Santa Claus is simultaneously the laziest and most hard working man in history. He visits billions of boys and girls all over the world, defying time and space to ensure that no well-behaved child misses out on their share of Christmas cheer. On the other hand, he only works one night a year, and spends a lot of it sitting down.

With the world’s population growing all the time, we began to wonder: How much does Santa’s workload increase every year? After all, Santa isn’t getting any younger, and there are more chimneys for him to climb down every year. Are we in danger of reaching Santuration (sorry) point?

We did some advanced math - which you don’t need to check for accuracy at all, just take out word for it – to gain an insight into how Santa’s night shift has changed over the past century or so, and what impact it’s having on his timings and his health.

Crunching the numbers

We’re basing our assumption on 90% of Irish people being good boys and girls. This may be optimistic, but hey, it’s Christmas. In 1923, the population of Ireland was 3,014,000. Today, it’s around 4,600,000, a difference of 1,586,000. Remove 10% of that figure to represent the naughty and we’re left with 1,427,400.

This is big news for ol’ Nick. If we take any of his favourite festive treats – in the case of Ireland, Guinness and mince pies - we run into a problem immediately. One mince pie is 250 calories. If each good girl and boy gives Santa a mince pie, we’ll be loading him with an additional 356,850,000 compared to 1923. That many calories represents the daily limit of a 50+ year old man for almost 500 years, all in one night.

It gets worse. If we all give Santa a glass of Guinness, we’ll almost certainly have killed him before midnight. An additional 1,427,400 units of alcohol is equivalent to the weekly recommended alcohol limit for 68,000 men. We should probably switch to sparkling water from now on.

The above, combined with the additional time, the strain on reindeers (and all that dung has to go somewhere) and the sheer volume of gifts that has to be crammed into that sack means that Santa’s job is a totally different animal now to a century ago. Let’s hope for all our sakes that he’s up to the challenge.

To find out how your family fits into Ireland’s population growth, search for them in our records here.