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Santa Won't Get Stuck in Customs This Year

Santa Won’t Get Stuck in Customs This Year, Vows to Improve Christmas Eve On-Time Deliveries


Santa’s Down the Chimney package distribution service is *twinkling* brightly this year after the silly snafus with customs in 2009. By using the ATA Carnet, Santa’s gear will clear customs more rapid than eagles once again. Use of The Merchandise Passport, should merrily speed Santa with:

  • a "miniature sleigh,"
  • 8 harnesses,
  • 1 set of reins,
  • 16 saddlebags,
  • 8 burlap feed sacks,
  • 8 hard-working reindeer, and
  • an extra-large cloth pack

through customs, hassle, tax and duty-free. It will also guarantee that Santa doesn’t have to send his elves (or outside contractors) on last-minute "flash" deliveries of toys while his impounded gear, including the eight tiny reindeer, prancing and pawing, awaits release from customs. For millennia Santa relied on the wink and a nod of customs inspectors in 196 countries around the world to expedite his holiday voyage. In the current climate of heightened security and economic pressure, however, even Santa Claus can't just lay his finger on aside of his nose anymore.

Facing this challenge, Mrs. Claus, the North Pole’s Operations Director, vowed to meet the obstacle head-on. “Santa’s brand and image were temporarily sullied last year. That just can’t happen again. It’s embarrassing enough for his little round belly to squeeze through the x-ray machines without having to sit in dreary, Politburo-style offices in Moscow customs wasting precious time. Last year he ran out of the reindeers’ protein bars and energy drinks and had to feed them water chestnuts and snow peas in Beijing . Prancer's appetite was dashed,” she lamented.

Afraid of repeating last year’s debacle of border delays, and on Mrs. Claus’ orders, the North Pole Logistics Department just completed a comprehensive audit of Santa’s Christmas Eve international delivery procedures. Serendipitously, Mrs. Claus saw a video with an ATA Carnet carried on Air Force One by a CNN crew for the NATO Summit in Lisbon . Mrs. Claus quipped, “If it was good enough for President Obama, it’s good enough for Santa Claus.” With that, she e-mailed ATA Carnet providers in Russia , Denmark , Norway , Canada and the United States to get the documentation arranged. “The North Pole is bordered by several world powers and they were all clamoring to issue the first ATA Carnet to Santa Claus. In the spirit of multinational cooperation, we decided to use a carnet from each of them. Now Santa can return to whistling, shouting, bounding and being lively and quick,” Mrs. Claus stated diplomatically.

The newly-hired Logistics Director for the North Pole, Stan Skolodicz, formerly of SOS Global, declared, “I take personal responsibility for improving Santa’s on-time deliveries by implementing use of the ATA Carnet at the North Pole. We know that at least 87 countries and territories accept it without question as they are members of the worldwide ATA Carnet guarantee chain. The others have agreed to accept the carnet in the single, annual instance of Christmas Eve, as long as the traditional CEEF00 document accompanies the carnet. Santa will avoid unnecessary delays and embarrassing gaffes while trying to get to every house-top like a flash,” Skolodicz asserted.

Delivery delays peaked in 2009 with heightened security measures and pressure to collect customs duties and import taxes. Previously, Santa’s gear, considered tools-of-the–trade to be temporarily imported, was allowed to clear customs everywhere with a traditional wink and nod. The professional equipment traveled under a special international temporary import document known as the CEEF00 or the Christmas Eve Exception Form 00 issued by the International Chamber of Commerce. Last year, however, many customs agencies refused to honor the CEEF00 on the grounds that it didn’t provide adequate guarantees of re-exportation and inspection. Specifically, the Chinese, Chilean, Australian, French and Canadian customs authorities made a big clatter. They would not allow Santa’s gear to enter their countries’ even when the Christmas morning smiles of their nation’s sugar plum-dreaming youngsters were at stake. They required production of all the usual customs clearance paperwork, duty and tax deposits and veterinarian certifications. “Santa was held up for hours while the Elves and Veterinarian Sam Bootz’z’z scurried to complete the forms. You would have thought Santa was a peddler the way his pack was inspected. Fortunately, freight forwarder Western Overseas in New York provided an iPad app with all the customs forms. Otherwise Christmas would have been postponed ‘til the 26th,” exclaimed Lead Elf, Jerry Blufari. In a rare admission Blufari even confessed that Confirmed Freight, FedEx, UPS, Malca-Amit, the gold medal-winning U.S. Bobsled team and DHL were called in to assist in expediting deliveries and filling stockings.

Eventually Santa, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, the gear and millions of wrapped gifts, were released and flew away on their time-sensitive journey. Local press in the affected countries reported only several thousand children awoke to a clatter to find soot-sodden Santa in their living rooms…just a little later than expected. But millions more sleepy-eyed little ones were affected in a less obvious way: upon Santa’s return to the North Pole, Elf Blufari reconciled the delivery orders to discover that they had received gifts not intended for them. “Being under so much pressure after the impounding, a few toys got mixed up…but the jolly old elf figured it out. We had nothing to dread. Santa magically made sure that every deserving kid received a present even if it wasn’t exactly the right present,” boasted Blufari, "and it was a Happy Christmas for all and for all a good-night!"