Most of us had to deal with the life-altering, world-shaking revelation at some point in out life that Santa Claus is nothing but a hoax. But since that trauma, almost no one has ever really focused on why the proposition of giving every under 18 child around the world three basic toys, using a factory with 500 people in various occupations and then delivering all of them in one night is not really plausible.
Let’s find out!
Total Number Of Kids To Satisfy:
According to CIA, around 27 percent of the world’s population is aged 0–14. Extrapolate it to the ages of 0–17, and it comes to around 32.8 percent of the world. Below are the population estimates by Regions in the World (2016), along with the 32.8% calculation.
- North America: 579 million (190 million kids)
- South America: 423 million (139 million kids)
- Europe + Russia: 887 million (291 million kids)
- India: 1252 million (411 million kids)
- East Asia/Oceania: 3043 million (988 million kids)
- Africa: 1216 million (399 million kids)
This takes the total to 2.43 billion kids! Easy peasy for an imaginary fat man flying about in the sky!
Cost And Weight of The Gifts:
Take an estimate of $10 per child in making the three toys, which also includes packaging and wrapping paper. Take an average weight of a package to be 2 kg per child with a volume of 0.01 m3. This churns out the toy budget to be $24.3 billion while leaving the Santa Claus to fit 4.86 billion kg and a volume of 48.6 million m3 worth packages on his magical sledge. Poor reindeer, who have to carry this along with the fat old man!
Okay, so we have decided that Santa can’t use the 10 reindeer for the purpose. And also lets assume that due to cheap labour he has located his factory near Shenzhen, China. What would the air freight cost him if we are looking to ship from Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport? Below are rough cost estimates:
- North America: Hong Kong – Los Angeles: $19 to $3.61 billion
- South America: Hong Kong – Panama: $20 to $2.78 billion
- Europe + Russia: Hong Kong – Frankfurt: $19 to $5.53 billion
- Africa: Hong Kong – Port Said (Egypt): $22 to $8.78 billion
- India: Hong Kong – Mumbai: $25 to $10.28 billion
- Asia: Hong Kong – Beijing: $21 to $20.7 billion
This brings the total to $95.8 billion
Besides the cost, there are simply not enough planes to ship these many gifts in just one night. In 2015, FedEx managed to ship 16.02 billion tonne-km of air freight, and mind you that’s in an entire year! Modern cargo aircraft can carry around 39,780 kg (Boeing 757–200 freighter) to 134,200 kg (Boeing 747–8F). Taking an average capacity of 80,000 kg per plane, Santa will need about 60,750 long-haul flights and an equal number of short-haul ones.
While we mourn the lack of aircraft, no modern airport can accommodate air traffic of this magnitude. An average airport allows a plane to take off every 60 seconds, making it 1440 flights/day. In short, this entire mission would take around four days to ship, then add a couple of more days for the door to door delivery service.
Santa needs to have $24.3 billion to make the toys, along with an additional $95.8 billion for the airfare. Surely he can’t earn this much even by stealing the milk and cookies from 2.43 billion houses he visits on Christmas Eve!