There are approximately two billion children worldwide. With an average of 3.5 kids per home, Ol’ Kris Kringle will need to visit about 571 million homes this coming Christmas Eve.
If said kids leave two cookies and a glass of milk in each home, our intrepid red-togged hero will snarf something in the neighborhood of 148 billion calories.
Our rotund dude can plausibly burn 151 calories per mile. But to burn all those 148 billion, he’d have to jog, like, 980 million miles–or almost 40,000 times around the Earth. That jaunt would take him just shy of 19,000 years, figuring he’d be averaging 6 miles per hour.
Oh, no, intrepid reader. We’re not done . . .
Assuming even elves get Christmas Day off, to wrap and label two billion toys in 364 days, those diminutive little multicolored tornadoes would need to process 5.5 million gifts per day. Think about it. When’s the last time you heard of any kid settling for one Christmas present? But let’s stay with our single-gift-per-child scenario. According to my ultra-secret and highly-reliable sources*, that calls for a 4,600-member elf team working nonstop in two eight-hour shifts.
Still with me? Okay.
Next, the workshop. Well, two, really. They’d each need to measure 1.3 million square feet, which for Green Bay fans is about the size of 44 football fields all under one roof.
Here’s the part that just sleighs me. For chuckles, let’s assume each gift weighs about 2 pounds. That means Santa needs to load 2 millions tons of those puppies on his sleigh. No, I don’t mean real puppies. They always need to go outside and—well, let’s stipulate it would take awhile. Keep up. For non-mystical, boring flight Nazis who refuse to believe Prancer and Blitzen can soar and want a recount? To pull this off in the time required would call for a fleet of 13,000 Boeing 747-8 freight aircraft.
So there you have it. The (real) cold facts surrounding what Santa, his elves and eight reindeer pull off every year about this time. Amazing, isn’t it?
To snorf is to suddenly and simultaneously expel short huffs of air through both nose and mouth. It’s a universal disillusioned adult’s way of non-verbally opining, “Really? Heeyaah, right… Get real!”
That’s what we grownups do when our littlest family members mention Santa. After all, WE know the only real magic during Christmas is when, having survived Walmart’s Extreme “Get-To-The-Front-While-Still-Breathing” Combo Games**, you hear over the loudspeaker, “All checkout-trained personnel to the front of the store to–uh, checkout!”
Not so fast, my faith-challenged friend. Perhaps the greatest Christmas magic of all is that Santa manages to pull off getting almost everything every child truly wants, wrapped and under whatever tree they have, all while kneeling himself at a roughened feeding trough, gazing along with two exhausted parents and a motley bunch of shepherds at A Little Boy who would be King of Kings.
“The magic?”, you impatiently ask as you feverishly check your Fitbit and iPhone. The real magic, my friend, is that Santa gets you to slow down long enough to help him pull off this gargantuan task every year.
Make some time between now and Christmas Day to read from Luke chapters 1 and 2. Reacquaint yourself with those words on a Bible’s pages. Resist the urge to pull up YouVersion on your phone or iPad. Open the nearest Bible. Inhale the mysterious tang of paper, ink and God . . .
Then glance over at the gifts under your tree. I’m guessing you’ll grin just like I am right now. “Santa, you wise, intriguing, magical, mischievous, sainted guy–you’ve done it again! Same time next year?”
* My source for all those facts is none other than those fun, interesting gnomes and elves at DollarShaveClub.com. Yes, I use some of their products, and yes, I recommend them. All their great, fun info is under separate copyright.
** Those games consist of getting all the items on your shopping list into your cart; keeping them there despite the thieving, jealous, wily glances of other shoppers; navigating those jagged, screaming, No-Rules bloody aisles to freedom at the single open checkout line; keeping your place in that line; and doing all that without using all the items in your Emergency Shopper’s Medical Kit.
© D. Dean Boone, December 2016