We may leave it to Santa to decide if the children of the world are naughty or nice, but do we ever take the time to consider the man himself? Thanks to Peter Crisp from the University of Law, we know that Santa risks breaking multiple laws in his mission to bring presents and Christmas cheer around the world, and here are five of them:
1. The Naughty or Nice List
We know that Santa makes a list and checks it twice to find out whether you’ve been naughty or nice, but do we ever ask how he gets this information? Santa (aka Father Christmas) and his elves would need to access a high level of personal (and potentially confidential) information to make their judgments. He would, therefore, have to follow data protection principles and adhere to the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR guidelines. Without following these rules, Father Christmas could face penalties and fines of up to £20 million from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
2. Employee Rights
Making toys and gifts for all the children of the world takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. With the UK legal limit for working being 48 hours per week, as well as mandatory breaks throughout the day, it’s possible Santa is disregarding workplace welfare regulations. If Santa’s elves are working more than they should be in order to meet their Christmas Eve deadline, they might have a case for complaint at an employment tribunal – leaving Santa with a hefty financial penalty.
3. Drink Driving
Leaving out a treat for Santa (and his reindeer) is traditional for many families on Christmas Eve, whether it’s mince pies, milk, or carrots. Some parents even leave out a tot of whisky or brandy for Old Saint Nick to enjoy without considering the possible consequences of his drink-driving the sleigh. The legal blood alcohol level in the UK is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, so if Santa were to take advantage of the free drinks at each house he could face a fine, a driving ban, or even imprisonment.
Santa notoriously only has one night of the year to deliver presents to every single house in the world, meaning he must drive his sleigh at high speeds to avoid any disappointed faces on Christmas morning. However, the maximum speed limit in the UK is 70mph and just 30mph in built-up residential areas – travelling at this speed, Santa would barely make it around the UK in time, let alone the world! If caught speeding, Santa would face a fine and penalty points on his license. If he received 12 or more penalty points within a 3 year period (and it’s safe to assume he would), he could face a total disqualification from driving altogether.
5. Animal Welfare
Animals are a crucial part of Santa’s operation: he relies on his herd of reindeer to help him deliver presents and break all landspeed records on an annual basis. If he were found to be in contravention of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, for example, forcing his reindeers to work in freezing conditions without sufficient breaks or food, then he could face some serious consequences. The most serious breaches of animal welfare laws lead to fines of up to £20,000 and up to 51 weeks imprisonment; as well as a potential ban on owning or dealing with animals in future.
So it’s clear that in order to get his job done, Santa actually commits a number of crimes every year with a brazen and reckless disregard for the law. With this in mind, it seems that Santa should get a taste of his own medicine and be put on the naughty list for the rest of his life!