No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species

of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects

and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only

Santa has ever seen.

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But

since Santa doesnt (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist

children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total – 378 million according

to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per

household, thats 91.8 million homes. One presumes theres at least one good

child 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). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that

for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second

to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings,

distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been

left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next

house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed

around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of

our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per

household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what

most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that Santas sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times

the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on

earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second – a

conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that

each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh

is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as

overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds.

Even granting that flying reindeer (see point #1) could pull ten times

the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need

214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload – not even counting the weight of

the sleigh – to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison – this is four times the

weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air

resistance – this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts

re-entering the earths 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 create

deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized

within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to

centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa

(which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by

4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion – If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, hes

dead now.