Tis the Season: Irish News Exclusive

Bimpe Fatogun secured a rare interview with Santa’s chief elf in the run up to Christmas. Christmas temps -brought in from Reindeerland under, one imagines, special work permits – are toiling in the Royal Mail’s Tomb Street building, having completely taken over one whole room. Did you know that Belfast is where all Santa’s letters from children in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales go? Now you do. Chief Elf, Elfis (no word on whether Elfis prefers the early style or the more gaudy, bloated era), explains: “Some children do photocopy pages out of the Argos book to send in, or tell us what catalogue to find things in, with the page numbers and item numbers copied out and everything,” Elfis said.
“They can be very organised.
“But Santa also gets letters from children telling him that they don’t mind what they get or even asking for a present for their mother and father too.
“It doesn’t really matter how you ask. Santa always knows what girls and boys want and gets it for them.”
“We do have a few adults writing in,” Elfis revealed.
“Some have asked for Ferraris. If an adult gives a return address they get a reply from Santa too. He always writes back if he can, no matter how old you are.”

So get writing. Send your letter before December 13th to:
Santa’s Grotto,
Reindeerland. SAN TA1.

(Children writing to Santa need to make sure that each letter has a stamp and a return address so his elves can help him reply.)

  • smcgiff

    ‘Did you know that Belfast is where all Santa’s letters from children in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales go?’

    I wrote to Brian Cowen, and hope Christmas comes early this year! 😉

  • ma

    Let me tell you a little story about santa in belfast. In castle court a child can go to see santa for free. isn’t that great? Do you want a little reindeer hat, or a little toy tell mummy or gran that is £7 quid, a photo? £10. Have you seen the toy for this price? You could get it for free in a lucky bag.
    Bring back mickey marleys round a bout and stuff santa in castle court. its a rip off.

  • scrooge fan

    bah humbug indeed

  • joeCanuck


    Mickey Marley had a wee horse –
    Kept it at the back of the house of course.
    It wouldn’t eat grass and it wouldn’t eat hay –
    But it would eat sugar lumps all the day.
    Mickey got some wood and wheels for a start –
    And then he sat down and made a wee cart.
    He hammered and he hammered and he footered about
    Until he’d built a Roundabout.

    Round and round and up and down,
    Through the streets of Belfast town –
    All the children laugh and shout,
    Here comes Mickey’s Roundabout.

    Mickey goes from street to street –
    A penny a time and take your seat.
    A hobby-horse or a motor car –
    Just jump on and hold the bar.
    The children’s faces shine with glee –
    That’s what Mickey loves to see.
    If you haven’t got a penny and your Ma’s gone out
    You’ll still get on his Roundabout

    ( repeat chorus )

    Then alas to his dismay –
    The Roundabout was burnt one day.
    Mickey lost everything he had –
    And all the children were so sad.
    But Mickey’s friends all gathered ‘round –
    From every part of Belfast town.
    They hammered and they hammered and they footered about –
    And built him a brand new Roundabout.

    ( repeat chorus twice )

  • ma

    all together now joe!!

  • The Watchman

    Let’s hope Santa is allowed to take his traditional route this Christmas Eve or lots of children will be unhappy.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Let’s hope Santa is allowed to take his traditional route this Christmas Eve or lots of children will be unhappy.’

    You see, Santa has to be quiet and tries not to disturb residents, and as long as he doesn’t allow any rowdy elfs to come with him he’ll be fine.

  • eranu

    cheers for that joe.
    i think we should all try to use the word ‘footered’ more in everyday conversation.

  • Owen Lee Joe King

    As long as Santa only goes into those areas where he is welcome, and doesn’t bring a bunch of drunken violent elfs with him, I suspect he will be very well received, as usual.

  • miss fitz

    Well, if Santa comes on his own, not withstanding reindeer, there is no obligation on him to file an 11-1 form with the police. If he hops from chimney top to chimney top, there is no procession.

    Aye, he should be fine

  • eugenesbaldyhead

    This one brings back memories as I used to work for Royal Mail and this was a priceless month for overtime doing the Santa cards! There were a few poignant ones though that would bring a tear to your eye..wee kids asking for their daddy or mummy back etc. Also some funny ones from grown women who should have known better asking Santa for a new man and giving quite prescise descriptions of what they wanted!!!!!!

  • Post 11: HOW did you know about the exact contents of these letters to Santa? A Royal Mail worker pilfering letters? Whatever next!!

  • eugenesbaldyhead

    yer woman

    the santa letters are processed in the returned letter centre which is under constant cctv and is the onlty part of the royal mail where it is your job to OPEN mail1 Its a bit hard to send out Santas reply if you dont open santas letters on his behalf !

  • eugenesbaldyhead

    apologies for the typos

  • Surely someone as all powerfull and God-like as Father Christmas would have his own sorting office for such affairs? Is he paying you overtime?

  • eugenesbaldyhead

    santa paid time and a half throughout December till 9 oclock every evening! He used to have his own sorting office but he out-sourced and Belfast got the tender. a bit Thatcherite to be honest for someone that professes to be on the generous side.

  • Will his good cheer be extended to gifts purchased off Amazon? I’ve been waiting 2 weeks for John Wayne box-set for my Da with no joy.

    Tell me this – who is that patronising fecker on the other end of the phone at the Belfast Depot when I ring up to get my parcels re-delivered for the umpteenth time? I don’t like to distract him from his tea and floury bap, but my postman insists on on shoving a “I was here and you were not” card through my letter box instead of ringing the actual door bell and handing it to me in person.

  • eugenesbaldyhead

    I dont work for the mail any more and therefore can only speculate. I am now a civil servant like your good self

    But I reckon its temporary staff drafted in with no training pre Christmas…. A Royal Mail/Parcelforce tradition going back decades.

  • eugenesbaldyhead

    Oh and while you’re at it check the battery in that doorbell or perhaps place an advice notice close by that pushing the button elicits a ringing sound..will save the postie from having to fill in one of those cards!!!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    This Christmas could be interesting, post-wise. I wonder how many cards and pressies will end up staying in Royal Mail until after Xmas day because the sender didn’t remember about the new size and weight costs? And how many people are going to traipse down to Tomb Street to be charged a couple of quid just for an outsize card from someone?

    Very few, I’d guess.

  • eugenesbaldyhead


    They could always send the bill for the surcharge to the sender!!! Ho Ho Ho !

    And is it just me or is not strange how the verification word required to submit a contribution to SO’T is often strangely relevant!

    In this case it is amount53 !!!!!!!!!!