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The magic of Christmas… We’re engineers, so come on, how does it really happen?

An article was written a few years ago as part of a study by The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair and others, into the science behind Christmas.

We are completely in awe over the statistics! We are engineers and our job is to make things happen (and at Plunkett Associates things happen quickly!) and yet we find ourselves struggling to be able to work at the pace of this extraordinary team that each year make Christmas happen. 

It has been reported that the Christmas Elves are “undoubtedly the most spectacular research and development outfit this planet has ever seen” and we completely agree. (Tim is hoping to be able to take a couple on, even if they’ll only do some part time shifts next year!)

Below are some extracts from that report as published in The Telegraph:

There are 1.85bn children in the world between the ages of zero and 14, and if the generous Santa gives two presents to each child, he has to wrap 3.7bn presents before Christmas Eve. 

Luckily, there is that incredible crew of elves to help. If these skilled employees can wrap a gift in just eight seconds, which adds up to roughly 1,000 years of work, Santa needs to employ 3,000 elves to work eight hours a day for a year in order to be ready on time. (There are no weekends in the North Pole.) 

To wrap 3.7bn presents, which need an 80cm length of gift wrap each, these elves go through 296bn cm -- or 1.8m miles -- of wrapping paper roll per year. That’s more than 7.5 times the distance from the Earth to the moon, or 72 times the circumference of the world.

Wrapping paper, at a cost of £1 for 2m, adds another £1.5bn to Santa’s bill. 

But all this preparation is for nothing if Santa can’t get the gifts under those tinselled trees in time for Christmas morning… 

To deliver presents to 1.85bn children, with an average of 2.5 children per household, Santa has to slide down 740m chimneys.

Assuming he has the eight hours from 10pm on Christmas Eve until 6am the next morning to empty his gift bag, Santa has 32 hours to work with due to the different time zones around the world. That means he needs to visit 390,000 homes per minute -- or 6,424 per second

If each house places a 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk and a mince pie by the fireplace, Santa drinks 148m litres of milk -- enough to fill around 60 Olympic-size swimming pools -- and eats 740m mince pies during his shift. 

As there are around 250 calories in a mince pie and 100 calories in the glass of milk, Santa consumes 259bn calories on Christmas Eve. Surely that’s enough to make anyone feel sick? :(

We’re making no comment, other than to say we’re pretty impressed! If you’re still in doubt, check out the NORAD tracking website on Christmas Eve, if the North American Aerospace Defense Command can dedicate an entire tracking system to the whereabouts of where the Big Man is, then there must be something in it surely?

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