Santa Claus changes for no one. That was the message Claus, aka St. Nick, made clear in a rare, exclusive interview with ABC News.
"I am who I am," Claus told John Berman.
Claus has been under siege in recent years by what he has characterized as a "vast politically correct conspiracy" that includes the media, the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. surgeon general, among others.
The latest barb aimed at Claus targets his well-documented weight problems. Acting Surgeon General Rear Adm. Steven K. Galson told the Boston Herald that Claus is too fat and sets a bad example for kids.
"Right now I weigh about 260 pounds," Claus told ABC News, adding that he has dropped 15 pounds since this time last year.
But doctors warn that at his weight and his age — by some accounts he is nearly 2,000 years old — he could face serious health risks including, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
"I would say we have to get your lifestyle under control, try to reduce the weight and we have to monitor you for the development of these conditions," ABC News medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson said of Claus.
When pressed on the weight issue, Claus became clearly defensive.
"Who would want to see a little string-bean Santa looking trim like yourself?" he said to Berman.
Claus' weight hasn't been the only issue drawing media attention. His trademark laugh, which makes his belly jiggle like jelly, has also been targeted.
In Australia, one company asked Claus to stop saying "ho ho ho" because it scares children and suggested he use "ha ha ha" instead.
But for Claus, it is no laughing matter.
"This is my laugh — ho ho ho. I am not about to change it," he said with a hint of menace.
Watch out, Galson. They say Claus keeps a list.