Santas workshop prepares for Christmas Eve

THREE RIVERS — Christmas is just around the corner, and with millions and millions of children expected to receive presents this year, some of them will be coming from the big guy himself, Santa Claus.
But how does Santa do it? How does he and his elves prepare for the big day? How do all those toys and other things get made before Dec. 24 arrives?
Luckily, the Commercial-News received a special invitation recently to visit what has been called a “satellite location” of Santa’s Workshop at an undisclosed location in Three Rivers. Santa himself even made a special visit to Three Rivers to sit down with the Commercial-News for an interview.
When you first step foot into the workshop, the smells immediately hit your nose: The fragrances of peppermint, candy canes, gumdrops, and other sugary sweets fill the air. There are multiple tables with light equipment on it, the usual hammers, screwdrivers and other hardware used by the elves. The walls are a light periwinkle color, with candy cane lining between the wall and the ceiling. There are a couple of windows on each of the side walls, but a closer look reveals it to just be a part of the wallpaper, with no actual view outside. The snow on the fake windowsill, however, is a nice touch.
“It’s just like Christmas in here on a daily basis,” Santa said, chuckling in his signature voice.
On the back wall, there are a few doors, with one of them leading to the office of the jolly old elf. Santa said this setup—the décor, the smells, the tables, everything—is the same with all of the satellite locations, which are hidden throughout every town, big and small, around the world.
Santa said preparations for the big day start super-early, sometimes as early as the first day of the new year.
“Making toys for every girl and boy in the world is an exhaustive process,” Santa said. “The earlier we get started, the better.”
Santa said the elves use plenty of different materials for their creations: Cotton, wood, and tons and tons of plastic. Aside from the work tables, there are other rooms with different manufacturing processes, all to make the perfect toy for the holiday season. Each toy, Santa says, takes anywhere between 10 minutes to one hour to make, depending on the complexity of the toy.
On some occasions, though, Santa receives special requests for toys in the mail from children, some of which they have to improvise to fulfill.
“We have special contacts in each location who are willing to help us out for those toys that we personally can’t create,” Santa said. “Video games, game systems, those bigger electronics and specialty gifts, we unfortunately aren’t that well-versed in making those yet. We are constantly working on getting some of our elves trained in electronics and programming, though, so that is a work in progress.”
However, Santa is a benevolent boss. He said relations with the worker elf unions have been excellent for almost every year since the 1800s. There are 250 elves exactly at each location, with each elf working an eight-hour shift, and 80 on the floor at any given time. When their shifts are over, they live in specially-designed living quarters in each location.
“They’re given all the amenities: Beds, cable, food, all of the necessities,” Santa said. “I like to think of them as my best friends and partners.”
The elves, through their union representative, known only as The Foreman, agreed with Santa’s assessment of their working conditions.
“Santa is one of the best people we know,” The Foreman said. “Sure, he might have had a problem with us that one year when we did that silly song for him—he’s grown to love it, by the way—but he is kind, and always helps us with whatever we need.”
While Santa delivers a vast majority of the gifts via his sleigh and burlap sack—he estimated 99 percent of all the gifts in the world can fit in it—he does have other covert helpers on the ground getting some of the bigger gifts to their destinations. The Commercial-News attempted to talk with these deliverers about how they operate, but they declined comment, citing the “Santa Clause” in their contracts.
Santa gave some insight as to what time he and his nine reindeer, led of course by Rudolph, will probably arrive in Three Rivers. He estimated sometime around 8:30 to 9 p.m. for his arrival over the area.
“I hope every good little girl and boy in the area is in bed by that time,” Santa said with his patented laugh. “As they say, I know when they’re sleeping and I know when they’re awake. And I’ve seen that new commercial with the kid taking a picture of Santa with that fancy smartphone thing. I’ll be watching for that, too.”
Santa said he’ll start his journey around the world around 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve, and gave a shout-out to NORAD’s Santa-tracking service, which he has partnered with for over 60 years now.
As we ended our interview, Santa had just one last thing to add.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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