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FactCheck: Do all children's letters reach Santa before Christmas Eve?

He’s making a list, and checking it twice.

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OVER THE PAST few weeks, children all around the country have written their letters to Santa, telling him what they’re looking for this year.

With over 800,000 children in Ireland sending letters to the North Pole, and millions more from around the world also sending in their own letters to Santa, it got TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck team thinking: How do all the letters get there? And do they all reach Santa before he sets off with the reindeer on Christmas Eve?

A spokesperson at Santa’s workshop told TheJournal.ie that letters have been arriving steadily since early November, with a positive deluge arriving at the beginning of December.

shutterstock_153160190 File photo. Stock room showing the thousands of letters sent to Santa Source: Shutterstock/rSnapshotPhotos

“A lot of children knew from very early on this year what they wanted,” the spokesperson said. “But it doesn’t matter when you’ve sent it in, it’ll still get to us in time so there’s no need to worry if you left it late.”

The evidence

Every time a child puts a letter in a postbox, it comes through to the An Post sorting office, before it’s transported to the North Pole.

In recent years, the workload for postal services has actually been cut down, as you can now also email your letters to Santa.  

A spokesperson for An Post confirmed that it nominates a number of its staff to deal exclusively with making sure the handover of the post to Santa’s workshop goes efficiently and smoothly.

Many in fact receive letters from Santa confirming that he has received it. 

The North Pole spokesperson also outlined the detailed system in place to sort through all the letters once they arrive, and arrange for toys to be allocated to each child no matter where they are this Christmas.

“We have a team of specialist sorting elves who go through around 10,000 letters every minute,” they said. “It sounds difficult, but think back to that scene in Elf where Buddy is throwing the snowballs. That’s how quickly our elves can get through their letters.”

Once the letters are sorted they are sent to various helpers in Santa’s workshop who ensure that everything is in place before Christmas Eve.

shutterstock_522624601 Source: Shutterstock/S_Photo

“This is actually the most complex part,” the elf who heads up procurement at Santa’s workshop told TheJournal.ie.

Our bike warehouse has tens of thousands of bicycles of all shapes and sizes. And then we have a board game stockroom. A doll depot. A toy vault. And then an entire storehouse of electronics. We have to make sure we allocate the correct presents from each section so the children can get what they’ve put on their lists. Some lists can be very extravagant so we do our best to try to make sure we can get them as many things as possible.

But what about that famous claim that Santa himself personally makes a list and checks it twice?

The spokesperson admitted that double checking who’s been naughty and nice creates an added time pressure.

“But that’s the boss’ way,” he said, referring to Mr Claus. “I was even telling him this year not to bother checking the list of Irish boys and girls twice, because nearly all of them are on the good list this year.”

shutterstock_64836217 Source: Shutterstock/Steve Cukrov

Once the letters are received, the presents allocated, and the reindeer prepared, there’s only one thing left to do. 

As this previous FactCheck outlines, there is a very specific process that allows Santa to then get to everyone’s house in one night

Verdict

The incredible work that goes on behind the scenes makes this seemingly improbable claim infinitely possible.

From the data we have, it is clear that all the letters do reach the North Pole just in time for Santa to have the toys for each and every child in Ireland on his sleigh before he departs on his trip round the world.

As a result, we rate this claim TRUE.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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