Dear Santa,

Does your back hurt from Ho Ho Hauling all those toys around?  Have all the milk and cookies made you a little top heavy?  Well, I think I can help.  I’ve been watching plenty of Christmas movies and I’ve noticed that you don’t quite have the best lifting form.  I have a few recommendations that might help lessen your après-noel backache.

First off, put a dang strap on that bag of yours.  I mean come on man, its 2014.  Don’t you think the elven technology is advanced enough to sew on a couple backpack straps, or how about an Osprey backpack with a built in frame?  And Santa, try switching it up a bit.  I know you’re right handed, but maybe you should sling that heavy sack over your left shoulder every once in a while.

Secondly, when delivering the goods, try to practice proper lifting and squatting technique.  I’ve stayed up late and have seen how you rush to put those heavy presents under the tree.  Take a little time Santa, you’re magic and you have all night.

Here are a few pointers:

  • The first act of squatting should be tilting your hips forward and sticking your jolly ‘ole butt backwards.  This puts the spine in a better position to hold your body weight plus the weight of that Xbox One (hint hint).
  • Your weight should be centered over your heels, not your toes.  This maintains your balance and allows you to keep a safer center of gravity.
  • Get low.  Drop your butt down to at least knee level.
  • Before you pick that toy-pack up and zip out the chimney, look up.  Looking up before lifting something heavy will help prevent rounding of your back and allow you to safely stand up with all that weight.

Last but not least, maybe pass on some of the cookies.  You’re supposed to be jolly, we get it, but a little core work and a few less sweets can take away some of that anterior weight you’ve been toting around.  The more your body weight pulls you forward, the harder it is to have proper lifting technique.  Also, I know how much you like Property Brothers on HGTV.  So you know the new trend is to be minimalist.  Not everyone has chimneys, and if they do, they don’t always have a huge traditional one for you to shimmy down.  And what about gas fireplaces?  You might have to squeeze through a window sometimes.  Just remember, a slender Santa is an efficient Santa.

So there you go, Big Guy.  I hope this helps.  You’ve got a busy, stressful night ahead of you.  Follow these steps and maybe you won’t need all of those 364 days to recover.