MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Santa Clause + Cookies & Milk = Weight Gain?

Each & every Christmas Eve, Santa Clause sets out across the world, delivering toys to good little girls & boys. And, along the way, his yuletide mission is fueled by everyone’s traditional offering of cookies & milk. With all those goodies at every single stop, just how much weight would St. Nick pack on?

There’s a little bit of guesstimating involved, but it’s actually a simple question to figure out if you utilize the Factor Label Method. Also known as Unit Analysis or Dimensional Analysis, it allows you to solve this problem fairly easy. Basically:

Write your given on the left side of your paper (“1 Santa Claus”)
Mark your intended answer on the right side of the paper (“Pounds”)
Set up a chain of units from left to right
Fill in the numbers for the units
Multiply by all the tops
Divide by all the bottoms
Then, clean it all up.

So, using those 7 steps, the Factor Label Method gives us our answer: 400-million pounds. We’re assuming a generic sugar cookie has around 200 calories, while a glass of milk contains about 100, and that there are also approximately 2 billion houses on Santa’s route.

Now, again, this is an approximate answer; it could be 300 or 500 million, since we’re basing our math on assumptions. But, while we might not know the precise answer, we do know that the number is very big. So, if Santa burned calories like a normal man his size & age, he’d probably gain around 400-million pounds.

But, as we all know, Santa burns no calories like a normal person during his trip, because it’s a well-known fact that Santa uses those calories to propel his sleigh around the world, in what experts call “calorie-to-magic conversion”. It’s how he’s able to travel the entire world, because he uses all those calories from his cookies & milk, thus gaining no weight in the process. It’s mind-boggling, but all the best magic is. And Christmas Magic is probably the trickiest to quantify.

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