Santa's other 'clause': Summer in Bend

His holiday gig - Rockefeller Plaza - is quite a lofty spot

Santa has a home in Bend

Whether it's for the outdoors or the microbrew, Bend is used to luring visitors in the summertime. But NewsChannel 21's Samantha O'Connor caught up with an extra-special snowbird: Santa Claus himself.

"Ho ho ho, look at that!" Santa said Tuesday as he smacked the ball to the outfield.

Aside from Christmas, Santa loves softball.

"It keeps me young, I just love to do it. Ha ha -- with all those cookies, you've got to be careful,"  Santa said -- understandably so.

Even the big man himself needs a vacation, which brings him to his summer home right here in Bend.

Sometimes, Santa gets a vacation from his famous beard, but even when it starts to grow, it doesn't slow Santa down.

"You know, it doesn't bother me a bit," Santa said. "It's like insulation. It keeps the sun off my skin, so I'm cool, I'm used to it."

But the night after Christmas, after he hangs the stockings with care, Santa goes back home -- and shaves off his beard.

On June 1st, he does his last shave. And five short months later, he's back to his jolly, white-bearded self, ready for his big trip (in this case, actually, not quite to the North Pole -- but to Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, where he's the main attraction).

To this Santa -- who's as real as any we see -- looks aren't important.

"When you are Santa, it takes more than just looking the part. You have to have the heart also," he said. "The children look in your eye, and they know you're interested in them."

As for that special list, we asked about some of NewsChannel 21's boys and girls. Santa says, 'Good list' this year would be: Samantha, definitely, Bob Shaw, Alicia, and Femi, he's been real good this year. And who's on the ‘Bad List'? Let's see.. hmm.."

Well, I guess we'll never know.  But wait, I'll give you a hint; It's start's with an "M" and ends with an "att."

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