Behind the scenes with an elf



December 23, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Santa will pack his sleigh full of enchanting gifts Wednesday night and fly across the world to deliver them to children.
The Register had the opportunity to talk to someone who knows Santa very well his elf, Connie Hill.
Hill has worked with Santa for five years. She works at Community National Bank in Iola and helps keep an eye on Iola children throughout the year. In December she helps Santa at his house on the courthouse square.
“My biggest duty is crowd control,” Hill said. “We let just one family in at a time to allow them time to visit with Santa and take pictures.”
Hill said she and Santa interact with the kids when they come to visit.
“This year they’ll say there is an iPod or some gadget they want. Santa will look at me and ask are they up there at the North Pole and I say ‘I don’t know, I think they are back-ordered.’”
Sometimes the children aren’t sure what they want. Hill said that’s perfectly fine. They can put their letter in the mailbox so the elves can get their requests to Santa. It comes by reindeer mail.
Hill’s favorite part of her job is seeing the young children visit Santa for the first time.
“I think it’s really special when the child comes in for the first time at the age of 3 or 4,” she said. “You see their eyes light up. You know the kids are realizing ‘Wow that is Santa.’ It reminds you there is something good in life.”
One little visitor really took Santa by surprise this year.
“One little girl said she would like part of her Christmas gifts go to the less fortunate,” Hill said. “She was probably 6 or 7. Santa said that’s what’s its all about that a child would put themselves above someone else.”
What is Santa really like? Well, for the record, she said his beard is very real. He is also very kind to everyone.
“He has compassion for each kid and interacts with them,” she said. “One little girl was really dressed in her Christmas outfit, to the nines, he told her how pretty she looked. He tells them he’s so glad they came to see him and he  was hoping they’d come.”
There are some new trends at the Santa house. Bow and arrows are popular requests from the girls.
Lately, dogs are a big item. Not requests for dogs but actual dogs will show up to visit Santa.
“Last year and the last two weeks people will bring in their puppy dog and take pictures with Santa,” Hill said. “They will take a family group picture with Santa.”
Hill doesn’t get to see Santa too much throughout the year but she does see him here and there.
“Whenever I see him we talk and I tell him what’s going on,” she said. “I’m in charge of doing Diggity Dog at Community National Bank. Kids who open savings accounts with us, we dough them a Christmas party. We do that the first Saturday with Santa and I talk to him there.”
Hill enjoys her job with Santa.
“Santa tells the kids if it wasn’t for Santa’s helpers we’d never get anything done,” she said with a chuckle.

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