By Cindy Riquier on 12 December 2016

Half (47%) of British children (aged five to 11) claim to have met the “real” Santa Claus, reveals new research from travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct1

When asked how Santa Claus knows where they live:

  • 11% of children claim he uses magic to find them on Christmas Eve.
  • One child claimed Father Christmas uses a “magic snow globe he can throw and it tells him exactly where you are.” 
  • However, one in ten children (9%) believe Santa finds their home through more traditional means of navigation, because he uses GPS technology like a Sat Nav. 

The research reveals that Father Christmas is increasingly teetotal, shying away from the traditional sherry tipple.

When asked what they leave out for Santa:

  • only 7% of children left out alcohol.  In those homes where alcohol was offered, sherry has been replaced with options including beer, scotch, wine and Baileys.
  • More than half (54%) of children will leave out milk for Santa this Christmas, with 44% leaving carrots for the reindeer and 38% leaving cookies. 

It seems children think Santa is a bachelor boy as, when asked who he lives with:

  • just 26% said his partner, Mrs. Claus or Mrs. Christmas. 
  • Instead, children believe that Santa lives with his elves (64%) and reindeer (37%).  When it comes to the names of his reindeer, the children interviewed offered a range of unusual names not included in ‘The Night Before Christmas’ poem including “Rufus,” “Glee” and “Red nose.”

Despite Lapland (Finland) advertising itself as the home of Father Christmas, British children aren’t convinced. The research reveals that

  • more than three quarters (77%) of British children believe Santa lives at the North Pole. 
  • Other options for where Santa might live include the South Pole (8%)
  • in the sky (2%)
  • underground (2%)
  • while one child thought he lived “in a paradise of joy as a Saint.”

Rob Thomas, Head of Brand at Columbus Direct said: “The magic of Christmas is alive and well in the UK, with millions of children dreaming of a visit from Santa this Christmas Eve. Given that Santa always manages to deliver his gifts without fail, he might not need travel insurance, but parents taking their children to visit Father Christmas in Greenland or Lapland this Christmas should get cover, especially if they travel with expensive gifts.

“Many people also travel overseas to visit friends and relatives during the festive season and travel insurance offers valuable protection in case baggage is mislaid or travel disruptions occur during one of the busiest travel times of the year. To specifically cater for those travelling with Christmas gifts, we have increased our overall winter cover limit for personal property by £500 between 15 December and 15 January.” 

Other gems from the children interviewed when asked to describe Father Christmas include:

"I have only met fake Father Christmases."

 “He knows everything.”

“He is the smartest person in the world.”

“He goes to the Caribbean in the summer.”

"He doesn't know where anyone lives; he has a magical sleigh and just drops presents on houses."

"His spies go to the houses from the North Pole. They watch to see if you're good."

(1) A survey conducted by Columbus Direct of 100 primary school children aged between 5-11 years old. The research was conducted in October 2016.

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