Even though they still call the sleigh they are test flying Version 2 there is one detail that may be all new this year: the sleigh bells.
The bells are a very important part of Santa’s sleigh. The reindeer depend on them. Their musical quality – which must be very precisely tuned – works with the reindeer to keep them moving together.
The Sleigh Department this year consulted with musical authorities around the world to see if the bells could be improved. Recordings of last year’s ride and experimentation with several different types of bells has provided Santa with several new options that will be tested on the sleigh with select reindeer in the coming weeks. Here are some of the new bell configurations they are testing:
1. Electronic Bells – these are bells that remove the reindeer completely from the equation by playing tones that a pre-programmed electronically via a computer on Santa’s sleigh. The idea behind this test is to keep the reindeer engaged by making the bells less predictable and more entertaining. This is Santa’s least favorite idea and he doesn’t believe this will be effective. But he did approve testing the idea.
2. Pre-programmed Bells – this is a complex system of bells featuring more than 200,000 pre-programed tones. They are designed to play different frequencies under differing circumstances. In a storm, for example, the bells may sound louder and more urgent. At a still night in a warm climate, the bells may sound more relaxed. The idea is to make the bells match the challenge the reindeer face – helping to conserve energy or to add urgency in their efforts.
3. Speed Bells – these bells are designed specifically for Santa’s team based upon tests given to them after last Christmas. They were tested to see what bell tones were more attractive to them. The theory is that bells of favored tones placed near each reindeer will motivate them to move faster. This was the easiest of all bells to set up and it has been tested successfully in trial runs last January. Adjustments have been made and they are ready to test again. Santa likes this idea better because it is a natural step forward from how the bells are presently set up for his sleigh.
These tests will be conducted but it is unknown if any of them will be put into place for this year’s sleigh.
It is believed that Santa’s sleigh is so well developed that they have time to begin running these tests just as soon as the Reindeer Games are complete.