What’s going on here? How can one person – with a team of reindeer – visit homes around the world in one night? Well… physics, time zones, a bit of magic. That makes perfect sense. But why does Santa come down the chimney? How come this plump, jolly ole fellow opts to squeeze down an 8×8, 8×13, or 13×13” hole? On a roof? In places that often have feet of snow, inches of ice, and months of cold ahead? Why doesn’t he, with his round belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly, just waltz in the front door?

It’s time to come clean, Santa.

Smoke Goes Up: What Comes Down?

In the 15th century, many folks believed that witches, elves, fairies, and other otherworldly beings could pass through walls and doors. French scholar Petrus Mamoris thought people were giving the occult too much credence and power. So… he explained that these spectral visitors had to enter the chimney – often via broomstick.

Again, makes perfect sense.

The chimney was considered a portal that connected our world to the supernatural. Cultures around the world have stories and legends about chimney-traveling beings. In Slovenia, Skrat is a fairy who brings families riches and treasure. Scottish and English Brownies stole into houses at night – and cleaned them. (Sign us up for that!) Pelznichol, a German creation, slipped down into homes wearing old animal skins and wielding a whip, to reward good children and to scare the bejesus out of the naughty ones. Better watch out, better not cry…

Well. That’s a little dark.

Fortunately, the old Pelznichol story got a bit of an update. According to legend, St. Nicholas, a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey, dropped bags of gold down chimneys to help people in his community. The dutch word for St. Nicholas is Sinterklaas… Santa Claus. He did not carry a whip and the warning to abstain from crying and pouting was more in fun. Still, as the culture around Christmas evolved, Santa did deploy legions of elves to sit on shelves and make sure children were more nice than naughty.

Why Does Santa Come Down Your Chimney?

Because it’s clean!

He’s got a big job, and his dry cleaner has an even bigger one removing soot and ash on December 26. A clean chimney is not only a safe chimney – it is a Santa-approved chimney.

Are you ready for St. Nick’s arrival? Make sure to schedule your cleaning in the fall so you’re prepared for a safe, warm, cozy winter and a magical holiday season. Contact Brick + Ember.