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Explainer: How does Santa get all the toys made in time for Christmas?

Just how does he do it? It takes an awful lot of hard work.

Image: Shutterstock/Milles Studio

NOT MANY MORE sleeps left to go. 

Santa is putting the finishing touches on preparations as he gets set to deliver gifts to children around the world. 

TheJournal.ie has already taken a look at how Santa manages to deliver all the presents in just one night and how all the children’s letters manage to make it to the North Pole in time – even if you send yours very late

This year, we’ve another question we want to get to the bottom of.

We know that Santa manages to get all the toys made and ready just in time to bring them to children all around Ireland, ready to deliver once children make sure they go to bed nice and early on Christmas Eve. 

But how does he do it?

Let’s take a look

The evidence

Firstly, the best people to ask are the professionals.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie from North Pole HQ, Stephen Halpin – the head of Claus Communications – explained how the process begins a long time before Santa sets forth on Christmas Eve.

“In fact, almost as soon as Santa returns we get to work again to start getting ready for next year,” he said.

While we’re all relaxing on St Stephen’s Day, Santa’s workers are straight back onto designing, making and packaging the toys in time for next year.

200 Source: Giphy

Halpin said: “We wouldn’t be able to do anything without our great workforce. Santa’s a terrific boss. We all love him.”

He explained how a workforce of around 1,200-strong do shift work at Santa’s workshop.

Each person is educated to degree level – working across teams such as engineering, design, marketing and analytics.

There are dedicated teams for each kind of toy, broken down into categories such as dolls, cars, Lego etc.

The engineering and design teams make the toys from scratch, and the analytics teams examine trends to accurately determine what’ll be popular next Christmas.

“If there’s a new Avengers film coming out, for example, we know that lots of children will want some Captain Americas and Thors at Christmas time,” Halpin said. “We’re able to plan how many toys we’ll need to make based on those kinds of trends. Over the years, we’ve got it spot on. But the most important thing is a happy workforce.”

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And happy they certainly are.

Despite being all the way up in the North Pole, Santa is well versed in the latest workplace practices.

There are wellness sessions organised for staff, flexible working hours and regular social events for teams to bond and work better together.

This Christmas is the first since Santa decided to move workers to a four-day working week, and this decision has been vindicated as production has now actually exceeded last year’s levels.

“It was a game changer,” Halpin admits.

Coming up to Christmas

While they’re busy all-year round, it’s in November when things really start to get hectic at North Pole HQ. Overtime is available for whoever wants it. Deadlines must be met. And everyone has to pull together to get all the toys ready, as well as some other important jobs.

“We have hundreds of staff seconded to sorting through letters,” Halpin explained. 

Some children start getting their letters in as early as October but the majority comes through in November and it’s then that they find out if the toys they’ve spent all year making will be enough to meet demand. 

giphy (3)

Halpin said: “Luckily, we’ve gotten it pretty much bang on. There was one exception where we had order a few thousand additional copies of The42.ie’s She Can colouring book but we’re confident that every child who put that in their letters will have it under the tree on the 25th.”

What happens next is a process that exasperates some North Pole workers keen on getting the job done as soon as possible, but one that Santa is most insistent on. 

He has to personally check the naughty and nice list. And Halpin confirmed that he does, in fact, check it twice. 

The final process then is ensuring that Santa’s sack is full and correctly packed before he sets off on 24 December.

“We manage to create certain sections so that it’s easier for Santa to get from house to house. He gets to Ireland fairly late so we’d pack the Irish toys about halfway down his sack.”

And when Santa and the reindeer set off for their latest trip around the world, all at the North Pole can reflect on a job well done. 

Halpin added: “We love then to get in the reports from all the children who Santa visits around the world and the toys they enjoy. I know this Christmas no matter where you are in Ireland and elsewhere, Santa should be popping you a visit.”

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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