Published 08/01/2020
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Where all round the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
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Well actually, if you listen carefully you can just hear the gentle flick of pages as Mrs Claus scans through the holiday brochure and relaxes with a glass of sherry and a mince pie. Then she squeals with delight as she finds her perfect holiday – a fortnight in Whitley Bay in January – and reaches for the debit card to pay.

Mr Claus is out in the barn running through sixteen pages of final Health and Safety checks before his busiest night of the year. A piercing scream rends the cold and frosty air and the reindeer, as one, all immediately lie down and play dead. The soft thump of Mrs Claus’s fluffy slippers is heard across the yard.

‘SANTA’ she screams, ‘the card has been declined, there’s no money in the account, what has gone wrong!’ Santa, realising he is in trouble, quickly rouses the trembling reindeer and shouting a cheery ‘ho ho ho’ heads off on his travels. It’s his favourite night of the year, the jingle of bells as he flies across the skies, Rudolph’s nose glowing as he guides them on their way, those innocent faces sleeping peacefully as he leaves their presents under the tree, and it passes quickly, too quickly perhaps.

Hopes of creeping in quietly are dashed on his return and he finds Mrs Claus at the kitchen table surrounded by mountains of paperwork. ‘Do you know how much Christmas costs?’ she asks icily. ‘Well, no, but the looks on the little faces this morning will….’ He’s cut short by a frosty look and a short lecture on budgeting.

Mrs Claus has spent the night analysing everything. She knows exactly how much the elves are paid and has worked out their actual cost including the cost of ‘lost hours’ due to holidays, sickness etc. She has worked out the cost of materials, which suppliers give the best discounts, are most reliable and supply the best quality product. The most popular toys now all have their own product code so that once production starts for next year the stock levels can be monitored. The cost of running the reindeer and maintaining the sleigh are all analysed and savings on carrots have already been identified. The other overheads have been scrutinised and some earmarked for further investigation – after what is now only a week in Whitley Bay.

As well as this basic information she has introduced some analysis fields so the types of toys, age ranges, geographical area and elf department can be identified. And furthermore, she has entered all of this information on her new snowcloud software (with the help of their new accountant) so she can keep careful watch on the cost of next Christmas and make sure it runs smoothly. She has linked some useful apps to upload information from the receipts she finds in Santa’s pockets and to help forecast cash flow. Most importantly the bank accounts are now connected to the software via bank feeds so she can check at a glance that there is enough cash for that holiday. Now all she needs is an app to connect to the list of who is naughty and nice, just to save checking it twice.

All is well in the Claus household, Mr Claus smiles contently at Mrs Claus as she rustles up the bacon butties for a well earned breakfast. Well, he thinks, it seems I’m not the only one who can perform miracles in one night!

***Originally published in Northern Insight Magazine (December 2019 Edition)
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