Ask ErnestNorth Pole

How does Santa get down the chimney?

Dear Ernest,

How does Santa get down the chimney with all of his presents?


Hello Phoebe,

Before I answer your question, did I ever tell you that one of my favorite names in the world is Phoebe? I think it would be a great name for an elf. Sadly, Mrs. Ernest and me have never had a daughter but if we ever do, we’ll name her Phoebe.

Anyway, on to your question: this was a mystery even to me until a few years ago. You see, Christmas 1996 was the one where Santa really got delayed in his delivery and he sent us out to help him at the last minute. So, I got to drive a sleigh, wear the Santa suit and go down chimneys.

Let me tell you, Santa’s got one very tough job. Not everyone can do it. In fact, I think very few people could actually do it. I only went to a few houses and the work of it really knocked me out.

After landing the sleigh, Santa has to assess the house to see how to get inside. Usually, he prefers to go in by way of the chimney because it customarily leads right to the Christmas tree. But if there isn’t a fireplace, he’ll look for another way into the house. If we really examine it, we would have to admit that Santa only enters by way of the chimney maybe half the time that’s how many people don’t have fireplaces.

Santa prefers the fireplace for several reasons. First, it’s warm. When you fly from the North Pole in the middle of winter, things get pretty frigid. Second, it doesn’t disturb anyone. In many places, people have to lock their windows and doors. But the chimney provides quick access because it’s usually open and, of course, you can get to it right from the roof.

Getting the Big Guy and his sack of goodies down some fireplaces is a problem. But it has nothing to do with size. It has everything to do with speed. You see, Santa wears his suit which is made of a special and ancient material. Not only is it bright red trimmed in white but it is especially friction resistant. When it comes in contact with brick or metal, it’s very slippery. So when Santa goes down, he practically slips right down the chimney. His big problem is slowing down before he gets to the bottom. After all, if he lands with a “thud!” he’ll wake up everyone in the house.

Santa’s sack is made from this same material. Using gravity and the slickness of the material, Santa has no problem getting down a chimney. Santa also keep a little extra meat on his bones to absorb the bruises inherent with this kind of work. Mrs. Claus once told me that Santa comes home each Christmas with all kinds of marks on his body. But without his suit, it would be an impossible job.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.

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