What Does Santa Do When It’s Not Christmas? - Elf By Stealth (2023)

It’s a question we’ve been asked many times before, after all, as Santa’s helpers, we’re the ones who know him best! But everybody seems to want to know what Santa does when it’s not Christmas.

While it’s easy to think of Santa’s job as an easy one – he only works on Christmas Eve(!), this is actually not true. Santa’s work takes a lot of time and preparation, so, for most of the year, he is studying patterns and trends and deciding which toys to start producing as well as managing a very large work force of elves.

Of course Santa is not as busy throughout the whole year as he is in December, but there is still plenty of work to be done to keep things in tip top shape and have everything in order for his one, extremely busy, night of the year.

Below we’ve broken down the types of tasks Santa needs to do or organize, and roughly when they occur each year.

So, what does Santa do all year? Let’s break it down month by month to show you how he fills in his time.


Having just finished his busiest time of year, Santa likes to have some time off in January. He usually heads somewhere warm, in the southern hemisphere, like Australia, South Africa or Indonesia.

After some rest and relaxation he returns home to the North Pole and starts preparing his lists and spreadsheets for the year ahead.


Santa’s February days are spent doing general maintenance with the elves. He helps and organizes any repair work that needs to be done on his house, the elves’ houses and the reindeer’s stables.

Due to the harsh conditions of the North Pole, it’s important that anything exposed to the elements is treated to a coat of paint to protect it. Of course Santa has many helpers (us elves) to help with these tasks, but he always helps when he can.


Most of March is spent in his office. Santa collects data from all over the world and analyses the trends of children’s likes and dislikes, as well as children’s behavior and what is acceptable and what is not.

A child that was considered ‘bad’ 100 years ago might not be considered bad in this day and age. It’s important that Santa is kept well informed about the sentiments of people around the world so that he can make informed decisions at Christmas time.

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April is spent a lot like March, although Santa will also have to start ordering materials to make the toys.

Sometimes it takes a month or two for the necessary materials to reach the North Pole, so Santa needs to allow for this to make sure he has everything needed for when toy production starts in June.


By May Santa needs to have a pretty good idea of how many and what sort of toys he and the elves will need to start producing. He spends a lot of time on his computer looking at charts and graphs.

He will then finalize the orders to make sure he has everything he needs to start production. During this time the elves always do a thorough clean out of the toy factories and check through all the equipment to be ready to start production.


Toy production starts in June! The North Pole really comes to life in June as our busy season has begun. Santa will have allocated all of us elves to whichever tasks he requires us to do, and then he oversees and troubleshoots with us as production begins.


Santa usually takes a short break in July. He leaves us elves to continue with the toy production and he takes himself, and Mrs Claus, off to somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere for a little summer holiday. This is his last break before the really busy season begins for us all in the North Pole.

Santa also takes an interest in anyChristmas in Julycelebrations going on around the world, and has been known to drop in on some of these events occasionally.

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Santa will be back from his break and straight back into helping and overseeing the toy production factories.

Usually there is a backlog of things for him to address, any problems we elves have encountered while he was away. He helps us to solve any problems we’re having and just generally manages toy production operations.


September is a big month for us elves as we have the September Elf Ball! It’s a fun party that gives us all a chance to eat nice food, dance, sing and have some fun with one another.

Santa, of course, is the figurehead of the ball and always our number 1 ticket holder! The September Elf Ball is almost like our own Christmas celebration that we celebrate before we get too busy with our Christmas prep.


By October at least one of the factories will have stopped toy production so that it can be swapped over to being a wrapping station. Santa oversees the work rosters and puts the best wrappers on wrapping duty.

It’s also about this time of year that Santa really starts working on his famous list. So, top tip, Santa is watching from October onwards! He can’t keep tabs on everybody in December, so he has to spread some of his intel and fact finding missions out.


A lot of time in November is spent working on the list – like we said, he simply can’t do it all in December. It’s not only a naughty and nice list though, Santa is also keeping track of children’s likes and interests and trying to decide which gifts would be best for which child.

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The reindeer are also in increased training mode by November and have extra health checks and any changes made to their diet that will help them with their very long flight on December 24th. Santa also organizes any surveillance elves and runs classes for them so they know what to do once they get sent to people’s homes on December 1st.


We probably don’t even have to tell you what Santa does in December! Everything that needs to be done! Up until the 24th it’s all systems go from all of us here in the North Pole.

There is a lot of list checking, gift wrapping and even some last minute toy production to make sure everything is ready for Christmas Eve. He also has meetings with surveillance elves when necessary if they have important information to report.

On the morning of the 24th, Santa holds a celebratory breakfast that we all attend to celebrate all of the hard work that we’ve done. Then the sleigh is loaded and the reindeers are attached.

Santa’s journey actually begins at around 12 noon our time (North Pole time) as New Zealand (Santa’s first stop) is 12 hours ahead of us in time. So if he leaves here around 12 noon, he arrives in New Zealand just after midnight, when all the children are asleep in their beds.

Santa then continues flying through the night, all over the world, making sure that he arrives in each country in the right time zone. It’s a very long night for Santa.

