Following requests by some inquisitive young children, FactCheckNI has conducted a very important  piece of research to answer the most vital questions:

  • How long does Santa have to deliver all of the presents?
  • How much time does he spend in everyone’s house?
  • How many cookies does he eat?
  • Am I on the nice list?

Read on to find out more about how much work Santa Claus, Mrs Claus, the elves, plus Rudolph and all his reindeer friends have to get through on Christmas Eve:

  • QUESTION ONE: How long does Santa have to deliver all of those presents?

Now this is an interesting one…

Santa and his reindeer only have ONE night to deliver all of their presents.

However, that single night is a little bit longer than you think.

That’s because the Earth is round, like a huge football, and constantly spinning.

Half of the Earth faces the sun, the other half faces away. For that first half, it’s daytime. But, for that second half… it’s NIGHT.

The most eastern places will get to Christmas Eve night first. The most western places will get there last.

Fiji is a beautiful island nation in the South Pacific. It is very far east.

Just like Fiji, Hawaii is a beautiful island in the Pacific. Unlike Fiji, Hawaii is far WEST, not east (the Pacific Ocean is very, very, very big and wraps around a huge part of the world).

Santa has from sunset on Christmas Eve in Fiji until sunrise on Christmas Day in Hawaii to deliver all those presents.

This actually means that Santa has around 34 HOURS AND 24 MINUTES to deliver all the presents.

A very long night, indeed!

It’s so long that, when you’re just getting out of bed on the morning of Christmas Eve, Santa will already be on his way!

  • QUESTION TWO: How long will he spend putting presents under my tree?

It’s tricky to be 100% sure about this one, but we can be clear about some things.

Right now, there are around TWO BILLION children in the world.

That doesn’t mean that Santa has to visit two billion houses, because lots of those children will have brothers and sisters who live with them.

But it does mean that he needs to lay out two billion sets of presents.

Even if he could travel instantly from house to house – and his reindeers are fast, but probably not that fast – that’s a lot of presents.

We know from our first question that Santa has at most 34 hours and 24 minutes to get round the world. 34 hours and 24 minutes equals 123,840 seconds.

123,840 divided by two billion is… a very small number!

On average, Santa has at most 0.00006192 SECONDS to put your presents under your tree!

That’s why it’s so hard to ever see Santa when he’s in your living room, even if you’re very sneaky and go downstairs very quietly. Blink and you’ll miss him!

  • QUESTION THREE: How many cookies will he eat?

Well, this one’s easy: too many!

If Santa eats, on average, one biscuit or cookie for every child in the world, that’s two billion cookies! Which is a lot.

There is a huge biscuit factory in London which makes digestives. Here is a video of those biscuits being made. That factory produces up to 12.5 million digestives and 13 million chocolate digestives every day.

In fact, it would take that factory over 78 DAYS to make enough biscuits to feed Santa on Christmas Eve night.

So, there we are – we’ve tried to answer some of the most important questions for children about Santa’s big journey.

Ultimately, while all these answers have been researched to the highest standards, no-one can be sure what the real answers are – because Santa is MAGIC.

That is, if you’ve been on the nice list…



You may not have been perfect – no-one is – but we’re sure that you deserve an AMAZING time over the next few weeks.

Happy Christmas to all from everyone at FactCheckNI!