OTTAWA -- In a year of tests, stresses and strains, we are ready for kids to remind us of simple pleasures; like the pure joy and excitement of Santa.

At a time when everything feels different, we promise you the tradition of "Santa Talk" on 580 CFRA not only endures; it's been expanded. 

Starting Friday, Nov. 27, it will air weeknights from 7:00-8:00 p.m., an extra half hour to hear from more children.

Santa knows kids have so many questions and concerns, and he will be on air to spread his light and reassure them.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Things are going to be a little bit different this year, but that doesn’t mean Christmas isn’t happening, in fact nothing could ever stop it, as long as there is love in your heart,”  says Santa.

The broadcast is an annual mix of seasonal music, Santa humour, and sweet conversations with wish-filled kids.  Along with the wishes, we expect Santa will be asked to allay some worries on the popular radio show this year. 

Since Santa knows everything, he understands the concerns.  He wants parents, and kids, to know that he has been through pandemics, and other major challenges, before.   

"First of all, all the elves, and reindeer, at the North Pole are essential workers, and like all other brave essential workers, we keep working through it all," says Santa.

"I’ve been asked a lot whether, or not, I’ll be wearing a mask.   When I come into your houses, out of courtesy, I will of course be wearing a mask."

Santa Talk

"And as for the normal tradition of leaving out milk and cookies for me—normally we shouldn’t share food right now, but the reindeer can still have their delicious carrots, just make sure you wash them first."

"And as for me, well 'Magic' always keeps me safe.  And your cookies keep me going." 

"Above all else, Ho! Ho! Ho! Remember this; I will be at your house this year, just like every other year."

Santa Talk

Santa says, "But, there is one favour I need from everyone though. You need to stay safe, love each other and remember, this too shall pass, we just need to stick together."

Due to the pandemic, Santa will join us from the North Pole, virtually on Newstalk 580 CFRA. 

Before we are on radio, he will answer kids’ questions on CTV Ottawa during CTV News at Five and CTV News at Six shows.  

Your children, and grandchildren, could be the stars!

This year, to keep everyone safe, we are asking for children’s video submissions: posing a question to Santa, sharing a few wishes, or maybe even the singing of a short song.

All you have to do is send the video to Please include the ages of the children featured, their names, their Christmas wishes, and where they are from. 

For example: "Avery from Kanata is four, she loves unicorns and Paw Patrol." Then provide video of her asking Santa a question, or sharing a Christmas wish.

We want to hear from kids in Kazabazua and Carp, Pembroke and Plantagenet, Barrhaven and Brockville, Ottawa and the Outaouais, from all over our viewing, and listening region.

How lucky am I?  I get to host with Santa.  

I sometimes worry people will think I am a name-dropper when I say, "I work with Santa.  I know him really well."

He is, after all, the most famous person I have ever worked with, or interviewed, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many movers and shakers over the decades.

No one moves me, or others, more than Santa.

When you are in his presence, you are in the aura of goodness.  

He is a keen observer.  He remembers everything, and everyone.  

He takes the time to listen—to really listen.

And he doesn’t even have to listen because he already knows everything on your mind and in your heart.

Sometimes he even reminds me of my childhood Christmases and the surprises he delivered to my home in Nova Scotia.

Yes, Santa is thrilling company and as we head into our sixth season of Santa Talk, I must share a bit more of what I have learned during our studio-time together.

Santa Talk

For instance, Santa really likes broccoli.  He says it stabilizes him after all of that sugar.  

All cookies are his favourite cookies.  You really cannot go wrong.

Santa cannot say enough about Mrs. Claus and how she deserves all of the credit for running things at the North Pole.

When he takes a break, he is an avid gamer, and although he loves all Christmas music, he could listen to Mariah Carey, day in and day out, and be content.

I think the only thing I have ever heard Santa complain about:  LEGO feet!  You know, when you step on LEGO in sock feet. 

I call this the best gig in broadcasting, and it is definitely unpredictable and spontaneous.  Both the kids, and Santa, keep me on my toes (LEGO on the floor, or not).

A key part of why this is one of the best assignments in the business—the rest of our small team.

When working on Santa Talk on 580 CFRA, there is another layer of Christmas kindness.  

Two radio professionals, who work very hard on all of the 580 CFRA broadcasts, share their Christmas gifts, and hearts, with us.

Stephen Ellsworth, who Santa and I call “Stephen Elves-worth”, well for the obvious reason, and Chris Wyss who we dub "Chris-Mas", really make this show happen.  (Please meet the fabulous “behind the scenes guys” in the photo below.)

Santa Talk on CFRA

Our Santa Team has shared, and enjoyed, many touching and comical moments together with children calling and making the simplest requests.

A little girl who said her only wish was to receive a bottle of nail polish.  Another wished for Slime.  We hear lots of wishes for hockey sticks, for Hot Wheels or Shopkins, perhaps a group favourite was from a little girl in Petawawa who wanted Santa to find her Mom a nice boyfriend.

You can imagine, that’s a tall order, even for Santa.

We were all really happy when she called back the next year to thank Santa and offer the report.   The call went something like: "My Mom’s boyfriend is so nice. She’s so happy and so am I. Thank you so much, Santa."

The late actor, and comedian W.C. Fields famously said "never work with animals or children."  

With respect, I wholeheartedly disagree.

And this show isn’t just for children, it’s for anyone who needs a laugh, or a reminder of simple joys.  

Hearing, and seeing the excitement of children’s encounters with Santa is a tonic.  And during this year of challenge, it may be the welcome gift we need this Christmas.

Tune in to Santa Talk on Newstalk 580 CFRA starting Friday, Nov. 27. The show will air Monday to Friday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Also, submit your videos for Santa for CTV News at Five and CTV News at Six.