Santa’s logistics are famous around the world: there are the elves making toys in the grotto all year, the bright red sleigh that takes him around the world at unbelievable speed on Christmas Eve and of course those magical reindeer that make it all possible, led by the brave beacon that is Rudolph.
To the outside world, Santa is a jolly old man with abounding generosity (his PR company are truly magical), but take it from me, at the North Pole Santa and his logistics are a far different story.
As his wife, I can tell you that Santa is stressed beyond belief. Those rosy cheeks and that portly belly are nothing more than the result of stress induced eating and rising blood pressure. As much as I do my best to keep those mince pies under lock and key, I’m always finding crumbs dotted about, even in bed! Any CEO of a logistics company at this time of year will tell you of the mounting pressure to make thousands of deliveries over the festive period. Well, imagine doing all of that in one night. And the deliveries aren’t in their thousands either, they’re in their millions.
Santa actually has to manage to reach 22 million children every hour, or rather 365,000 a minute. That’s 6,100 deliveries a second. With the ELU (Elf Labour Union) threatening strike due to rising workloads due to a population explosion, meeting production quotas has also been a struggle. Our profit margins have dropped with production costs rising – children as young as six are asking for tablets, Smartphones and games consoles. Whatever happened to the joys of a teddy bear or a simple skateboard? Packages are, however, smaller, so the sleigh is able to accommodate a larger number.
Technology has been providing its uses. Gift lists sent via social media rather than post has meant a massive reduction in lists gone missing. GPS tracking and mapping applications have meant delivery planning can be done to maximum efficiency with no one missed off of the route. With no world atlas or A-Z of nearly every country in the world, the weight of the sleigh has also been reduced to increase both speed and aerodynamics. Destinations can be found and completed with just the push of a few buttons, and no need for Santa frantically searching for directions.
There are some small saving graces. Time zones essentially turn a 12-hour night into 24, and some time zones contain only a fraction of the population. Once Santa reaches Europe however, the number of deliveries skyrockets, so this time saved is quickly used up. Also, not all countries celebrate Christmas on the 25th December: Germany celebrates on the 24th, places like Russia don’t celebrate until 5th January on Twelfth Night, and some cultures don’t celebrate Christmas at all.
So spare a thought for Santa this Christmas. Make sure your chimney fires are extinguished, leave a few carrots to refuel the reindeer and perhaps a mince pie to keep Santa’s stress levels at bay. I would request that you don’t leave him a sherry though; drinking and driving is incredibly irresponsible.