Child-Safe Spoiler Alert

Dear Kids,

Have you ever wondered how Santa is able to visit every child in the world and sit in the mall for the whole month of December? If you are like me when I was young, then you are sitting there nodding and thinking yes.

I have to admit that I “figured out” the whole Santa thing at an age that most parents would say is unfair. But what I didn’t know is what really happens—that took much longer to figure out and was revealed to me at the most unsuspecting time, age and way.

When I was at college, I was working on a project that was a joint venture with the college and town to celebrate a milestone anniversary. The core topic of the project was trains, so I had the pleasure of interviewing many people who spent their lives working on trains or in the yard, as well as learning the history and mechanics.

A few weeks before Christmas that year, I had to do an interview with a gentleman at a yard that was more touristy than others I had been too.  That interview was primarily focused on the mechanics of older engines and the connecting of yards and hubs. After the interview, I saw Santa arrive on a train. At first I didn’t think anything of it as this yard had “Breakfast with Santa” events every weekend in December. But then watching Santa get off the train and grab for his bag of presents it hit me!

I felt excited and so stupid that I had not realized it before! That is how he does it! Santa doesn’t really load up his sled nor have a present transporter to beam him more presents and the elves don’t all really live in the North Pole.

Did you figure it out yet? Ok this is the spoiler part, so if you don’t want to know how Santa really pulls off the fairytale trip—stop reading.

Despite what adults, movies, cartoons, and the television shows tell you, Santa has many elves and the majority of them do not live or work in the North Pole. Also, not all of them are short as Hollywood would like you believe.

Instead, many of the elves work in train yards. Yes it’s true! Train yards are the most obvious and most unsuspecting place for Santa’s elves to work. It is how Santa can stay close and monitor if you are good or bad while it allows him to save on travel expenses, encourage local products, and to incorporate green practices.

You see, each train yard specializes in different toys. Then using trains and the rails, the elves are able to transport the toys to various areas. This way, come Christmas, all of the toys are already in the general area that they need to be—they just need delivered or “Special Request” picked up, which usually happens for kids who Santa has to visit more than one house.

The other important element is, the many Santa’s that participate in parades and sit in the malls 12-16 hours a day from Thanksgiving through Christmas. As we all know it is not possible for one man, no matter how special or magically gifted he is to be in that many places. Instead, he does have regular or human-sized elves. These elves have the same knowledge about kids, their families, and their wants that Santa does. So while Santa is busy managing everything for that one big night, these elves are participating in local parades and working in the malls. They are also responsible for updating Santa on last minute updates that he may have missed.

So as you can see, Santa is real, but the Hollywood version unfortunately is not. Instead, Santa places a lot of focus on community efforts and participation. While he works with his elves to create that magical time of year and taking all precautions to make sure that nothing stands in the way of Christmas being a success.

I hope this helps you understand the uncomplicated, complicated Santa thing. Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!