Santa's Christmas workshop is real — and it looks nothing like you probably imagined.
Oliver Wainwright describes what it's like working as Santa's helper, per the Guardian. Ironically, he notes, few of the workers at the factories of Yiwu really have an idea of what Christmas even is:
"Maybe it's like [Chinese] New Year for foreigners," says 19-year-old Wei, a worker who came to Yiwu from rural Guizhou province this year, speaking to Chinese news agency Sina. Together with his father, he works long days in the red-splattered lair, taking polystyrene snowflakes, dipping them in a bath of glue, then putting them in a powder-coating machine until they turn red – and making 5,000 of the things every day.
The working conditions in Yiwu have alarmed some international observers. "From a health and safety perspective, the exposure to harmful chemicals and solvents is disturbing," Smith told Quartz. "I also witnessed manufacturing techniques with machines that could easily be criticized from a Western vantage point."
There is one bright side, however. Smith noted: "The social working environment, working hours and general atmosphere of the factory was actually more pleasant than I have experienced in other manufacturing sectors." Somehow we doubt it has anything to do with getting into the Christmas spirit.