I read this in an anthology perhaps twenty years ago.

There's a planet and the Earth people use the natives as a work force (maybe mining for some element) but a bit of trouble arises. A supervisor was idly chatting with his alien work gang and he mentioned Santa and Christmas presents. Now the aliens are stopping work because they want Christmas.

His boss tells him to sort it out, one way or another, or he's out of a job. Over several days he rigs up a kind of air sled and a costume and a load of cheap gifts, when he flies over the work camp the natives run around screaming "Sanny Caws! Sanny Caws!" in delight as he drops off the presents (they spoke a pidgin English)

The next day all are working as usual and he breathes a sigh of relief, until he realises they now expect Santa to arrive every year, unfortunately a year on this particular planet is only a few days long, therefore he needs to start all over again immediately

1 Answer 1


This is Christmas on Ganymede by Isaac Asimov.

The humans on Ganymede face a crisis caused by Olaf Johnson, who was inspired by the impending Christmas season to tell the Ossies about Santa Claus. Now the Ossies want a visit from Santa, and they refuse to work until they get one. This will cause Ganymedan Products to fall short of its quota, costing the company its franchise on Ganymede, and costing its employees their jobs. Scott Pelham, the Commander of the base, orders his men to stage a visit by Santa, with Johnson in the starring role. A flying sleigh is built out of gravo-repulsors and compressed air jets, and eight local animals called spinybacks, after being dosed with brandy to keep them docile, are harnessed to it to serve as reindeer. Johnson, dressed vaguely like Santa, manages to fly the contraption to a crude lodge where the Ossies are waiting for him. He leaves Christmas tree ornaments in their stockings, which the Ossies take to be Santa Claus eggs. All seems well, until the Ossies demand a visit from Santa every year, and one of the men realizes they mean once every Ganymedan revolution, which is just over seven Earth days.

There's mention of Sannycaws in the text.

He stopped for a moment and pointed to a ragged hole in the ceiling.

“Look!” he squawked. “Chimney. We make. Sannycaws come in.”

Pelham grunted approval. The Ossie clucked happily. He pointed to the little sacks of woven grass that hung from the walls.

“Look! Stockies. Sannycaws put presents!”


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