"Come in, get out of that cold," Mrs. Claus says, ushering a visitor into her home. "I can't imagine why you want to talk with me. Nick is the star of the show. But do sit down."
She places a platter of gingerbread cookies and a mug of cocoa on a table, settles into a chair, and resumes knitting.
"Since you traveled all this way," she says, glancing over the wire-rimmed glasses, "I'll tell you what you want to know."
Over a few days, as no one without a special sleigh commutes to the top of the world, Mrs. Claus reveals that, while of course she has a first name, it's been wrongly reported over the years. She prefers to be addressed as Mrs. Claus.
She dismisses her own background as "pretty typical," allowing only that she grew up in a large, happy family.
"Nick was my oldest brother's friend, and we met when I was 17," she says. "How could you not fall in love with that man? That laugh alone! And, it's not just for Christmas."
She declines to say how long ago that was.
Though the big guy gets the credit, Mrs. Claus doesn't mind. She's fine with the occasional appearance such as ABC's "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade."
Everyone around here knows she runs a remarkable amount of the operation. And, this is a huge undertaking.
"Nick does keep track of the kids' behavior throughout the year," Mrs. Claus says, "but someone has to keep track of The List. We went high-tech a few years back, and some of the elves are rather handy with electronics, so that whole naughty and nice list is indeed on my computer. Of course it's password protected, though no one really gets this far north without us knowing."
Favorite books: " ' 'Twas the Night Before Christmas,' and I love Ludwig Bemelmans' 'Madeline's Christmas' and Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol.' "
Favorite movies: " 'Miracle on 34th Street,' 'It's a Wonderful Life' and anything with George Clooney. I am Mrs. Claus, I'm not dead."
Favorite music: " 'Messiah' by Handel, 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' by Darlene Love. That lady can sing! And Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas.' "Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times