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Santa’s Helpers Wear Brown

I have found stories in the UPS Archives that go back to the 1920s of drivers being asked by children if they delivered for Santa Claus in addition to the local department stores. Often, the drivers would confess to the hopeful child that, yes, they do help Jolly Ol’ St. Nick make his deliveries. 

The challenge for these drivers – and to some extent for the drivers today – is to get these deliveries past any children who are at home and safely in the hands of the parent. A December 1929 article in UPS’s employee publication, the Big Idea, addressed this challenge of maintaining the secrecy of these important deliveries – especially when in those days, tricycles and dollhouses came assembled without a cardboard box to conceal them. 

“Some drivers have hit upon the idea, when they see children about and have a toy to deliver, to ring the doorbell and whisper to the lady [of the house] that they are ready to help her smuggle the toy in. This courtesy is much appreciated by every mother, who thinks as much of her child’s surprise as of the toy itself.” 

Our drivers would often share stories of how they would help our customers play Santa – for example, covering items with packing blankets or first talking with the parents and arranging alternative delivery times while the child was napping… or leaving the item with a neighbor or in a special, established hiding place such as the garage.  The article encouraged drivers to “keep up the right holiday spirit” to keep the spirit of Santa Claus and a focus on customer relationships alive and well.

While today Santa’s goodies more often arrive in plain cardboard boxes, UPS drivers are still helping to deliver holiday magic with deliveries up to Christmas Eve this year. To see some of the ways that we can help you keep the holiday spirit, we have a special video at the UPS YouTube channel. To make sure that your items arrive safely and to help you play Santa see the helpful tips for packing and shipping from The UPS Store franchisee Karen Hurley.

Category: Business Insights
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    Comments [2]

  1. UPS Brown Elfs Rates with the best… You have kicked some
    snow balls around to get this here…. The estimate was on
    Tuesday 12/28/2010, after Christmas, instead it hit the door stoop
    at 11:26 AM today…. Christmas Eve…..

    If you had knocked I would have given you cookies and milk for a
    job well done…. After today, you can hide for a week and start out
    the New Year running….

  2. Because of the sheer volume of packages that we handle now,
    there is no way that we could “arrange alternate delivery times,”
    etc.

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