Santa's delivery schedule
Most people enjoy Christmas, but there's no doubting that children have the most fun at this time of year. The constant talk of presents, decorations and sweets is enough to get any youngster excited in the build-up to the big day.
With so many expectant kids in the UK, Santa Claus certainly has a monster task on his hands then. As delivery jobs go, it is by far the toughest. Even when the elves have finished their preparation work in Lapland, the plump present-pusher himself must make his way to the home of every well-behaved child in the world, squeezing down chimneys and tiptoeing around trees as he goes. Then there are the fuel (reindeer food) costs to consider; it's a logistical nightmare!
Fortunately, a mix of mince pies and meticulous mapping is usually enough to see Santa through the night, and everyone he visits can wake up to enjoy Christmas Day with their new toys.
Santa's job in numbers
According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are currently more 12 million children under the age of 16 living in the UK, a figure that's growing. Now, a large portion of these youngsters will have brothers and sisters yet to enter adulthood, so Santa doesn't quite have to make his way to that many homes, but we're still talking millions (you might want to listen carefully to this next bit...).
The ONS's research shows there are 3.7 million only-child families in the UK. A further three million family homes have two children pretending to be asleep on the night of Christmas Eve, and the remaining kids can be found with two or more siblings in one of 1.1 million houses. So, in total, this means Santa has to make approximately 7.7 million stops on his UK travels - and that's not even counting the adult-only homes!
A study carried out by the Daily Mail suggests the average postal worker delivers to just over 100 addresses in an hour, depending of course on the area. So, if Santa was to work at a similar pace - around 2.1mph - it would take 77,000 hours (or just over 3,208 days - or nearly nine years) to drop everything off at the right property.
A seasonal superhero
Seeing as Christmas happens once a year, the stats above are far from ideal. Fortunately, St. Nick knows a fair few shortcuts, and with the help of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and - of course - Rudolph, is able to make it around the UK and the rest of the world quicker than anyone else.
Christmas can be stressful for most grown-ups, with parents and business owners especially busy at this time of year. When you consider just how much work goes into ensuring everyone gets the presents they put on their lists, though, it's clear that Santa has the biggest job of all!