Father Christmas has announced that this was his last Christmas based at the North Pole and that he will shortly be relocating his entire operation to Shanghai.
A large number of his elves have already been working in China for a couple of years and were recently the subject of a shocking expose concerning the exploitative working practices in the so-called ‘Santa sweatshops’. Anonymous elves reported long hours, brutal factory conditions, appalling health and safety policies and subsistence level wages. But Father Christmas claims that financial returns just in from the recent festive period clearly demonstrate that the current North Pole operation is not sustainable in the global marketplace, and that all his elves and reindeer are being offered the opportunity to relocate from the North Pole to the new factory just outside Shanghai.
A number of other traditional aspects of Christmas are also expected to change. Instead of leaving a note out for Santa, children will in future have to pre-book their presents via a call-centre in New Delhi. Delivery slots for the presents can be requested for a twelve pound surcharge, but a Christmas Day delivery cannot be guaranteed and normal delivery times will be between six and eight weeks.
With sleighs and flying reindeer facing increasingly obstructive red tape from air traffic controllers, congestion charging and over-zealous clampers, delivery of presents will in future be outsourced to DHL, Parcel Force and Federal Express. All couriers will be paid the going rate over the Christmas period of a small glass of sherry and a mince pie.
Santa refused to be sentimental about leaving behind his traditional homeland, saying that all the extra bureaucracy and paperwork he was expected to complete made his current operation impossible. ‘I’m already working one day a year as it is. Where am I supposed to find all this extra time?’ He insisted that his helpers will receive a warm welcome in China, ‘the reindeer in particular are greatly sought after in the Chinese market-place.’