Monday, August 10, 2020

Profile: Kris Kringle

Keeping busy every December

by Dawne Belloise

As most celebrities who come to take refuge and relaxation in our stunning environs, assuming a low profile during their visit to blend in with the locals, Mr. Kringle arrives in Crested Butte a few days before the holidays each year to catch a breather and some pow (or ice—see page 1) in the surrounding mountains. You will rarely see him in his trademark red suit here (the annual Santa Ski event excepted), until that night of nights when he finds his way to your Christmas tree, “Although occasionally I’ve slipped in to do the wild dance with the Red Ladies at the Ball,” he confesses, laughing heartily, belly jiggling like a bowl of cherry Jello at a church supper. “I love my work, bringing so much joy to the world of children. But it is, as you can expect, quite physically demanding so Crested Butte is a sort of pre-conditioning stop for me.”

photo by Lydia Stern

In the chaos of last-minute holiday planning, Mr. Kringle explains that he’s able to get away from his workshop because “I have a really fabulous staff. The elves are devoted, hard workers who can manage quite efficiently. I entrust the toy making to them completely.” He discloses that his generous employee packages also help ensure a feeling of community among the elves. “They’re co-owners of this event. The rewards are substantial—light hearts, joy all year long, elation from their charitable spirit, and the magic of smiles.”

Kringle’s benefits also include green-built, comfy, year-round employee housing, full health care and a Crested Butte Mountain Resort Peak Plus pass. “Yes, you’ll see them here on the mountain after the holidays but they won’t look much different from the rest of your costumed locals screaming down the slopes.”

Mr. Kringle has a lengthy history of employing elves. “Originally, I met up with a clan of them in an Irish pub and their joviality was so contagious, I hired them on the spot,” he recalls. Now he has elves from all over the world, most recently from Argentina, Peru and Brazil—“Oh, yes, the zestiest of my crew.” he affectionately chuckles. “Those are the ones you’ll see mingling on the dance floor during those bass-thumping concerts and shows at the Public House or Eldo. You’ll know them because their feet seemingly never touch the ground, light as a feather on them. In fact, in off-season many of them coach and choreograph for Dancing with the Stars.”

The mystery of how Mr. Kringle is able to navigate chimneys with his girth has been pondered by everyone. But even more perplexing is how he’s able to visit every house of believing children across the globe in a single night—the math doesn’t justify the legend. Considering the earth’s rotation and time zone differences, let’s figure that Mr. Kringle and his team of flying reindeer have about 30 hours to hit all the homes while kids are sleeping—even those little weasels who sneak downstairs before morning’s light to peek (he knows who you are…). Count on about two billion believers, estimate their distance from each other, how many in each household and you arrive at approximately 670 million separate visits—that’s more than 6,000 trips a second down the ol’ chimney. Doesn’t seem to jive, does it?

“Well,” he laughs, “without going into the theories of quantum mechanics, time isn’t linear. The easiest way to explain it is time bending, or time travel, if you will. I also harmonize the vibrations of my particles in such a way that they can appear at multiple locations at the same time. It’s why I’m so heartily built. The more of me there is, the more of me is able to be in other places simultaneously. Essentially, I’m spreading my atoms all over the universe.”

However, Mr. Kringle emphasizes that in the summer he focuses on getting buffed up. “During off seasons, I rejuvenate by hiking, mountain biking and kayaking right here in the surrounding pristine wilderness. Oh, I love the wildflowers. I’ll often practice yoga and meditation sitting right outside my cabin up North Pole Basin off Schofield Pass. It’s perfect grazing for my reindeer up there.”

The reindeer accomplish the feat of flight “because they think they can,” he cracks up with gusto. “You can do anything you can dream or put your mind to. Positive thinking, affirmation… the world could practice this a bit more. As my late friend John Lennon said, ‘Imagine.’”

Mr. Kringle goes by several aliases, which were never intended to confuse or deceive anyone. “There’s so much folklore concerning the origins of my various names—Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas—but having traveled in so many places throughout time in so many different cultures and languages, it’s only logical that I would have so many names,” he explains. “Besides, they come in handy these days for all the various online connectivity I sign up for—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. It helps to have all those different monikers to keep organized as to who is writing those Christmas wish letters and from where.”

Mr. Kringle says most of the letters he receives still arrive through traditional snail mail. “I am my own Zip Code,” he concedes (North Pole, Alaska 99705 and Canada uses HOH OHO).

He also acknowledges all the help the U.S. Postal Service gives him when the post office is not dealing with Amazon Prime packages. “There was a U.S. postmaster Hitchcock in 1912 who authorized local postmasters to use letters addressed to me for philanthropic purposes. Of course, I was all for it and the tradition is still going on today. You can write to me through those busy post office folks at 81224 and 81230. They make my work so much easier.”

Struggling with the concept of good and bad, naughty and nice, I asked Mr. Kringle for a definition of this controversial matter. “There are no bad children, only the confused innocent, environmentally challenged by their circumstances,” he said with utmost seriousness. “It all boils down to compassion. Tolerance of individual opinion and differences of culture and beliefs—whatever it may be, wherever it may be. It’s all about community, the oneness of all peoples and the celebration of their diversity. And not just at Christmas, but now and for all time.”

The snow seemed to glow as he turned and headed off towards the North Face lift. I yelled to him that it wasn’t open yet. With a twist of his head he gave me a wink, smiled a wide grin and with the T-bar under him and his finger aside his nose, he gave a nod and up he rose. I listened as his laughter echoed off Headwall through the air down Paradise and his voice bellowed, “First tracks in Third Bowl sooner than you know! Merry Christmas to all and to all, lots of deep, deep pow pow!”

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