When Santa gets home from his journey he goes to bed. We don’t see him for 24 hours or so while he recovers from his jetlag.

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The last week of December, between Christmas and New Year, we make sure all of the necessary maintenance is done on the sleigh and just tidy up any loose ends we need to in order to make sure we have a smooth transition into next year’s preparations.

Of course it’s not all work in that week, in fact most of us take a well earned break and just rest, hang out with friends, go fishing or read books.

Sometimes we even set up a moonlight cinema and watch some of the latest releases that Santa has been able to get in for us – we especially like any Christmas movies with elves in them!

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How to do sneaky Santa? ›

Secret Santa Rules
  1. You need a group of three or more people. ...
  2. Next, you'll want to draw names for each person. ...
  3. Now you've picked a name, and someone in the group has also picked your name. ...
  4. Your group may have established some additional rules, like a min/max dollar limit for gifts, themes for gifts, no gift cards, etc.

What does Santa elf do? ›

The Tasks of Santa's Helper

A Christmas elf's tasks include making toys as Christmas gifts, taking care of the reindeer, baking cookies, making candy, preparing Santa's sleigh, and assisting Santa with other tasks. One of the primary tasks of Christmas elves is to make toys all year long.

Why does Santa owe everything to the elves? ›

Why does Santa owe everything to the elves? Because he's an elf-made man.

How many types of elves does Santa have? ›

The original six elves include Alabaster Snowball, Bushy Evergreen, Pepper Minstix, Shinny Upatree, Sugarplum Mary, and Wunorse Openslae (sound it out, “one horse open sleigh,” get it?), per Elfcrazy.com.

What is the Secret Santa activity? ›

Members of a group of friends, family, or coworkers draw random names to become someone's Secret Santa. The Secret Santa is given a wish list of gift ideas to choose from to give to their chosen giftee. After opening their present, the giftee has to guess which member of the group was their Secret Santa.

What is the Secret Santa task? ›

Here is a list of Secret Santa game ideas to spice up the classic and give it a fun twist!
  • The Dirty Santa.
  • To The Left and The Right.
  • Pick A Gift, Any Gift.
  • Grab The Bag.
  • Passing the Gift.
  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt.
  • Vote To Win.
  • Hot Gift Potato.
Dec 12, 2022

How old is Santa's youngest elf? ›

ISpotSanta is one of the best sources to learn about Santa Claus and his elves. They state that one of the oldest elves around is 4,000 years old, and he goes by the name of Kringle. The youngest is only 700 and is named Buttercup.

What age is Santa's elf? ›

Elves typically reach maturity around the same age as humans, however their lifespan is infinite. How old are Santa's elves? Santa's elves are a variety of ages from 25 – 2025.

Who is the fake Santa in elf? ›

Artie Lange as the Fake Santa, a Mall Santa with whom Buddy gets into an altercation because he is not the real Santa Claus.

Does the elf go back to Santa every night? ›

As the story goes, elves arrive around Thanksgiving and keep watch of children up until Christmas Eve. Every night during this time, elves fly to the North Pole to report to the big guy, ya know, Santa, about the kids' naughty or niceness, then return to a new spot each morning.

Is Santa an elf or a human? ›

St. Nick is described as being "chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf" with "a little round belly", that "shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly", in spite of which the "miniature sleigh" and "tiny reindeer" still indicate that he is physically diminutive.

What is the rarest type of elf? ›

Rockseer Elves or Deep Elves

"Rockseer elves are the rarest of all elvenkind. They are far taller than most of their kin, with a few reaching almost to eight feet in height. An average weight for a Rockseer is between 120 and 140 pounds, with little gender difference.

What is Santa's biggest elf? ›

Together with his "Big B" duties, Bernard is probably the busiest elf at the Pole. Bernard Elf is Santa's Chief Elf. He pretty much oversees all the other elves at Santa's Village. Many of the elves at the North Pole call him "Big B" which, he doesn't mind; just don't call him Bernie.

Does Santa have a favorite elf? ›

Which is Santa's favorite elf? Santa loves all the elves equally; they're like his children!

How to do Secret Santa without anyone knowing? ›

How To set up a Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Obviously, if you all stood in a circle and did it that way, everyone would be able to work out who got who. To keep the anonymity, you can throw the names into a hat. The hat method does have a chance of people pulling their own names.

How to do Secret Santa at home? ›

To do a virtual Secret Santa online:
  1. Set a budget and pick a date.
  2. Gather participant wish lists.
  3. Draw names with an online tool like Elfster or Giftster.
  4. Mail gifts to recipients.
  5. Exchange gifts via video call.
May 1, 2023

How do you reveal Secret Santa at a party? ›

First way- have the host pass out the gifts one by one, and each person opens it before the next is handed out. This gives the secret santa a chance to watch their giftee's reaction and reveal who they are! The second way is to pass out all the gifts at once and have everyone open at the same time.

What are the rules for Secret Santa swap and steal? ›

Guests take turns to choose one to unwrap. Or they can choose to “steal” a gift already opened by someone else. The person losing their gift then gets the same choice: open a wrapped present or steal someone else's. It's a good alternative to buying a gift for everyone, and a great way to ruin friendships.


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