He travels the world in a single day, and can see everything that’s going on, all at once. He has super-strength, and can even shapeshift. We’re not talking about a superhero. Instead, we’re talking about Santa Claus. And now, you’re him! Don’t worry, in What If anyone can be Santa. Now, It’s your job to deliver presents around the world to billions of people, all within a single night. So, you’ve made your list and checked it twice. Now you’re ready to deliver presents to the entire world. But your work wouldn’t start on Christmas Eve. You’d be working a lot longer than that to produce all these gifts. Sure, not everyone celebrates Christmas, but let’s assume that every kid on Earth will get a gift this year, just to make this more fun. How much would something like this cost anyway? If we assume that every kid gets something, even a lump of coal, if they were bad, that would over 1.9 billion children you’d be delivering gifts to. Luckily, you would have your elves on staff to help you make all the gifts. You could put them to work mining the coal, too. Instead of building all these gifts from scratch, your elves would probably act more like an Amazon fulfillment center of some kind. We know from Amazon’s numbers that they have 175 fulfillment centers, employing about a quarter-million people. During the holiday season of 2016, they sent out over 1 billion packages. We can expect our staff numbers to increase by hundreds of thousands of elves if we want to send out almost 2 billion gifts. And if each gift costs about $75, the cost of our presents would be nearly $143 billion. The expenses wouldn’t end with that, either. You’d have to have a tricked out sleigh to deliver all these gifts. The most important thing you’d need would be a heat shield. Traveling at the high speeds necessary to make this work, you’d be encountering friction in the atmosphere similar to meteors crashing down to Earth. It’s safe to say that without a heat shield, you’ll barely make it to the first set of houses. So, assuming you’ve figured
out a way to survive all this, what else would the sleigh need? Well, it would need to be incredibly big. If each gift weighs about 1 kg (2.2 lbs), the presents on your sleigh would weigh nearly 2 billion kgs (4.4 billion lbs). And how would you be able to move this massive cargo? Well, by magical flying reindeer, of course! I mean, we could strap some rockets onto our sleigh, but come on, it’s Christmas. Don’t be a grinch. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t get to know every reindeer’s name, like Rudolph or Dasher or Dancer or Prancer or Vixen. That’s because, to move all these gifts, you’ll need a ton more reindeer. If a single reindeer can haul about 140 kg (309 lbs), then you’ll need more than 14 million reindeer to move your sleigh. So this entire contraption, with reindeer included, would weigh over 4 billion kg (8.8 billion lbs). Let’s hope the reindeer and the sleigh can constantly float, because landing on a roof, is pretty much gonna crush it. Okay, now that you’re ready for your trip, how fast would you need to travel? Well, assuming my math is right, you’d need to move 13,000 times faster than the speed of sound and deliver to 5,600 homes every second. That’s .2 milliseconds to park your sleigh, grab the gifts, get into the house, set down the presents, grab a cookie, oh right, I forgot about the cookies. If you want to be a good and polite Santa, you’re going to need to do a lot of eating. Since it’s customary for people
to leave some sort of snack for Santa to eat during all this hard work, you’re going to need to eat over 600 million food items. This will range anywhere from mince pies in Scotland, to good old fashioned cookies and milk in North America. Yeah this may sound fantastic at first, but you’ll quickly realize how big a task you have in front of you. If each home has, 150 calories worth of food for you to eat, by the end of the night, you’ll have consumed over 93 billion calories. Or as I call it, Friday. For reference, in your entire lifetime, you’ll be lucky to consume 100 million calories. But you’ll undoubtedly be burning off quite a few of these calories
as you go throughout the night. Even the act of chewing and digesting this much food would burn at least 10% of them. And sure, you might be tired by the end of all this, but think of what you’ve just done! You’ve made billions of kids happy, all around the world. Now you can rest, and get ready to do it all over again next year. This sure would be a lot easier if we could travel through time. But we’ll leave that story for another WHAT IF.