Santa’s sleigh has been moved into launch position now in the Sleigh Barn.
What that means is that the sleigh itself is completely ready. It has been washed and waxed. All instruments have been freshly calibrated. Al communication systems have been checked.
Two big things have to happen before launch. The bells need to be brought in and the reindeer need to be hitched to the sleigh. This is a task Santa reserves for himself. He begins about an hour before launch, carefully checking the bridle on each reindeer, talking to them as he moves along. Of course, he starts at the rear with Donner and Blitzen and moves his way forward all the way to Rudolph.
As Santa completes each “team” and moves on the the next week, the bell technicians move in behind him to position the bells. Believe it or not, this is a procedure they practice all the time. It is very important that it is done exactly right.
Because of the weather, as is frequently the case on Christmas Eve at the North Pole, a “short launch” from a standing position from within the sleigh barn is necessary. This means that instead of a slow gradual ascent powered by a long trot the reindeer must begin with a burst of speed like they are running a short race.
As Santa gently walks the reindeer towards the large double doors he briefly stops, gives his command and the reindeer take off like a shot straight into the blowing snow. This too is a procedure they have practiced many times.
To answer those who always ask this question: no, Rudolph’s nose is OFF for this kind of take-off. The reason is because in heavy falling snow his light reflects off the snow flakes. It actually makes it harder for the reindeer to see if it is on. Only after the team is airborne does Rudolph “turn it on”.