ST. ALBANS — Winter Storm Dylan looms on the horizon this Christmas Eve weekend, but Old St. Nick himself, Santa Claus, told the Messenger not even a storm could keep him from his rounds this Christmas.

“I haven’t felt so holly and jolly in years,” Claus said.

Much of that, Claus said, is due to the children and families of Franklin County, who leave him some of the country’s sweetest treats on Christmas Eve.

“The maple sugar, goodness,” Claus exclaimed.

There’s plenty of goodness to go around this year, according to Claus, who said his naughty list is now “not much larger than Sheldon Springs.” Very few children from Sheldon Springs are on the naughty list, Claus clarified.

According to Google’s Santa Tracker, Claus leaves the North Pole early Christmas Eve. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)’s own Santa Tracker estimates Claus will leave three hours earlier, before sunrise this Sunday.

Claus said the truth is somewhere in the middle, but stressed that Franklin County, being at Vermont’s northernmost tip, will be one of his earliest stops.

For more of the Messenger’s interview with Santa Claus, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.