Santa's privacy policy

"Santa's Privacy Policy" is a McSweeney's classic from 2010. On the one hand, the joke is pretty much all in the headline and doesn't really need much elaboration. On the other hand, this is pretty well done.

We obtain information from a variety of sources. Much of it comes from unsolicited letters sent to Santa by children all over the world listing specific items they would like to receive for Christmas. Often these letters convey additional information as well, such as the child’s hopes and dreams, how much they love Santa, and which of their siblings are doodyheads.

The letters also provide another important piece of information—fingerprints. We run these through databases maintained by the FBI, CIA, NSA, Interpol, MI6, and the Mossad. If we find a match, it goes straight on the Naughty List. We also harvest a saliva sample from the flap of the envelope in which the letter arrives in order to establish a baseline genetic identity for each correspondent. This is used to determine if there might be an inherent predisposition for naughtiness. A detailed handwriting analysis is performed as part of a comprehensive personality workup, and tells us which children are advancing nicely with their cursive and which are still stubbornly forming block letters with crayons long past the age when this is appropriate.

Our network of fully trained, duly deputized mall “Santas” file reports from the field, telling us which children are well-behaved, which are elf-phobic, which are prone to sphincter control issues, and which are squirmy beard-pulling monstrous little brats. Digital copies of photos taken with these “Santas” are automatically sent to our database for further evaluation, with particular attention given to the ones where the children are crying.

Santa’s Privacy Policy. (via Dan Hon)

(Image: Santa Claus, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from mattimattila's photostream)


  1. Ah.  But now that there are two competing Santa Trackers (one by Bing/NORAD and another by Google) you could start seeing the two entities begin altering their respective privacy policies in order to make it seem like they each have the better Santa Claus heading up their operations, at least in the eyes of the customers (otherwise known as “gift recipients”).

    In the future, nearly everyone who goes online will get a present for Christmas.  The Santa Claus you get that gift from will depend on who you share your data with.  Maybe you’ll even get a gift from both Santas, if you play your cards right.  (Just don’t be caught being naughty.)

    And don’t worry.  Santa will know EXACTLY what you want.

Comments are closed.