ALGONA - Most of the children who came to see Santa at the annual Algona Chamber of Commerce Santa House event at the State 5 Theatre in downtown Algona brought along some sort of wish list.
Matt Finley, 11, of Algona, had a few questions for the Jolly Old Elf instead.
The first one pertained to an item that could get him shuffled onto the Naughty List.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Matt Finley, 11, of Algona, ponders his wish list Saturday afternoon while attending the Algona Chamber of Commerce Santa House at the State 5 Theatre in downtown Algona. The event, which includes a free movie, will continue every Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. until Christmas.
"What if my room isn't clean?" he asked.
Santa had a ready reply.
"I know it will be," he said.
Then there was an inquiry into Santa's schedule.
"How do you know you're supposed to be here?" he asked.
Santa just looked over his glasses - Santa just knows.
Next, the beard and why he has it.
"Do you know how cold it is in the sleigh?" Santa replied.
Not only why, but how.
"I grew it," Santa said, then pointing at Finley's chin, "Someday, I'll bring you a razor."
For Santa, AKA Rodney Davis, of Algona, plenty of questions from curious children are a fun part of the 15-year veteran's job.
"The smiles on the kids," he said. "Seeing their excitement."
Like Santa's helpers everywhere, he does get a few criers.
So what's trending on his list?
"Electronics are big," he said. "Barbies are big, Legos are big- trains, not as much."
To help him at the Santa House event, Santa has a pair of green-clad elves to help him.
Santa requires the ability to smile and liking children is an asset.
Alison Merrill, 12, and Maddison Rath, 11, not only fit that part of the job description, they also have another important qualification.
"You have to be able to fit in these costumes," Rath said.
While they both get paid for their time in Algona Bucks that they can spend on Christmas presents for their family, the pair also like the intangible benefits.
"I like the smiles," Merrill said.
Rath apparently has ears of steel.
"I like it when the little kids scream," she said.
Tina Oliver, of Algona, came to see Santa with her son, Chase Baxter, 5.
Baxter had a specific request.
"A race track that goes on the wall," he said.
To keep himself off the Naughty List, he promised Santa to study hard in school - all year long.
He's also adding a bit to the plate left for Santa.
"This year I'm going to leave cookies, brownies and milk," he said.
For the reindeer: "Special dust," Oliver said.
After the visit with Santa and a movie, the pair were heading out to shop in downtown Algona.
State 5 Theatre manager Teresa Blocker said the event has been held there for the past eight years. She enjoys the children coming in to see Santa.
She had a wish for Santa too.
"A wonderful happy Christmas for everybody," she said.
The Santa House event will be held every Saturday until Christmas. Santa is there from 1 to 2:30 p.m.