Things might be a little rougher than they seem out there.
Santa has not only arrived at the Crossroads Mall - he arrived with his security elf.
That's right, wearing the Santa's Secret Service uniform of dark glasses, Santa hat and a dark suit, Dan O'Neill can do everything except talk with Santa through his sleeve.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fresh from a refreshing sleigh flight and a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, Santa arrives Saturday morning for his annual appearance at the Crossroads Mall. At left is Santa’s new security elf, who helps maintain the long list of naughty and nice.
"I heard there was some really naughty kids," he said.
If he encounters any of those while Santa is at the Crossroads Mall, "I make them be good, I put them on the naughty list or I talk with their parents," he said.
Of course, he does point out that there is plenty of time to get a name erased off the list.
"It's never too late," he said.
While Santa arrived at the mall via a horse-drawn sleigh Saturday, how he got from the North Pole to Fort Dodge was nothing mysterious to Madison Kniff, 9, of Fort Dodge.
She said he uses the same method he always does - his sled.
"It's pulled by reindeer," she said.
When he visits her home, she said he always finds a plate of cookies, milk and a treat for his flying steeds.
"We put carrots out for the reindeer," she said.
They like that.
"They just left the leaves," she said.
Ileigh Taylor, 4, of Gowrie, came to visit Santa with her mom, Jenny Taylor. They posed together for a picture with Santa.
"It's out favorite time of year," Jenny Taylor said.
What requests did they give to Santa?
"All the princess stuff," for Ileigh and "good health and to be with family," for Jenny.
They also treat the reindeer.
"We put reindeer food on the lawn," she said.
Santa said that reindeer food and carrots are both good choices for his animals. Carrots are one of the main reasons Rudolph's nose does glow so bright.
He also appreciates the cookies and milk.
Getting here this year was not a problem.
"I had excellent clear sky the whole way," he said.
He also addressed the issue of Santa's Secret Service - it seems that early reports of many naughty children in the area might have been an ugly rumor started by someone jealous of his twinkling eye.
"There seems to be more nice kids in this town than most," he said, "I don't think I'm going to have to add to the naughty list after all."
While Santa is indeed magic - he does need his rest too - he's available on the following hours: 1 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. He will be at the mall until Christmas Eve Day.
After all, he does have to work that night.