You might know her as Lucille Misovye of Chicago Heights, but your children probably know her better as Mrs. Claus.
Misovye has been promoting Santa and his world tour for more than 20 years, and encouraging children in the south suburbs and beyond to be good for their parents and for Santa. Patch caught up with Mrs. Claus at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Ind., where she has been greeting children for the past eight years.
Chicago Heights Patch: How long has Mrs. Claus been making appearances in the south suburbs?
Mrs. Claus: I first traveled to a suburb in Illinois to meet children whose father ran a meat company. As I was reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas to them, they just fell asleep in my arms. I knew I had to visit more children and show them the love of Christmas. One company invited me to their company and turned the whole warehouse into a winter wonderland. It was just beautiful. I have worked for malls for years, being introduced as Mrs. Claus. I also worked for Marshall Fields as Mrs. Claus before they were sold to Macy's. I have done all of this for over 20 years.
Patch: Where do you live?
Claus: I live in the North Pole most of the time. I stay at the Misovye family house in Chicago Heights this time of year. I can't always get back to the North Pole because the snow drifts take me out of the way.
Patch: How do you help Santa?
Claus: I help Santa by keeping his jolly old self going. He has to have food, he has to have direction and love. There is a good woman pushing a good man all the time. No matter where you are, it takes a good woman to help their husband.
Patch: What do you say to children when you meet them?
Claus: I say hello, how are you, to each one. I ask them if they have been good or bad, because Santa is making a list and checking it twice. Santa will find out if you're naughty or nice. If you've been bad, what do you get in your sock? A lump of coal. You must be good. There is an old saying: If you don't believe, you don't receive.
Patch: What is it like being Mrs. Claus?
Claus: Being Mrs. Claus is an indescribable position. Every place and time is special because you see so many faces that want to love and want to be loved. A lot of children don't have a mom or a dad to love them. A lot of children come up and hug you and kiss you and want that affection from you.
Love can be lost from children sometimes because a family is split, or other family members live so far away. So a lot of children want to be with Mrs. Claus for a long period of time. They stay by her and sit by her and look up and tell me, "I want to stay with you forever." Not everyone has a gram or grandpa. These are special times that should be favorite memories. Always make sure you love your children and show them every day. That's what Christmas is about.
Patch: What advice do you give children about Christmas?
Claus: Children should learn to listen. They should learn to love and to pay attention to what's around them. As you grow older, things change. You want to remember the good things every Christmas. Once time is gone, you can't go back; you have to go forward. Going forward helps you to be a better person and helps continue a legacy of love and kindness.
Patch: Final thoughts, Mrs. Claus?
Claus: When children get up Christmas morning, tell their parents that they love them. If they happen to have grandparents, tell them they love them as well and thank God for all their blessings. As you grow older, you will appreciate those.