More About Santa-Related Risks

Earlier this month, we reviewed how the mere mention of Santa Claus can affect business and finance. Tying his name to a stock market rally or business operation could make values jolly, or the reverse, it could have more of a Freddy Krueger effect. But even if your portfolio and productivity remain unchanged, Santa-related risks can also follow you home and even impact family life.

Anyone who needs more than a mere glimpse of Santa Claus may want to take the fun a step further and attend one of the SantaCons across the country (many of which will be held this weekend). According to SantaCon.info, the best-known repository for SantaCons, at least 397 cities in 52 countries host the events, and some cities have more than one. Whether you want to appear in costume or take your family, dressed in their red, green and white seasonal sweaters, the site has some tips to help you avoid getting jilted out of holiday cheer. The site warns that while SantaCons are typically free, some are ticketed events to help organizers cover excess costs, and many of the Santa-themed events are commercial. Then there are the spoilers. It continues:

Again, this year, websites are popping-up making false claims and trying to sell SantaCon tickets. Please be careful not to get scammed and also consider the reputation and safety risks involved. Use this guide:

  • Most SantaCons are completely free to attend (Washington, D.C. is one of these).
  • Many SantaCons request a donation which is completely optional (San Francisco is one of these).
  • Some SantaCons request a donation which gets you some benefits (NYC is one of these).

Visit the site to review the overall criteria for entering and remaining at SantaCon for the event’s duration. The most important guidelines cover dress, safety, and conduct:

  1. You can dress how you like but the theme is red.
  2. Don’t make kids cry.
  3. Don’t mess with security and make people feel unsafe.
  4. Don’t get drunk or high.

(It would seem like disregarding tips 3 and 4 could directly cause #2.)

Additionally, be sure to determine if your SantaCon will be family-friendly or for adults only. Some of these events are fundraisers for charities, while others are just a prelude to a pub crawl—which does contradict the fact that Santa is generally discouraged from drunk and disorderly behavior (see guideline #4 above). Those pub crawls are often limited to the Santas in the crowd, but why shouldn’t everybody be merry?

And although you and your family will see Santa’s foot soldiers, lots of people will wonder which is the real Santa amid all the white beards and red hats.

What has become a pastime on Christmas Eve is the tracking of Santa’s location and progress.

There are several devices and agencies dedicated to keeping tabs on Santa. One of the most popular trackers is run by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command). Its Santa Tracker began in 1955 after a newspaper ad for Sears mistakenly listed a phone number that kids could dial to reach Santa Claus; it was actually a secret line to the red phone at the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor. One of the outcomes of the ad was to expose the risk of typographical errors in print publications.

Using more than one tracker on Christmas Eve, like the Google Santa Tracker, can call into question Santa’s aerodynamic abilities among children whose vocabularies might not include the word “aerodynamic.” Two trackers may simultaneously show Santa along different routes and indicate different amounts of presents delivered. So once a child is actively following Santa activities on more than one tracker, he or she may then ask: “How can he be in China on the Google tracker when NORAD says he’s in Nebraska?”

Most people actively tracking Santa do not want to comment on the technological and supply chain risks involved, accidentally bringing a “bah humbug” to the holiday. Of course, if you are seeking that information, enjoy reading one of his many risk assessments.

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