Old Town’s trilingual Santa Clause is making the holidays inclusive

Nicole Towne

Santa Claus has taken a break from the busy work at the North Pole to come and meet with Fort Collins children and answer the pressing question “what is on their Christmas list this year?” With the white beard, red suit and deep-bellied laugh, he easily passes the Santa test, but the Santa visiting in Old Town Square is able to communicate in a variety of languages through both spoken word and song.

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During December, Old Town Fort Collins is home to a Santa Clause who is trilingual. His languages include English, Spanish, Portuguese, and he is working on French. Photo credit: Ryan Arb

Claus is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese. He knows some sign language and is able to sing some songs in French, Italian and German

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“You know I travel a lot, all around the world regularly,” Claus said. “Just by exposure I learn languages … I’m fascinated by language.”

Claus reports using Spanish heavily during his time here, along with English. He even finds the opportunity to speak in Portuguese.

I spoke with kids from Spain and Mexico the other day, Claus said.

“The people are so wonderful and get in the Christmas spirit,” Claus said. “I have a fun time talking to the kids.”

Claus has been visiting in Old Town since the Saturday before Thanksgiving and does his meet and greets in a little 12 by 16 foot cottage. This is the second year the cottage is being used. Prior to the cottage, a larger log cabin was used. The cabin was too large for the newly renovated Old Town Square and did not provide the best wheelchair accessibility. Claus appears to be quite content in his cottage.

“It just accommodates what we need,” Claus said.

While visiting with children, Claus and his helpers have noticed popular trends in toy requests. Bikes are common year to year, and for kids in the bike platinum town he believes they are a must.

“In Fort Collins, every child should have a bike,” Claus said.

Other popular requests this year are Elsa dolls from the movie “Frozen,” drones, helicopters and toy trolls from the new DreamWorks movie of the same name.

Hoping to treat Santa this year? Try leaving out a few Lebkuchen cookies, a spiced German treat often including nuts.

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“They have lots of beaten egg whites and hickory nuts,” Claus said. “They’re absolutely delicious. They are one of my favorite favorite cookies. They remind me of Christmas. Although when the little kids come by in Fort Collins, I say chocolate chip.”

For college students unsure if they will land on the nice list this year, Claus encourages them not to fret.

“Unless you’re into outrageous mayhem and nastiness, you’re going to be all right because even somewhat naughty children get something from Santa,” Claus said. “For example if you leave your clothes in a big heap on the floor, you get a nice packet of pretty coat hangers. You might get an iron for Christmas, so you don’t look rumpled, especially if you’re a business major.”

Santa is available for visits Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Beginning December 14, he will be there seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m. leading up to Christmas Eve. For a detailed list of times and events visit downtownfortcollins.com.