- If Santa really delivered presents on ChristmasEve, he’d need to fly over a thousand times faster than the world’s faster jet fighter to visit about 240 million homes.
- If every kid received one mid-sized LEGO set, the gifts would weigh a whopping 600,000 tons.
- Just like a spacecraft heats up when re-entering the atmosphere, the reindeer would heat to blistering temperatures that would turn vaporise them!
- On the brighter side, Santa would snack on 720 million sugar cookies and drink enough milk to fill 23 Olympic sized swimming pools!
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: Every Christmas Eve, certain traditions say that Santa has just one night to deliver presents to millions of children around the globe. Now, this might seem unreasonable from a scientific perspective. But we wondered, exactly how unreasonable is it?
Overall, it’s difficult to determine how many people around the world celebrate a Santa-centric Christmas on December 25th. But if we consider certain religious and cultural traditions, we get a rough estimate of about 600 million people. Now, let’s say each household has, on average, two and a half kids. So Santa only needs to visit 240 million homes. Even better? He has more time to get the job done than you might think. Legend has it that he drops by when the kids are asleep. So that gives him eight hours, right? Well, hold up. We mustn’t forget about time zones. There are 24 broad time zones worldwide, each one hour apart. So factor in the different Christmas Eve start times across the planet, and Kringle’s got a luxurious 31 hours to make his deliveries.
Unfortunately, this is where his luck runs out. Because just to reach every house, he’ll have to fly 1,200 times faster than the world’s fastest jet fighter. That’s a lot to ask of nine reindeer, which can only gallop up to 80 kilometers per hour on average. Way too slow.
But to be fair, that’s the best they can do on the ground. Since we don’t know exactly how fast a reindeer can fly, let’s assume they can manage those incredible speeds. Even then, the load they have to lug is much too heavy for them. If every kid receives a single mid-sized Lego set, the bag alone would weigh a whopping 600,000 tons, or about 20 Statue of Liberties. Meanwhile, the average reindeer can pull up to twice their weight, or about 225 kilograms. So those deer aren’t going anywhere. And even if they could, well, it wouldn’t be pretty.
For starters, the team would create a massive sonic boom as they hurdle through the air at 3,000 times faster than the speed of sound, deafening any bystanders on the ground below. Merry Christmas folks! But it gets worse. Once Rudolph and Co. take off, they vaporise before they reach their first house. Just like how a rocket heats up when it reenters the atmosphere at tremendous speeds, the reindeer would heat to blistering temperatures that would turn them into venison jerky.
And Santa wouldn’t fare much better because he’s sitting on what amounts to the worst roller-coaster ride on Earth. When a typical coaster accelerates, you get pushed back against your seat. But in Santa’s case, to accelerate to those extreme speeds makes for a much stronger push. A force tens of thousands of times stronger than gravity would pin into the sleigh, smashing his bones and internal organs to jelly.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Let’s assume Santa and friends miraculously survive this ordeal. He slips his conveniently boneless body through chimney after chimney, drops off the gifts, and now gets to munch on his well-deserved treats. A lot of treats. If every household offers him three sugar cookies and one 8-ounce glass of whole milk, that’s 720 million cookies and enough milk to fill 23 Olympic swimming pools total. Now, that adds up to 396 billion calories. Plenty to see him through his hibernation until Christmas comes round again.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in December 2019.