Santa boosts Christmas spirits at Roosevelt Mall

The Noerr Programs, which hosts an annual Santa Claus meet-and-greet  in Roosevelt Field Mall, says demand is up this year as  Long Island residents seek holiday cheer after Hurricane Sandy.

“The lines are really long this year,” says Jessica Ramos, manager of the Noerr Programs. “Especially on the weekends, the lines go all around,” she says, pointing to the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the distance.

Santa’s workday starts at 9:00AM, and Ramos says she loves coming in every morning because she enjoys working with “her Santa.”

“My Santa? He’s awesome. He’s fun. He likes to joke around. He likes to be active, so I like to have fun with him in the mornings,” says Ramos.

Aside from acting as both photographer and “baby whisperer,” Ramos is in charge of making sure Santa is taken care of.

“Water, juice, soda, whatever he wants, I’m always on top of it…Usually he likes Wendy’s though,” says Ramos with a laugh. “A chicken sandwich, that’s his favorite!”

Santa has been working double duty shifts this year, starting at 9:00AM and ending at 9:30PM, due to a colleague’s hospitalization. The long hours haven’t broken Santa’s Christmas spirit, but his wish has evolved.

“It used to be about the children and letting the children be happy, and I think it’s extended a little bit further now into the people of the world,” he says, “That they would be better well off, richer, happier…that would be my wish.”

Watch interviews with Santa Claus, Jessica Ramos, and more: