Christmas comes early as St Nick signs on with Microsoft

Christmas comes early as St Nick signs on with Microsoft

We may not be used to him making an appearance before 24th December, but it seems this year Santa Claus is coming to town slightly earlier than expected. 

Speaking at an unusually festive event at Microsoft’s Redmond HQ yesterday, St Nick revealed an unexpected truth: he’s an Office user. “People like to believe that we have this wind-up toyshop, that we somehow produce billions of gifts every year in a working environment modelled on a Swiss clock,” he said. “And in the Middle Ages, that was more or less the case. But with populations rising and Lapland falling under EU health and safety regulations now, we’ve had to modernise, we’ve had to adapt.”

We were treated to a behind the scenes look at Santa’s new workshop which, while still more Facebook than Foxconn, might leave some younger readers shocked. For a start, the elves are using Excel. “It’s really the only way to manage the amount of information we have going through the office,” Santa told us. “We’ve got numbers on every incident – naught or nice – that every child in the world is involved in every day, and keeping up with that before was a nightmare. Now we just fire up Sparklines, and there it is.”

Unsurprisingly for such a heavy user, Santa also spoke out in favour of “life saving” Microsoft Azure. “We were literally going to have to raze Riisitunturi National Park and use the land to build a data centre,” he explained. “Personally, I thought having the largest data centre outside of China would be a point of pride for the people of Lapland, but it turns out they really love that park. There were protests. There was an arson attack on the wrapping paper factory. Elves were lost. So I’m really relieved that we can move to the cloud and put that sordid PR nightmare out of our minds. Who wants some brandy?”

After posing for photos with Microsoft’s shocked staff and their children, Santa revealed that he’d be staring in a new TV spot for the firm, showcasing how their productivity apps help him manage his grotto’s busy, mixed platform environment. “It’s the only way we can afford to buy seven million children an iPad for Christmas this year,” he said as he was ushered out. “The sleigh’s going to be sponsored by Audi. New five cylinder engine, albino reindeer, the works.”

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The tale of the elf and the falling computer

The tale of the elf and the falling computer

Have you ever heard of the elf who was crushed by a computer? It’s a terrible tale of death and woe, but topped with the sweet surprise of a happy ending. Like those little glacé cherries you get on the Christmas trifle.

‘Twas the month before the Christmas of 2008, when all through Santa’s kingdom there was the patter of tiny little feet going about their business. For these were the elves of Lapland working hard to ensure that presents were designed and built and wrapped, ready for the children of the world.

Dolls and trains and chocolates were strewn all over the factory for the little children. And far away in the furthest corner was the Bank of old St Nick, where the gift money that would be given to the older children and adults was stored ready for Christmas day.

But this was a year like no other. Out were the old ways of keeping track of children’s lists on scraps of paper and spending hours filing them once they had been dealt with. This year, they had a computer. Not a small computer that wouldn’t be able to handle the huge number of lists that were being processed, but a big one designed for performance work. This computer was just the right size. It kept all of the digital records in the big black box where you plugged in the screen, keyboard and mouse, so took up quite a bit of room on Santa’s desk.

One day, one of the elves called Jimmy was in a hurry. Santa was busy on the factory floor inspecting presents like the task master that he truly is, and Jimmy had been asked to return to the computer to check what one Master David Jones, aged six, from Inverness had asked for. But something was about to go wrong.

In his hurry, Jimmy tried to climb up onto the office chair but because he was too short, it accidentally twisted and sent him flying. With his limbs in the air and his head facing the ground, he managed to grab hold of the edge of the table, but in doing so put too much weight on the dodgy leg (the one that Santa had meant to fix three weeks earlier).

The table leg faltered and down came the desk and its contents, including the computer, onto poor little Jimmy. Well, let’s just say his story ends there.

Time went on, and all over the factory the elves grieved for our friend the elf. Meanwhile, Santa, that task master, weeped for his broken computer and missing productivity. In 2010, though, he decided to replace that computer, but decided that just to be safe he would go for one that would be light enough to fall on an elf without crushing them at all – a bump to the head, maybe, but an unaffected soul.

Out to the shops he went and after getting advice from the leading technology specialist he opted for a MacBook Air – light, but with more than enough processing power.

The elves call it Jimmy.

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Lapland police save Christmas from counterfeiting ring

Lapland police save Christmas from counterfeiting ring

Christmas has once again been saved, after Lapland police this morning uncovered a massive fraud operation based in a Rovaniemi reindeer stable. The counterfeit ring, now apprehended, is believed to have been plotting a scheme to defraud millions of children by creating fake letters to Santa.

Police were alerted to the scene of the crime after it emerged a massive power line attached to the shed had been sapping the Lapland town’s power, bringing toy production to a standstill. When they investigated, they found a team using graphics tablets to forge children’s letters to Santa.

Lapland Area Police Department (LAPD) spokesperson Elen Magrit Årén described how the criminal organisation was highly organised, and the scheme was probably perpetrated by ex-employees of Santa Claus himself.

“We’ve seen this kind of thing before,” he said. “You know, Santa’s elves get laid off, go bad and fall into crime. It’s usually something fairly innocuous like selling pirate DVD boxsets and knock-off sherry out of the back of a sleigh, but this criminal operation has been meticulously planned and executed, using high-powered technology and skilled counterfeiting.”

Police said the crime ring had been intercepting letters to Santa at Lapland’s main post office, then using Wacom Intuos Pro graphics tablets to quickly amend the letters in Adobe Illustrator. Shocked chief forensic calligraphy officer Mattias Hansdatter explained: “The elves would change the return addresses of each letter to a huge distribution centre in Finland, where they could bag the toys from Santa themselves. In all my years as chief forensic calligraphy officer, I’ve never seen anything so sickening.”

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A ringleader, identified by police as Johán Grintz, 45, of no fixed abode, is believed to still be at large and extremely devious. Police files show how Grintz has attempted to steal Christmas before.

Get inside the crime! Check out our guide to the £199 Wacom Intuos Pro graphics tablets the gang used.