How Many Calories Does Santa Claus Consume On Christmas?
It wasn't until I was older and learning about the four food groups (yes, kids, there used to be a matrix with four food groups, instead of this fancy food pyramid you young whippersnappers learn about now) that I realized this might be a suboptimal way to keep those presents coming. How many cookies could Santa eat anyway?
In order to figure out Santa's annual consumption, we need to know how many households leave cookies out for him. This means we can reject non-Christian households [76% of American adults identified as any type of Christian in the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008] and households without children [45% of all households had children under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Census projections for 2010, based on extrapolation of 2000 Census data].
According to the Census projections, there are approximately
This isn't the right number yet; not everyone under 18 believes in Santa, and not every household that might leave cookies and milk out does so. Let's assume that two-thirds of American households have outgrown the Santa phase; that gives us 15% of all U.S. households in the correct demographic.
0.15 x 0.76 x 100,000,000 = 11,400,000 Christian households with children young enough to leave cookies and milk out for Santa.
Let's assume, again for conservatism's sake, that only 10% of the families who might leave out cookies and milk actually do so; that means Santa has 1,140,000 doses of cookies and milk to consume.