Santa's Privacy PolicyS

At Santa's Workshop, your privacy is important. What follows is an explanation of how Santa's Workshop collects and safeguards your personal information; the kind of information it collects; and your choices regarding the use and disclosure of this information.

Why Do We Need This Information?

Santa Claus requires your information in order to compile his annual list of Who is Naughty and Who is Nice, and to ensure accuracy when he checks it twice. Your information is also used in connection with delivering the kinds of goods and services you've come to expect from Santa, including but not limited to toys, games, good cheer, merriment, Christmas spirit, seasonal joy, and holly jollyness.

What Information Do We Collect?

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 also employs a paranormal method of observation known as "remote viewing." This enables him to see you when you're sleeping, know when you're awake, and know if you've been bad or good. He even knows if the cookies you're leaving out are homemade or store-bought.

What Do We Do With the Information We Collect?

Sharing is one of the joys of Christmas. For this reason, we share your personal information with our affiliates, non-affiliated third parties, and anyone else who has a legitimate financial stake in a successful holiday season. Mrs. Claus also likes to have a look-see.

Our affiliates include partners of Santa's Workshop who are actively involved in making Christmas happen. They include toy-making elves, flying reindeer, and Jesus. Non-affiliated third parties might include the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Hanukkah Harry.

We may also share your information with mental health practitioners—especially if, as a child, you asked for a particular present every Christmas but never got it. This information gives your analyst a better understanding of why you sometimes feel sad at this time of year and why you resent your parents.

Occasionally we share your Christmas wish lists with professional lyricists seeking inspiration for a catchy holiday song. In the past this information has inspired such holiday favorites as "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," "All I Want for Christmas is You," "My Grown-Up Christmas List," and "Santa Baby." Should your wish list inspire a hit single, you may be entitled to royalties, payable in the form of sleighfuls of Christmas cheer.

Finally, we make note of the condition of your roof and chimney in the course of our Christmas Eve deliveries. We share this information with appropriate third-party contractors, who may contact you to warn that your aging roof will soon be leaking worse than Julian Assange, or that you will die in your sleep of carbon monoxide poisoning if you don't replace your chimney liner right away.

How Do We Secure This Information?

We secure your information by keeping it at the North Pole, one of the most remote, inhospitable and uninhabitable places on earth. It is stored in a secure gingerbread facility deep in the Candy Cane Forest, behind an impassable barrier conjured by Elven magic. The facility is guarded by a full brigade of life-size wooden toy soldiers armed with Nerf Blasters and Super Soakers. The area is also patrolled by ravenous polar bears.

You Have Choices

You have "opt out" choices regarding certain disclosures we make about you. Please indicate your preferences below:

____ I'll be nice. Please collect, collate, analyze, disseminate and disclose my personal information in any way you see fit. I understand that my cooperative attitude will be taken into consideration when it comes time to compile the Naughty/Nice list next year.

____ I'll be naughty. Please don't share my personal information with anyone. You may use it only to ensure that I get as many of the specific items on my list as possible. I understand that my uncooperative attitude carries the risk that a lump of bituminous coal will be deposited in my stocking annually, either for the duration of my life or until I change my preferences.

You may forward your completed form to: Santa Claus, c/o Santa's Workshop, The North Pole. Or you may retain it for your own records—it doesn't matter. Whether your form is on file with Santa or not, he's gonna find out who's naughty or nice.

Please allow twelve days of Christmas for your choices to take effect.

Image by Dean Mitchell/ShutterStock

Santa's Privacy PolicyMcSweeney's is an independent publisher based in San Francisco that publishes books, a quarterly fiction journal, a quarterly film DVD magazine, a monthly culture magazine, and a daily humor website. The McSweeney's iPhone app is available through the Apple store. For more information, visit mcsweeneys.net.