Santa Claus is coming... at mach 12!!!

Since it’s getting close to that ultimate of Christian and capitalist holidays, I thought I’d ask a Santa question…

If Santa was to visit the house of every good girl and boy in a night, how fast would he have to travel?

Please add and remove any factors from this you which, such as eliminating non-Christians, adding time for Santa to snack on milk and cookies, defining ‘night’ as 24 hours as it’s always night somewhere, etc.

I’m thinking of just using Fed-Ex this year. I’m still ass-whipped from all that flying last December 24…Can’t you people do some shopping for your own damned kids?
Ho, Ho, Ho, and all that good crap.

1.There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the
Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per
household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at
least one good child in each.

  1. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth,
    assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whateve snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney,
    jump into the sleigh and get on to the
    next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around theearth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second — 3,000 times the speed of sound. (For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a comparitively poky 27.4 miles per second,

  2. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the “flying” reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them — Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen
    Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

  3. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance — this would heat up the reindeer in the same
    fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within
    4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the
    fifth house on his trip. Not that it really matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and
    organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink and white goo.

  4. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s dead now.

    P.S. Sorry Virginia - you may have been misinformed after all!


Stephen’s Website
Satellite Hunting 1.1.0 visible satellite pass prediction
shareware available for download at
Satellite Hunting

Bad man say Santa dead!

Relax everyone, Santa is not dead. I offer you this as evidence.

The previous perspective on Santa is flawed, not in the assumptions and calculations made, but in the underlying assumption that Santa does not exist. If you start with a false premise, you will draw a false conclusion.

The computer scientist realizes that the fact is, Santa leaves presents each Christmas at millions of homes; therefore, he must exist. The real problem, then, is determining HOW he does it.

Clearly, traveling at 650 miles per second (39,000 miles per hour) is much greater than the earth’s escape velocity (25,000 miles per hour), and, impossible due to the reasons stated. The answer: parallel processing. The question is not “How fast must Santa travel?”, but “How many Santas must there be to accomplish the task?”

Accepting the assumptions below, and rounding a bit, the Santas need to make an average of 970 visits per second. Considering the number of seconds required to make a visit, conservatively, we have:


Park the sleigh: assume no parallel parking needed on roof - 150(Sec.)
Jump down the chimney: assume a typical 25-foot chimney, at 1ft/sec - 25(Sec.)
Fill the stockings: round to 4 children, 2 adults, 15 sec/stocking - 90(Sec.)
Distribute the remaining presents under the tree: assume 2 presents each, 4 children, 10 sec/present - 80(Sec.)
Eat whatever snacks have been left for him: average 2 cookies + 8 ounce beverage - 60(Sec.)
Get back up the chimney: a bit slower going up, twice the time - 50(Sec.)
Jump into the sleigh: about the same as getting in car with seat belt - 10(Sec.)

TOTAL TIME REQUIRED PER VISIT - 465(Sec.) or (7.75 min)

With an average visit time of 465 seconds, and the need to average 970 visits per second, it is obvious that there must be at least 451,000 Santa operatives working on Christmas Eve.

This easily solves the problem. The 500,000 tons of presents can be easily distributed across all the Santas, resulting in a payload for each sleigh of about 2200 pounds. If each conventional reindeer can pull 300 pounds, we have a requirement of 7.4 reindeer. How interesting! That means that using a standard 8 reindeer team provides an 8% extra capacity factor, and, if a Red-Nosed Reindeer is included in each team for a total of 9, the sleigh is loaded only at 80% capacity (this would easily allow for the additional weight of a modern, light-weight sleigh).

108 million stops could easily be made by the Santas, who would each need to make only about 240 stops. 240 stops times 7.75 minutes each would take… 31 hours, just as predicted below.

Santa is alive and well… all 451,000 of them.

Merry Christmas!

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”
~P.J. O’Rourke~

That, of course, is the reason there are so many different names for Santa (Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Sinterklaus(sp), etc.). These are just the few names that have slipped out to us, there are actually many more.


Mother apparently knew better than to request Lladro.

Stephen’s Website
Satellite Hunting 1.1.0 visible satellite pass prediction
shareware available for download at
Satellite Hunting

I believe this is answered already on the web as its the fancy of physics classes to take upon this every year. As well as calculating the price of all the stuff in the 12 days of…

And for those of you fearing that Santa is dead, rejoice!

Santa is alive and well, and is, in fact, a regular poster to the Straight Dope Message Board.

I had to post to this one…

What people don’t understand is that Santa doesn’t fly around dropping off presents - and I know what I’m going to tell you will be shocking to some…but Santa gets to his destinations by “folding” space. His magic dust emits a frequency that disrupts the harmonics of space/time allowing him instantaneously “be” wherever he want’s. He then simply walks through a “portal” and into your living room.

Some people of many years past actually witnessed this mind-blowing event. To better describe the phenomena to their cave-dwelling comrades they constructed crude ring shaped objects from leaves and twigs and such. This is where our ornamental wreathes of today originated.

The only side effect to his method of transportation is the amount of toll it wrecks on the human body. To prevent this Santa has had to genetically alter himself through many years of cloning. Some of these clones were less than successful and banished from Claus Industries only to ring a bell in front of your local wal-mart. Give them money, it appeases them, thus keeping them from going on mad killing sprees.

Anyway, after he has penetrated your dwelling his elven cohorts pass the cargo to him through the “portal”; After which he refuels his heavily taxed system by eating snacks and what-nots left by anticipatory children.

The reindeer and slay that we associate with his image are the result of a madman’s ramblings taken too seriously back when people didn’t know any better than to listen to such nonsense and have stuck ever since. These and many other symbols and traditions related to Santa only help legitimize what is - the Santa Claus propaganda machine.

So how does he find your house you may ask? Well, that’s the tricky part. You see he has a device that is calibrated to the frequency that is created when neutrinos pass through and are temporarily tapped inside small spherical objects we know of today as the decorative bulbs we adorn our Christmas tree with.

The Santa clones and Santa #1 are all part of an evil plot to undermine the human race by making us over-dependant on the gifts he brings. Eventually we will all be slaves to his insane whims and imprisoned in his subterranean kingdom constructing colorful wooden toys that he will use to secure another unsuspecting planet.

Any more questions about Santa?

How about I take on the Easter Bunny. You see he’s got this modified potato cannon that he caries around with him…

Thanks, guys ‘n’ gals: This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time!


I need new glasses. I thought the title said Santa’s coming on March 12, which gives me a little more time for Christmas shopping.

I’d hate to disagree with ** Waneman** on the folding theory (what am I talking about? Of course I do. I haven’t folded a single piece of clothing in the ten years since I moved away from home.) There is, however, a solid body of direct evidence that Santa makes his rounds in the traditional reindeer-powered way. Here is one of my favorite holiday links:
Norad’s Official Santa Tracking Site

Happy Holidays!

Once in a while you can get shown the light
in the strangest of places
if you look at it right…

I think ol’ St. Nick has been visiting that rock/cave from The X-Files episode RUSH! Those high school kids were moving pretty damn quick!

Happy Holidays!

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’”
E A Poe