Papa's got a brand new coat

POULSBO — Father Christmas is prepping for his holiday duties this year with a brand new coat, proving once again the season ain’t no drag as he readies to take on the wishes of the young masses.

In an effort to stay the shivers and keep looking his sharpest, the December daddy designed his new covering out of acrylic material, which will not just keep the temperature lifted, but dry out the wetness to boot.

“That was the problem last year,” he said. “I got too cold.”

Added to match his new outerwear is a hat, which boasts the same glinting white exterior as Father Christmas’ other ensemble additions. Also new this year, a lighter layer beneath his usual coat perfect for when the legendary giver of gifts needs to cool down.

“Little kids already recognize me,” he said minutes after a batch of youth waved as he traversed Poulsbo’s Front Street. “I’m in. My constituency already voted. I’m quite recognizable.”

The non-traditional Santa said he’s got more new augmentations to his arsenal, including a computerized list of the naughty and a North Pole warehouse with bar-coded presents sent out by the biggest names in overnight express shipping.

“Eight tiny reindeer just wouldn’t cut the mustard,” he said. “It’s big business.”

And toys are a business Father Christmas takes seriously, as he hopes his 13th year collecting them for North Kitsap Fishline is one of the best.

“We’re collecting toys for the food bank,” he said. “The idea is we collect toys for year round... It’s not just for Christmas, so the more toys the better.”

New, unwrapped items can be donated to Father Christmas at his Havne Veien Walkway location, or to downtown merchants, and while some are saved for year- round necessities, including birthday gifts, most go toward Fishline’s Toy Shop, which allows parents to choose personalized items tailored to their kids’ desires.

“We bring all the toys in, set them up according to age groups and parents come in and shop for the kids for free,” said Fishline Client Services Coordinator Rae Rodriquez. “It’s just really fun and it’s just really personal and friendly.”

Parents can pick out two to four toys for each child, choosing from creative playthings to items their kids may need or benefit from.

“We really want to bring Christmas in a personal way,” Rodriquez said. “That’s what we’re about.”

Father Christmas will open up shop from noon to 4 p.m. every Saturday between Nov. 24 and Dec. 22 between Checkers Espresso and Gallery and Les Saisons on Front Street. Despite the cold and sometimes rainy weather, the festive fellow said he’s excited once again to greet the town’s residents of each and every age.

“I enjoy little kids and interacting with them,” he said. “The only people to pull my beard are old ladies, and, of course, they’re on my list.”

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