Amusing Stats About Santa & His Flying Reindeer


Below is a very eye-opening and amusing story I came across recently about the possibility of Santa and his faithful helpers making their annual pilgrimage around the world later this week. I’d like to share this with all of you readers out there for your enjoyment. I’m sure this has circulated around cyberspace already a few times… as I claim no responsibility for the writing of this article.

Prepare yourself for some amazing as well as intriguing revelations and enjoy this particular account of the possibilities…..

Amusing Statistics About Santa & His Flying Reindeer

There are no known species of reindeer that are able to fly. However, there are roughly 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified. While most of these are insects and germs, this does not necessarily rule out flying reindeer – Though Santa and my uncle Ralph (back in his drinking days) are the only people who have ever reported seeing any.

There are two billion children (small people under the age of 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn’t (appear to) handle most non-Christian children (including Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, etc.) that reduces the workload to about 15 per cent of the total (roughly 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau). At a rate of, say 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes. One presumes there’s at least one good kid in each.

Santa has 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 and makes the most sense).  That’s 822.6 visits per second. For each eligible household, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, put presents under the tree, eat any snacks, kiss mommy (when available), zoom back up the chimney, hop into the sleigh and move on.

Assuming each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth, (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purpose for our calculations), we’re now talking about 0.78 miles per household – a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to let Santa and the reindeer do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours.

This means that Santa’s sleigh moves at 650 miles per second, or 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles a second. A conventional reindeer, by the way, can run 15 miles per hour – tops – or 0.004 miles per second.

Now the payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming each child gets nothing more that a medium-sized Lego set (about two pounds each), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, and that’s not counting chubby Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting flying reindeer could pull 10 times the normal amount, Santa would need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload (not counting the sleigh) to 353,430 tons, or four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth II (the ship, not the monarch).

Now 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles a second creates enormous air resistance, which would heat the reindeer to incandescence in the same fashion as spacecraft or meteors entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy – Per second –  Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms. The entire team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.

Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500.06 gravities. A 250-pound Santa (a wee bit of an underestimate) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, in conclusion….. “If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he’s dead now.” 😦

Oh….. And by the way….. Merry Christmas!


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