A Contortionist’s Guide to Climbing Down a Chimney

Please do not, under any circumstances, follow any of this advice (unless you’re actually Santa).


The idea that Santa, a man with a bulbous belly full of milk and cookies, can slide down a chimney might seem preposterous to the average human. But to a contortionist, even the tightest of squeezes is a mere challenge. To show you just how incredible Santa and his flexible bod really are, we spoke to an expert contortionist about the best way to climb up and down a chimney (warning: Climbing down a stranger’s chimney is illegal and weird, so never, ever try this). 

To get yourself started here’s just what to do! Get some tight spandex and skip a meal or two.
Assuming you don’t have Santa’s whopping waistline, your main worries when fitting down a chimney are your hips and shoulders, says contortionist Jonathan Burns. So be sure your chimney is wider than those. To stay flexible, don’t eat for a few hours beforehand, and as for attire, refrain from furry velvet suits. Instead, go for a spandex bodysuit to help you slide down the rough walls.

Slide down that chimney as quick as a flash — but be sure that the fire doesn’t burn your dumb ass!
If there’s any chance a fire is burning, pour a bucket of water down there. Then when climbing in, Burns suggests, go feet first, facing your knees in the direction of the fireplace opening. Slide your body in and brace yourself by applying pressure against your back and legs. Stick your arms straight up like a pencil, then work your body downward by shimmying your legs a little at a time. When you reach the bottom, crouch your legs and limbo your way out.

Then stuff yourself back up that chimney with glee… and next year perhaps, you can just use a key?
Go back up the same way you came, Burns advises, facing the fireplace opening. Grip the ridges on the rough walls to pull up your body as you brace yourself with your back and legs. Once you reach the top, you’ll have to do a pull-up out of the opening.

And here you thought Santa was lazy for only working one day a year.