Merry Christmas! As you recover from the gift unwrapping frenzy, get ready to go caroling or sip eggnog by a fire, learn more about Christmas and what keeps it ticking every year.
From shopping stats to candy cane production to how many houses Santa needs to stop at per second, we present Christmas by the numbers:
Number of hours Santa has to get his Christmas Eve deliveries done, assuming he flies east to west. A 2003 piece “Physics of Santa and His Reindeer,” which sounds like the best master’s thesis ever, concludes that Santa has to hit 822.6 homes per second. Considering population growth, we assume he had to up that number in recent years. (Warning, “The Physics of Santa” doesn’t end well for the big guy.)
Places to visit if you’re really in the Christmas spirit: Snowflake, AZ; North Pole, AK; Noel, MO; Rudolph, WI; and especially Santa Claus, IN, and Santa Claus, GA.
The number of Christmas trees harvested in New Jersey in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest census of such things. That was a 41 percent drop from just five years earlier, when New Jersey harvested 132,458 trees.
Number of times in A Christmas Story that Ralphie mentions his greatest desire, a “Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.”
What “The Twelve Days of Christmas” will set you back this year. A partridge is a mere $15 (and its pear tree $189.99), but it’s the seven swans a-swimming that will really set you back at $7,000.
The value of Christmas tree ornaments the U.S. imported from China from January to September 2012. China is the United States’ main supplier of Christmas tree baubles—and, perhaps not coincidentally, of artificial Christmas trees ($139.9 million).
The percentage of U.S. shoppers who plan to shop online this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s up from 4.9 percent who shopped online for the holidays four years ago.
The number of candy canes produced in the United States annually.
The ratio of male to female reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. Santa’s reindeer are typically depicted with antlers, something both male and female reindeer grow. Male reindeer usually drop their antlers by mid-December, while the females have antlers until the spring, suggesting that all of Santa’s reindeer (despite their names) are female. But it’s not inconceivable for a male reindeer to hold on to his antlers until January—and castrated males will hold on to them longer.
And on that note, have a holly jolly Christmas, Patch readers—may your days be merry and bright!