Time to Care: Honoring the South's St. Nick

First at 5 / Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- Our Time To Care winner for December is the busiest man in the world- especially this time of year.

He's the head of an international operation that delivers toys to children in every time zone and he does it on a demanding schedule. But that's not the only reason we've decided to honor Santa Claus as our final Time To Care winner of the year.

We caught up with the Jolly Old Elf at his Southern Headquarters- Lights Of The South in Grovetown.

"This is my south office from the North Pole," he told us, as he showed us around a room that was custom built just for him to greet local kids.

It's rare to be granted a face to face interview with Santa, especially this time of year.

"You know I am making my list," he said. "The good news is I'll check it later. But please, try to be good!"

It's a little early for the sleigh full of toys, and all his famous reindeer are still in a stable at the North Pole. But we found Father Christmas to be in the best of moods. It's the first time I've seen him up close in a few years and so I had to be sure. I asked if I could give the famous white beard a pull- and he approved it was real.

"Hohoho! You had doubts?"

Someone nominated St. Nick for what he means to kids. Especially the ones who can't be home for Christmas. He explained what it's like when they first see him.

"The eyes get big. They actually look in disbelief. The mystery comes alive at that moment."

In case you didn't know, for years Santa has been going room to room every Christmas morning at the Children's Hospital Of Georgia. He visits every child.

"It's an honor to be able to go and see the children on Christmas morning, knowing they haven't had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas at home," he explains.

Even after an exhausting Christmas eve, Kris Kringle says the young patients touch his heart.

"I've seen many different types of ills and those are between me, the child and God," he says almost in a whisper.

One last great gesture of giving after a night that has to be exhausting by every measure.

"That's not the tiring moment," he says. "That is pure adrenaline. The tiring moment is at 2 o'clock that afternoon- and I crash. HoHoHo...!"

And so News 12 and our Time To Care partners get to honor someone who usually gets to do all the giving.

Not this time.

"Wow, it's absolutely new for me too. I did not know that took place. It's really an honor. Thank-you."

Santa seems to be everywhere this time of year- but if you see him at Lights of the South be sure to tell him congratulations.

News 12 also wants to thank to our Time To Care partners for making all this possible. Academy Sports and Outdoors Ashley Furniture Home Store and Subway.

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