It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And, after our last article (in which we gently roasted Santa), we thought we'd try to get back in his good books with a Santa-trivia article. Here are five festive nuggets for you to enjoy in the run-up to the big day!
- Get your letter to Santa (for real). Every year, post offices across America, Canada, and other parts of the world are flooded with letters from kids addressed to Santa Claus. Canada Post receives so many that some postal workers started answering the letters. As the demand increased, the postal service set up a special zip code for Santa as part of their annual “Santa Letter-writing Program” literacy initiative. The postal code? H0H 0H0, of course.
- Where you can really find Santa. At one stage it was thought that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) lives in the North Pole. In 1925 it was discovered that there are no reindeer in the North Pole. But there are lots in Lapland, Finland. So today we know that the reindeer live around the secret village of Father Christmas and the elves somewhere on the Korvatunturi mountain in the Savukoski county of Lapland, Finland, which is on the Finnish-Russian border.
- Move over Ferrari, Santa's sleigh's coming through. Despite what you might think about Santa's ability to visit every good boy and girl's home in the world in one night, it's not as astronomical a feat as you might think. Technically, Santa would have 34 hours to complete his task thanks to the International Date Line and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Fermilab,” his sleigh would only have to travel at 99.999999% of the speed of light assuming he only visits 800 million houses over the entire surface area of the Earth.
Santa's on his way! Track him. The legend of Santa's infamous sleigh ride was perpetuated from a newspaper, but it wasn't done intentionally. Back in 1955, a Sears ad printed the phone number of a Colorado Springs store so children could tell Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas. The number was a misprint and instead sent children to the hotline for Colonel Harry Shoup, Director of Operations for the US Continental Air Defense.
The calls poured in and instead of blocking the number, the kindly Colonel ordered his staff to give children updates on Santa's flight coordinates. The tradition has continued to this very day on the local news, the internet, and with a special “NORAD Tracks Santa” iPhone app.
- But, is he real? In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun. She had one question: Is there a Santa Claus? What followed was a profound response from veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church. It has since become one of the most iconic and reprinted newspaper editorials of all time. If you've never read it before (or even if you have) it's a must. You can find it here.