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santa clause trying to enter the door of a house on christmas eve

Why He Doesn’t Use the Front Door: Santa’s Magic Key

“Dear Locksmith, if Santa Clause is magical, he should have a magical way to unlock and come through the easiest entry point, right? With all those gifts to deliver to so many children around the world—all in just 24 hours–he doesn’t have any time to waste. Why doesn’t Old Saint Nick just come in the front door?”

It’s not every day that we get letters from curious kiddos with wonder in their heart. But the holidays are a special time for everyone and a time to make wishes come true. So, in the giving spirit, we’re going to give this fun little question the consideration it deserves!

Top 6 Reasons Why Santa Doesn’t Use the Front Door

1. Keys Are Heavy and Lots of Keys Are VERY Heavy

We all know that Santa Clause is a busy guy on Christmas Eve. He has millions of stops to make as he flies around delivering presents to all the good little girls and boys. Santa needs to move quickly, and that means he needs to keep his load as light as possible.

Plus, consider the reindeer! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen aren’t so young anymore. Because Santa’s reindeer are magical, they don’t age like normal reindeer, according to YesSantaIsReal. Rudolf who was the newest addition to the sleigh-driving team, is 57 years old, which is only about 14 years in reindeer years. But still, the aging reindeer don’t need any extra weight to tow.

If Santa used the front door, think of all the keys he’d have to carry. He and his reindeer would need to carry at least one house key to unlock the front door of all those little boys and girls. Though one key may not be very heavy, the weight of those keys really adds up! (Mathematicians are currently working to calculate the weight, but I can assure you that it would be a lot!)

2. Keys Take Up Space in the Sleigh

The same way that the weight of keys adds up, so does their size. One key is pretty small, but millions of keys for millions of door locks would surely fill up the sleigh. Then, there wouldn’t be enough room for all the presents, and that would be a big, BIG problem!

3. So Many Stairs to Climb

Have you seen the shape that Santa Clause is in these days? Let’s just say that he didn’t get a Peloton for Christmas last year like everyone else. Anyway, even if Mr. Clause lost a few pounds, he still wouldn’t be able to walk up all the stairs to deliver gifts to all those city kiddos living in skyscrapers. Going door to door in a high-rise building is totally out of the question for his little legs.

4. Getting from the Roof to the Door is Hard – and Painful!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound…

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose…”

The author of this Christmas poem, Clement Clarke Moore, accurately describes how Santa lands on roof of the houses and enters down through the chimney. Nowhere was it written that Santa slid down the roof, fell to the ground, and walked to the front door. He certainly doesn’t bring a ladder around in order to dismount from the roof. Plus, imagine, if he had to do that at two- and three-story homes, Mrs. Clause would need to take him to the hospital in the morning.

5. Santa Could be Mistaken for a Burglar

Everyone should keep their doors locked at night, even on Christmas Eve. It’s a fundamental part of keeping your family secure. If the Jolly Old Elf were to try to bump or pick the locks, someone might get scared and think that he was a thief trying to break in.

6.Too Noisy and Too Risky

To get the job done on Christmas Eve, without running out of time, Santa needs everyone to be nestled all snug in their beds. But, even with a key, Santa Clause would have to fumble around in the dark to unlock the door which would surely wake up the homeowners. With or without a key, if Santa set off the security alarm, that would really ruin the visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

The noise could cause the reindeer to get spooked and fly away with the sleigh. Then, when the neighbors hear the alarm, they’re likely to call the police and report a burglary. In that case, Santa would risk ruining Christmas forever by getting sent to jail. We can’t have that!

Why does Santa come down the chimney instead of the front door?

So, by now, you’re starting to understand why Santa has found chimneys to be the most practical access point.

  1. Chimneys don’t have locks.
  2. For house houses that don’t have chimneys, he can magic a chimney and make it disappear when the sleigh flies away.
  3. Sliding down the chimney is a lot easier than climbing stairs.
  4. It’s more fun!

Old Saint Nick is also pretty Old School; he’s a man of tradition, and so he likes to do things the way they have always been done.

Why does Santa use the chimney rather than the front door? The idea dates back to the 1400s when it was commonly believed—and feared—that witches could pass through solid things to enter any home. In 1486, a well-read and well-known book about witches was published. It clarified that witches, elves, and other magical creatures entered homes through windows or chimneys, instead of walls, which made most people feel safer in their residences. Since then, the chimney has come to be used frequently as a symbol in folklore.

