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Part 2 of 3

Sleigh Ride of Peril

The danger to Santa and his elves does not end at the workshop door. We also have threats on Christmas Eve, when Santa ventures out to deliver the presents. The hazards Santa and his reindeer encounter at nearly every house include:

  • Up on the rooftop, reindeer falls. Roofs with loose shingles, steep slopes, or both can cause Santa, the sleigh, or reindeer to slip off the edge. “For true terror, there is nothing like eight tiny reindeer dangling off a roof by the reins, only one sleigh and a 330-pound man away from tumbling down to the ground below.”
  • Chimney fails. “Easily the #1 cause of injury or work stoppage is the big guy getting caught in the chimney,” acknowledged one of the elves who regularly accompanies Santa on his Christmas eve journeys. “While Santa is magic and can enter houses with just a wink and wiggle of his nose, he is old-fashioned and prefers the chimney if available. Too bad he never knows how tight the fit will be until he’s yeeted himself down the hole. I can’t even remember how many times he’s gotten stuck, not to mention when there were fires lit in the fireplace below. It’s bananas.”
  • The cookie conundrum – to eat or not to eat. While most families are happy to welcome Santa with his traditional milk and cookies, not everyone is as concerned about staying on the nice list. “We try to stop Santa from scarfing down the treats before we check them out, but as anyone who knows Santa will tell you, he is always hungry and in a hurry. Over the years he’s eaten everything from laxatives, dog biscuits, hallucinogens, and even venison. Let me tell you, that was an uncomfortable sleigh-ride home.”

A Word about Elves on the Shelf

A fairly new development in the whole “Naughty-Nice List” tradition has come in the form of mass market Elves on the Shelf (shown above witnessing your dog surreptitiously going #2 on the carpet). These elves are made to surveil children in the weeks before Christmas, covertly reporting back to Santa what they witness for ease of naughty/nice determination. 

Anonymous source

“This whole thing about Santa knowing everything was always a load of bunkum,” we were told by a no-nonsense elderly woman source (shown in silhouette for anonymity).  “The man will walk around with holes in his breeches and his skivvies flapping in the wind if he’s left to his own devices. He doesn’t know enough to come in from the cold – or not to jump down a chimney with a fire in it. That’s why we were happy to get the field elves on board.”

While initially seen as a huge advance in collecting timely child behavior data from the field, the elves too are not without their flaws. Some words about the elves from those in Santa’s workshop highlight their drawbacks:


  • Inconsistent reporting in the field. As one workshop elf revealed, “Some elves are pushovers, and some are real hard asses. Some will report every stolen cookie or overdue library book, while others will ignore infractions that would result in serious jail time. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome, but one of the elves was helping one kid counterfeit Skee-Ball tickets in his basement for his next visit to that pizza place with the rat. You can’t trust them to be fair or consistent; it’s a wild west out there, and every elf has a different code.”
  • Who’s watching the watchers? There is no oversight on the field elves, and many go rogue, failing to report on anything, and ignoring their surveillance duties.  As noted in one shameful Pinterest board, some of these elves treat the time away from Santa’s workshop like prisoners out on parole. Supervisor elves and even Santa himself has no way of knowing what these remote workers are up to, or how they’re sullying the Santa name and legacy.
  • The awful commute. Even for elves that are diligent in their duties, there is the problem of reporting back to the big man. Every night, the elves make the long trek back to the North Pole to spill the beans on their surveilled children yet return to the field site by dawn. “It can be literally thousands of miles,” revealed one weary elf. “Sure, we’re magic and can travel incredibly fast, but it’s still not instantaneous. Plus, jet lag is murder.”

Continue reading the conclusion of our Santa: Exposed! series.... and in case you missed our first one, check it out at An inside look at Santa's operations Part 1 .

About the author

Linda is a Content Writer at Fulcrum.

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