santa's rules

Santa has one of the most difficult jobs there is: delivering joy to every girl and boy in a single night. With the millions of required deliveries, he doesn’t have time to take chances on something going wrong. While the elves are hard at work making toys throughout the year, we assume Santa keeps busy designating which names end up on the Naughty and Nice lists. However, Santa has one other important list to double check throughout the year: his list of business threats and plans to overcome them.

To make sure your operations continue smoothly throughout the end of this year and into the next, follow Santa’s six rules for business continuity planning, or else you’ll end up on the Naughty list.

Rule 1: Implement plans to keep the Workshop running.

Whether it is an attack by the Abominable Snowman (aka the Yeti), a sudden avalanche, or an outbreak of the elven flu, productivity at Santa’s Workshop must continue to meet projected deadlines despite these incidents. As such, Santa and his leadership team have analyzed what other crises are likely to occur and have developed plans that will help them respond to and recover from those events. You and your leadership team should apply the same principles to maintain business operations during crises and review those decisions at least once a year.

Rule 2: Communicate with your supply chain.

Not every gift Santa delivers is handmade at his shop. He has relationships with multiple vendors to keep up with demand—how else would children receive their Mattel Barbie dolls? When building your business continuity plans, be sure to consider ways to communicate with your supply chain so you can work around any potential disruptions your vendors may have.

Rule 3: Monitor equipment functionality regularly.

Santa’s sleigh, the navigation system, the reindeer harnesses, and the reindeer themselves must be checked to ensure they can endure the long night. This preparation happens long before the scheduled trip so that any changes can be addressed within a reasonable amount of time. Don’t forget to include equipment and systems monitoring in your business continuity planning so that risks can be identified, attacks and failures can be caught early, and time to recover is minimal.

Rule 4: Prioritize itineraries for safe international travel.

When business travel planning, there is more to consider than hotel stays and handshakes. Safety should be toward the top of the list when building out itineraries. For Santa, he must consider how to safely travel to locations experiencing civil and political unrest, how to maneuver no-fly-zones, and how to avoid being seen by looky loos all while being mindful of his time constraints. For your employees traveling, there are precautionary steps they can take to increase their safety during travel, as well. Download our “Best Practices for Safe Travel” checklist to learn which actions to take before and during international travel.

Rule 5: Plan for inclement weather and natural disasters.

Not only does Santa have to account for changes in climate as he travels across the globe, he also has to prepare for adverse weather along the way. Weather events and natural disasters happen everywhere and can affect operations in many ways, which means one blanket response may not work for all of them. For example, how you respond to a blizzard may be different than how you respond to a hurricane. And in unique weather situations like this year’s El Niño, you may have to plan for unusual winter weather and secondary hazards.

Rule 6: Prevent food poisoning.

Santa would be remiss if he didn’t sample all the goodies left out for him at every home he visit. However, he also needs to be aware of any lingering bacteria in the food that could lead to food poisoning. While in the midst of holiday season, it is important to remember to share information on safe food preparation and steps to take in the event an outbreak occurs. Click here to read more about preventing foodborne illnesses in the workplace.

For more ways to build and maintain a complete business continuity program, visit or contact us at