do you make appearances all year long?

Santa: Oh yes, indeed, I do make appearances throughout the year like in parades, at baseball games and birthday parties. And, I don’t always wear my big red coat. I do have very nice summer attire like my favorite golf knickers. At least once a year at the YMCA, I get to swim with the children. You should see my old timey, red-striped swim suit … HO HO HO and my 6-foot long Santa hat! Sometimes, Mrs. Claus joins in the fun (when she’s not baking.)

FRANK.: How can people reach you?

Santa: is my very cool website designed by Mrs. Claus. My email is To make an appointment for a visit or a Facetime visit, call 502-385-1074.

FRANK.: What would you like to tell the world about the spirit of Christmas?

Santa: I can’t think of a better way to say it than what has been told to Jeff Guinn in “The Great Santa Search.” The following are several quotes from the wonderful book:

“It is more important to know why Santa is, rather than who Santa is. Christmas Day we celebrate the greatest gift of all, God’s gift of his Son. Jesus was sent to give us comfort and hope, He was proof of God’s Love. There are those who do not believe in that, or in Santa. I do hope that you at least believe in giving comfort to those who need it, I hope you believe in love.

“There is no greater gift than caring for others and making sure they know you care. Toys can be a symbol of love. They are proof that goodness exists, of the hope that is always possible and the dreams which might still come true. Whether you are a true believer, or believe for a while, or never at all, so long as you do your best to be a kind and caring person, Santa Claus will always believe in you.”