Every year, we look forward to Christmas Eve – mostly for the super-stealthy arrival of the big bearded guy in the sleigh – the first and only man in the world to have access to a Reindeer powered private jet, with baggage space for millions of gifts. But have you ever stopped to think who he is? Sure – there are the department store impersonators and visitor attraction impressionists, but who is the real Santa and how has he kept his business together all these years, especially in the face of competition from internet giants like Google?
There’s another question that no one seems to consider too – where on earth does he store enough presents children in western culture who’ve been good this year? Well – in probably our most important blog ever – we ponder those exact questions…
Who is Santa?
We called the North Pole to see if we could get the big man on the blower first hand. We were repeatedly told he was busy and that anyway, as we’re grown-ups (at least in body) the Christmas rules meant he couldn’t be seen or heard by us. So, with even a few minutes of call time with the big fella being harder to get than this years must-have Christmas presents for the kids, we did the next best thing. We spoke with a super savvy Public Relations elf, and scoured the internet to get the final word on who he really is.
Call him what you will: Saint Nicholas, St Nick, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle (and many other translations), he has a complex history – bringing together myth and legend from many countries. The original Saint Nicholas (and erstwhile patron Saint of Children) lived in fourth-century Greece – and was a Bishop of Myra. He gained a reputation for generosity – making a number of generous gifts to the poor.
In the middle-ages, children were bestowed gifts in his honour – but that was on 6th December – and it was much later, during the reformation that the celebration of St. Nicholas, got moved to December 24th/25th. Whilst the origins of Santa Claus are routed in the life of St Nicholas, many European countries have reshaped the myth with their own interpretation of the St Nicholas character.
Here in the UK Father Christmas first made an appearance during the reign of Henry VIII, wearing fur-lined scarlet robes or a green suit. But it was the Victorians – in their revival and rejuvenation of Christmas – who discovered the Father Christmas that we know today. He represents the ‘Good Cheer’ of Christmas – including food, wine, revelry and most importantly, peace and joy.
Where does he store all those presents?
It’s well established that the big man gets around the world in just one night. And we know he delivers presents to all the children who have been good (which is usually most of them). People have speculated for 100’s of years how he does it – and the consensus seems to be that he can slow down time – but have you ever considered some of the other logistics? It’s not just the speed at which he needs to travel. There’s the room available in his sleigh to consider too. Even a really big magic sleigh could only hold enough presents for a large city. So unless he has a TARDIS (bigger on the inside) like Doctor Who – Father Christmas has to set up the drop well before December 24th.
We’ve thought it through – and we think we’ve figured out how he does it. We reckon Santa must use a network of magic self-storage units around the planet as staging posts. He’ll spend the week in the run-up to Christmas doing drop runs and planning his route, then on the 24th he doesn’t have to go all the way back to the North Pole to restock the sleigh for the next few million of households.
You might think then that you might catch a glimpse of him on a clear night in December during the run-up to Christmas – but we’ve figured that out too. We think he uses a plain delivery sleigh that’s more stealthy than the ‘ceremonial’ one he rolls out for the 24th December, probably a different team of reindeers too.
It’s a theory that we’ll work on, but Santa is definitely on to something – if you need to find somewhere to store presents in the run-up to Christmas, then a storage locker with us is the perfect place. It’s safe, secure – and above all secret – away from prying eyes. Plus we’re open until 3pm on Christmas Eve, so there’s time come and collect all those lovely gifts and get them under the tree ready for 5am on Christmas Day when the kids can’t help themselves.