Kids tell how Santa travels around the world in one night

By KEVIN TANKERSLEY / Waco Tribune-Herald

WACO, Texas -- We've all heard the story about how Santa Claus travels around the world on Christmas Eve, distributing toys to all the children. But how does he do it? That's an awfully long trip to make in one night, a huge number of boys and girls to visit. Can it actually be done?

By golly, it can.

"I think Santa gets around the world in one night because he has a jet engine in his sleigh. Also he has parachutes on his presents," said Peter McLeod, a second grader at Midway's South Bosque Elementary School.

Peter and his second-grade classmates offered their opinions as to how Santa makes his annual rounds.

The ideas mostly broke down into Santa's time management skills, the speed of reindeer and magic. And it helps if he doesn't need to stop at every house.

"Santa can only go to houses of children who have been good all year, and just skips houses of children who have been bad all year," believes Amy Koester.

Ashley Davis agrees:

"Santa always has a list so he won't go to the wrong houses whose child or children have been bad. He has a good list for a good child or children."

Catherine Rich and Destini Stead put their faith in the magic argument.

"Santa Claus is so magic he can make Christmas Eve long," said Catherine, while Destini added, "Santa goes to all the houses on one night because he's magic."

"Everyone knows he has magic reindeer," says Bryce Lindley. "When he says, ÔGo' in Texas, they're already in New York."

Kaysea Hoopman is one of several youngsters who said the key to Santa's success each year is the swiftness of his hoofed helpers.

"The reindeer pull his sled and the reindeer go fast as lightning," she said. "He makes the reindeer slow down at every house. When there are no houses, he makes the reindeer go the speed of lightning."

Joshua Martinez echoed those thoughts: "His reindeer are very, very powerful and he might go 203 miles per hour or 2,003."

Joshua, who recently moved to Waco from Albuquerque, N.M., said the jolly man likes the city of Santa Fe.

Santa can play with the clock to help on his mission as well, claim a couple of children.

He can "turn a second into a year and a minute into a century," said Benjamin Burns, while Stephen Leinfelder believes, "Santa makes time stop and then he makes it go."

Carroll Crowder has a very practical answer as to how Santa makes his appointed rounds:

"Kris (Kringle) stops time, then he travels half of the world, restarts time and travels the other half. You see, he can really only travel half the world in one night."

"Santa Claus is magic so he can fly, and stop to put the presents by the tree and finish one side of the world, then the other. Santa Claus is magic so he can make Christmas Eve longer," says Kelsey Gentsch.

And of course everyone knows when Santa actually delivers the goods.

"Santa can only go to houses of children because the parents are asleep," says Gavin Gross. "Santa goes very early."

"The sleigh holds Santa up and deer pull the sleigh. That's at night when kids are asleep. Then Santa delivers the presents to the kids," says Jimmy Reynolds.

Megan McDaniel thinks Santa has his routine down pat:

"I think he does it this way. He doesn't take time to look around the house. First he puts the presents under the tree. Then he eats his cookies."

And that's not a bad plan.

Courtesy of *Is there a Santa Claus?*

No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are millions of 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 doesn't (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, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's 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 75.5 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 Santa's 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 anoint, 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 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 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.