For example, according to Scottish folklore, a creature known as the “brownie” enters homes through the chimney and helps with household chores while everyone is asleep. According to Irish folklore, the wicked “bodach” goes into homes through chimneys in order to kidnap children. La Befana, a figure from Italian folklore, sweeps through the night sky atop a broomstick on the Epiphany to drop down the chimney and leave sweets in the shoes of good children.

As far as English literature is concerned, there has been no argument about the practical nature of Santa’s entrance via the chimney. It has been clearly explained in many tales and stores. Starting in 1809 with Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York, which describe Good ol’ Saint Nick:

“riding jollily among the tree tops, or over the roofs of the houses, now and then drawing forth magnificent presents from his breeches pockets, and dropping them down the chimneys of his favorites.”

We can also look back at the original St. Nicholas who was renowned for his generosity and his ability to guard little children and sailors. He would go about giving gifts to the needy while dressed in his red robes. According to legend, he once threw several gold coins down a family’s chimney, where they eventually ended up in a girl’s stocking. This is another point of evidence for how his innovative way to use chimneys, rather than the front door, came about in the first place.

What if we don’t have a chimney?

Naturally, children living in apartments, high-rises, and homes without a fireplace worry that presents won’t be there for them on Christmas morning. But have no fear!

Though our modern-day Jolly Old Elf is inspired by St. Nicholas, a bishop and saint who lived in the fourth century, he has evolved over the hundreds of years that he has been in the business of delivering holiday packages. For example, when open fireplaces were gradually replaced with wood and coal stoves in American households in the 1820s and 1830s, but Santa Claus continued to make an appearance throughout every winter holiday season. Scholars believe that Santa was slimmer in this period of history, so he was able to simply squeeze himself through the stove pipes. This tight squeeze became more difficult over the years, as Papa Noel has eaten literal tons of cookies and packed on the pounds as a consequence.

So, the question is fair. ‘How does Santa squeeze down the chimney?’ or the stove pipe, for that matter? And still, what about those kiddos that don’t have a fireplace, wood-burning stove, or flue of any kind? There’s a lot of controversy regarding chimney strategy, seeing as how traditional fireplaces are going out of style and that gas fireplaces don’t even have chimneys.

“Only 40.3% of homes in the U.S. have fireplaces, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, meaning Mr. Claus must find an alternative entry into about 60% of homes on Christmas Eve.” (WSJ)

But, we also have to remember that Santa is magic and the holidays are a magical time! We can never know for sure all of the tricks he has up his sleeve, but we hypothesize that Kris Kringle has a magical master key. With this master key can unlock the doors of all true believers who are asleep.

“Dear Santa, we have no chimney
as you can plainly see,
And I was terribly worried
that you would pass over me.

We hung this very special key
right by the door.
Then Mom told me to jump into bed;
and not to worry anymore.

Your magic will make this key fit,
to open our door.
So you can come in tonight
and tip-toe across the floor.”

Santa’s Magic Key

Santa Claus can enter residences, apartments, townhomes, and condominiums without chimneys with a magic key. Additionally, he utilizes this key to open any lock houses with chimneys that are too little for him to fit down now that he has “a little round belly that shakes when he laughs, like a bowl full of jelly.”

Kids who are concerned about Pelznickel’s ability to get into their home on the most important Eve of the year, can also provide a spare magical key. In case the Jolly Old Elf forgets his original key or misplaces it as he rushes along his world-wide journey, here are some of the ways that your family can get duplicate key for Santa:

  • Etsy: Search for Magic Christmas Key
  • Something Different Wholesale: Set of 30 for Santa’s Key Set (for class of students)
  • Party City: Santa’s Magic Key Party Favor
  • Personalization Mall: Ornamental Key Engraved with Name
  • Teresalynns: Santa Key Door Hanger
  • Walmart: Santa’s Key Tree Ornament
  • Amazon: Shop for Santa’s Magic Key

You and your family can also get creative about how to explain what the skeleton key is for in a fun and decorative way. Here is some inspiration:

“Our stockings hang upon a wall.
We have no fireplace at all!
You see the problem is quite clear.
Santa, how will you get in here?

We heard a legend. Is it true?
Of magic only you can do.
We’ll leave out any plain old key,
and mark it “Santa” so you can see.

Your magic makes the key fit right,
so you can get inside that night.
Thank you Santa, here’s our key.
The milk and cookies are on me!”

Where is Santa Now?

Stay up to date on the elves’ preparations and on Santa’s yearly trek around the world with Google’s SantaTracker.

Make It a Merry One, Friends

You don’t have to go to the North Pole to have quality time with your loved ones. Enjoy the opportunities to laugh and smile with those around you.

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