Felt privileged to catch up with Father Christmas this week, as we know what a busy time of the year this is for him. He was in surprisingly good cheer, considering the stories he was telling me about all the red tape and regulation he has to cut through these days.
“The job is certainly not as straightforward as it used to be” he chuckles. “Just as well I have magic on my side! It’s you mortals I feel sorry for, having to cope with all this without.”
He talks to me at length about the layers and layers of Health & Safety legislation he now has to comply with, given he’s taking (at times quite unpredictable) animals up into the sky, flying at high altitudes in an open-top vessel, not to mention landing his sleigh and reindeer on roofs of varying construction designs and strengths across the globe. Then there’s the tussle he’s had this year with the Aviation Authorities over additional security checks they now insist on. “Every present has to be scanned now, which of course adds quite a few hours on to an already long night’s work. But heigh-ho!”
He’s also being forced to rethink the diversity of his workforce, no longer able to insist on only using elves to help him. “It’s actually been a very happy development, this” he chortles. “Magic being such a big part of the job description for any of my helpers, I’d long thought only elves could ever fit the bill. But being forced to look further, I’ve discovered there’s a merry band of professional services marketeers who are required to work magic everyday, so we’ve brought some of those on board too now and I’ve made some lovely new friends.”
One piece of legislation he’s particularly delighted about this year though, is the end of the default retirement age.
“I thought I was going to be forcibly retired this year now I’ve reached the grand old age of 350. But now the default retirement age has been scrapped in the North Pole, I’m happy to say I’ll be bringing Christmas cheer all over the world for a good few years to come.”
I had to put up with a bit of stick from colleagues when I relayed this conversation with Father Christmas. A definite lack of respect – they even suggested that perhaps he might not be real. I pointed out that they needed to watch their step: a belief in Jedis has been deemed protectable under anti-religious-descrimination laws embedded in the employment legislation, so I’m sure a belief in Father Christmas would be similarly protected.
Besides, if they’re not nice about it, clearly they’ll end up on the Naughty List and won’t be getting any presents!
We’re all looking forward to our Christmas party next Wednesday – an afternoon out at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It’s been a fantastic year at Kysen: a move to Covent Garden, and into the Cloud, plus a new website showing our renewed confidence and excitement in who we are and what we do. Lots for us to celebrate!
Merry Christmas everyone and a very Happy New Year!