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:

TASKS and TIMES

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~