How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?
Meatwad: "I just figured Santa was off to an early start this year. Because, you know, statistics show that there are more children in the world today. That's China's fault."
A question often brought up to disprove the existence of Santa Claus: How the hell could he deliver all those toys to so many children in one night? There are so many factors involved, it just wouldn't be possible by natural means.
But of course when Santa has flying reindeer and elves working with him, he might not be limited to natural means. The usual answer is that he can stop time.
Interestingly, most fiction questions ONLY how the toys are delivered, not how so many adults (even in the worlds of fiction) can fail to notice the toys, and thus not believe in him.
This trope comes into play whenever someone asks the question, but often someone will have an answer, or when Santa is shown to be real, we are given the actual answer.
Not to be confused with Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?
Anime & Manga
- Azumanga Daioh - Under the impression that Chiyo might still believe in Santa Claus, Kagura starts making up increasingly wild claims as to how Santa accomplishes his mission.
Tomo: Well, then how does he visit all those houses in one night?
- In a Finnish newspaper comic Väinämöisen paluu ("Vainamoinen Returns") the explanation of time-stopping hourglass is used. And then the Fridge Logic is played for all its worth, stating that Santa needs to work nonstop for weeks of subjective time, and needs intensive therapy every time to get over the stress and sleep deprivation.
- Played with in a DC Comics Holiday Special, in which Max Mercury (a super-speedster) has a great deal of trouble convincing Impulse (another speedster) that Santa doesn't exist.
Max: How does he visit all those houses in one night?
- In Santa Claus the Movie, the head elf says Christmas Eve would not stop until Santa is finished (fortunately Santa is too good to abuse this).
- In Ernest Saves Christmas, Ernest gives a spoof answer involving physics babble.
- Neil asks Charlie this in The Santa Clause.
- In the 90's remake of Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle explains that time slows down as he delivers presents.
- In the animated film, Arthur Christmas, its revealed that all the presents get delivered by Santa's high-tech operation hidden beneath the north pole. And here is the EXTREMELY high-tech sleigh
- This is only after the original sleigh is retired following a snafu with the previous Santa, who was detected by world governments who tried to shoot him down. Until then, Santas really did use a sleigh pulled by reindeer using magical pixie dust. While the new high-tech sleigh, called S-1, is larger by several orders of magnitude, it's also designed using modern stealth technology and even has active camouflage.
- Brought up in Artemis Fowl. The answer is to stop time.
- In Hogfather, Death simply states that Hogswatchnight is a special time. One where his manservant Albert can be alive all night, despite having only a few seconds left.
- One December issue of a children's science magazine responded to this question with a theory involving wormholes.
- In The Dresden Files's earliest short stories, Harry mentions in passing that Santa doesn't actually hand out toys to anyone but a small amount of children per Christmas.
Live Action TV
- This question is posed in The Nanny's animated Christmas episode "Oy to the World":
Grace: Fran, the storm is getting worse. How is Santa going to deliver all the presents?
- Oscar the Grouch asks Big Bird this in the classic Christmas Eve On Sesame Street.
- According to humorist Gene Weingarten, to reach all of the roughly 2 billion children on earth in 24 hours would require Santa to go at a speed approaching lightspeed, which on the first stop would destroy the world and all the little kiddies.
- In an animated Family Circus special, Jeffy asks Billy this, and Billy says Santa has a watch that stops time.
- Grimly deconstructed in Family Guy "The Road to the North Pole", where keeping this up turned the workshop into a Nightmarish Factory, and nearly gave Santa a fatal Heroic RROD.
- This is mentioned in the Recess episode "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave", in which Mikey attempts to prove that Santa is real and indeed can deliver all those toys. Gretchen counters that a man of his size could not fit through the chimney and that the speed he would need to travel at is simply impossible.
- The concept behind Prep and Landing is that an elite team of Christmas Elves go ahead of Santa to prep each home for his arrival. It doesn't explain everything, but it does imply that the elves do most of the heavy lifting.
- The Codename: Kids Next Door An Asskicking Christmas episode gives us an atypical explanation; instead of going out in a reindeer-pulled sleigh, Santa teleports the gifts directly to homes, with Christmas trees acting as homing beacons.