Ho ho ho! If there’s one person who knows all about how important preparation is, it’s Father Christmas. He spends all year preparing for just one day – but this preparation surely involves more than simply instructing his army of elves to make ever-increasing numbers of toys for the good kids and to harvest Lapland’s polytunnels of satsumas for the naughty ones. When so much about Christmas is about shine, sparkle and vibrancy of colour, there must be a huge amount of activity taking place year-round over in Lapland…
It’s easy to forget that Santa’s Grotto is essentially a place of work. The administrative list-keeping side of Christmas requires a massive office! If St. Nick doesn’t want his elves up in arms about shabby working conditions, he needs to ensure that this workplace is well maintained and fit for purpose. For that reason, he employs a specialist division of elfish decorators whose specific responsibility is year-round decorative maintenance. During the Summer months they work on the external fascias and woodwork, then when Autumn and Spring come around their focus lies more on internal thoroughfares, ensuring that the carpeting and walls are fresh and free of damage.
What is essentially a listed building, Santa’s workshop is hundreds of years old and has lots of funny little alcoves and nooks and crannies. The technology that the elf toymakers now have at their disposal is entirely out of synch with this space, but the big man is a sentimental old chap and won’t hear about having a new building constructed. So it’s been a real benefit to commission bespoke furniture to house all of the packing materials and to install wifi and smart screen technology around the place. So what looks ancient from the outside is now super hi-tech inside thanks to clever internal restructuring.
The Colour Scheme
Once, one of the decorator elves suggested a change of colour scheme and wanted to experiment with pink and orange. We don’t know what became of him but we heard something about reindeer mucking out duties… Of course, festive branding is very strong, with shades of red, green, silver and gold shouting Christmas. It’s important not to change colour schemes just for the sake of it when a simple freshen up will do!
Yes, despite global population explosions, Santa still uses the same wooden sleigh. It’s a good job it’s magic, otherwise, the presents simply wouldn’t fit. Unfortunately, the magic doesn’t extend to the paintwork, and the poor thing takes a huge number of knocks on its annual epic journey. It simply can’t be seen in the skies with nicks and dents so from about February, the whole thing has a full makeover. The paint is carefully removed, the wood treated with both preservative and magic dust and this year’s shade of red (for 2017 it’s Pantone 17-1558, Grenadine) applied with great care and love in several coats.
The Summer months see the reindeer out grazing and getting their strength up, but when winter rolls around they need to be pampered and get full rest prior to their gruelling journey on Christmas Eve. Those hooves need a floor which is both soft and hard wearing and several years ago a brilliant new floor was installed using state of the art magic-steel-velvet. For such a precious material, maintenance is paramount… if only the reindeer would show the same respect for it!
Preparation and decoration are hot topics this time of year, whether you’re Father Christmas or not. We’re now slipping into the festive silly season so will leave you with a ditty in the tradition of pantomime rhyme:
All year long your building stands
As the business ebbs and flows
It’s taken the year silently
While decline of brickwork grows
So one last thought at this time
Of our favourite red-dressed saint:
Don’t forget to start next year
With a fresh new lick of paint!