Saturday, December 16, 2006
The history of Santa Claus and his legendary toy factory is anything but well-documented, a result of the eccentric entrepreneur's carefully cultivated aura of mystery. (He is known for forcing elves to sign strict confidentiality agreements.) But some facts are known, among them that Claus, along with wife and business partner Mrs. Claus, set up shop in Turkey in the fourth century A.D. under the name St. Nicholas Toys & Candy Co.
The small operation quickly gained favor in the community for its charity works on behalf of poor children. Soon, the company had expanded throughout Europe and parts of Asia. It entered US markets in the 18th century when loyal Dutch customers of Sinterklaas B.V. (the company's Holland subsidiary) emigrated to New York. Shortly afterwards, St. Nicholas Toys & Candy changed its name to Santa's Workshop and relocated its headquarters to its current North Pole location.
In an 1823 exposé "A Visit from St. Nicholas," writer Clement Clarke Moore revealed previously unknown details of Santa Claus's Christmas Eve operations, including his method of product delivery (onto the roof and down the chimney) and the names of some key reindeer personnel (Donner, Blitzen, Comet, et al.). The existence of a red-nosed reindeer with advanced guidance capabilities was unknown until the mid-twentieth century.
With increasing competition in recent years from toy-making giants Mattel and Hasbro, as well as retailers (including discounter Wal-Mart and traditional Toys "R" Us stores), Santa's Workshop is not content with past success. Instead, it is looking to increase operating efficiencies and create growth in emerging markets, with twinkling eyes peeled for opportunities in India and China particularly. In many ways, however, the history of Santa is also its future: creating high quality products that are desired by children everywhere, and capitalizing on a unique brand that to most customers means holiday magic. I hope this information will be enjoyed by all, and I hope no one will be offended when I use the words Merry Christmas because I feel it should not be changed. Christmas really has come a long way thru the years and some how the true meaning has been lost along the way. Anyway we want to wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Bill&Judy.