By Nolan Musslewhite '19
From infancy, children are told the tale of the jolly, magical, red man who hails from the North, the peerless, panoptic (recall that he “sees you when you’re sleeping”), omniscient (again recall that “he knows when you’re awake”), eternal being who, every year on the night of December 24th, trespasses into our homes through our chimneys, devours the sacrifice left in his honor, and leaves some manufactured goods in return. Indeed, the statistics are dumbfounding; 526,000,000 children in a single evening, scattered from Boston to Honolulu to London, and everywhere in between. If we assume an average of 5 gifts per child, at 3 pounds per gift, we calculate that Santa’s sleigh has a payload of 3,945,000 tons. And those are conservative estimates. By comparison, the world's largest cargo aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, has a maximum payload of 275 tons. But do we find an armada of over 14,000 Soviet jets screaming through the skies on the eve of the 24th? No. Believers would argue that the extraordinary payload of Santa’s toboggan can simply be attributed to “the magic of Christmas.”
It was all a lie.
Santa does not indeed live in the North pole; a virtual potpourri of factors repudiate this assertion, the most crucial of which being the infrastructure. We shall use the Hershey factory, which produces around 70 million Hershey Kisses per day, as our paradigm production facility. Assuming an average cost of 0.24$/ounce, and a unit weight of 0.16 ounces/kiss, and a production cycle of 365 days per year, we calculate that the Hershey factory produces $1,022,000,000.00 worth of output each year. With a facility size of 340,000 square feet, output is about $3,010.00/square foot. Now, let’s assume that the monetary output value of Santa’s goods is $100.00/ton. That would mean the net value of the goods that Santa produces would be about $394,500,000.00. Utilizing the output-space efficiency of the Hershey factory, Santa’s factory would need to be around 130,000 square feet, working 365 days a year producing toys. Disregarding the issues with supplying this factory, elf labor unions taking issue with the 24-hour days, and power needed to supply such a massive operation, a factory of such size simply precludes the North Pole being the location of Santa’s factory; were it on the surface, satellite imagery would have detected a building of such proportions, and were it beneath the ice, the factory would meet a watery doom; arctic sea ice is only around six to nine feet thick on average. The logistics of such an operation would give a Harvard Supply Chain Management course graduate a headache, and seem to confirm the dreaded truth; Santa lives not in the Northern Pole.
As for where Santa truly lies, I cannot say. Perhaps hidden away amongst coniferous Russian pines, perhaps embedded in the shifting dunes of the Sahara or the Gobi, one thing is certain; the magic of Christmas lives on. Perhaps, Santa can live on in our hearts, testament of and tantamount to the Christmas joy, merriment, and spirit that permeates every home and every heart in the holiday season. Perhaps, Santa need not be constrained to a geographic tether, but can roam free, not a physical entity but an emotional and spiritual representation of all that Christmas brings, as families come together and celebrate on the memorial of Christ’s birth. Or, perhaps not.
 "omni"-prefixed word for "all seeing"?
 Santa's Christmas Eve Workload, Calculated
Philip Bump - https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/12/santas-christmas-eve-workload-calculated/249844/
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