->'''Meatwad''': I just figured Santa was off to an early start this year. Because, you know, statistics show that there are more children in the world today. That's China's fault.\\
'''Frylock''': Where did you hear that?\\
'''Meatwad''': Regis.
-->-- '''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'''

A question often brought up to disprove the existence of SantaClaus: How the hell could he deliver all those toys to so many children in one night? There are so many factors involved, it just wouldn't be possible by natural means.

But of course when Santa has flying reindeer and elves working with him, he might not be limited to natural means. One answer is to make him a TimeMaster, so he can take as long as he needs to. Simpler yet, AWizardDidIt.

Interestingly, most fiction questions ''only'' how the toys are delivered, not how so many adults (even in the worlds of fiction) can fail to notice the toys, and thus not believe in him.

This trope comes into play whenever someone asks the question, but often someone will have an answer, or when [[YesVirginia Santa is shown to be real]], we are given the actual answer.

Not to be confused with WhereDoesHeGetAllThoseWonderfulToys.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'' - Under the impression that [[ChildProdigy Chiyo]] might still believe in Santa Claus, Kagura starts making up increasingly wild claims as to how Santa accomplishes his mission.
--> '''Tomo''': Well, then how does he visit all those houses in one night?
--> '''Kagura''': Santa can fly crazy fast! Like Mach 100!


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Discussed in ''Franchise/ArchieComics''; In one story, Dilton posits that Santa is actually a hyper-advanced robot, but the others aren't impressed. With Chuck making sketches, the Riverdale gang makes their own guesses on what kind of person Santa could be. They determine that He'd have to be a younger, skinnier man in order to make his worldwide trip, have a long nose to smell out the cookies kids leave him, and be squinty-eyed in order to see in the dark. Much to everyone's surprise, the result comes out looking like Jughead!
** In another story where Santa himself appeared, one of his new elves asks him this question directly. Santa explains that he uses a [[AppliedPhlebotinum special time warp technique]] to do it.
* Played with in a Creator/DCComics Holiday Special, in which Max Mercury (a super-speedster) has a great deal of trouble convincing Impulse (another speedster) that Santa ''doesn't'' exist.
--> '''Max''': How does he visit all those houses in one night?
--> '''Impulse''': Super-speed. ''Duh.''
* The ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'' version of Santa Claus uses co-location. Time flows normally, but Santa is everywhere he needs to be all at the same time.
* The various aspects of this get addressed in the ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse, sometimes contradicting each other due NegativeContinuity:
** In an Italian ComicBook/DonaldDuck story set when he was a child his friend Millicent tries to disprove Santa's existance this way, but Donald and the others simply reply [[AWizardDidIt it's magic]]. Later they ''do'' see Santa, Millicent says it's an imposter because he's too slow... Then they discover he has a magic watch he uses to have all the time he needs in a single night.
** In one story Scrooge discovers he has a toy factory that operates at loss, and decides to visit it to close it down... Only to discover that, at some point, he ''bought Santa out'', and he's single-handedly financing Santa's operations. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Scrooge declares that Santa will be the only executive of his companies allowed to operate at loss]].
** Another Italian story tackles both the time and where Santa gets all the toys: he makes all the deliveries on time [[AWizardDidIt because of magic]], and as for the toys... His elves assemble most of them, but lately he has to complement them with Scrooge's toys, totaling almost ''half'' the deliveries (no mention of how he ''pays'' for the toys, both those made by the elves and the ones bought from Scrooge).


[[folder: Comic Strips ]]

* In ''ComicStrip/ThePerishers'', Baby Grumpling asks a related question.
-->'''Baby Grumpling''': But how can he come down ''our'' chimney?
-->'''Maisie''': What do you mean?
-->'''Baby Grumpling''': Well, we've got a ''stove''. With a stovepipe. Which is only three inches wide. And it leads into the red hot stove. Which has got knobs on.
-->'''Baby Grumpling''': All right, all right! There's no need to lose your temper.
* Of course Calvin of ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' is childlike enough to believe in Santa and logical enough to think about these questions all the time. He wonders not only about how Santa can deliver the toys so fast, but on at least one occasion asks how Santa makes the toys, given the problems of paying for elf labor and the raw materials to make the toys. He also expresses discomfort, on quite a regular basis, with how he's in the position of being judged as "naughty or nice," and who is Santa to judge him that way? But he doesn't seem to have noticed that adults (and even many children) seem not to believe in Santa, so he's got no cognitive dissonance there.


[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/SantaClausTheMovie'', the head elf says that "Time itself shall travel with you." A very mystical, and extraordinarily atmospheric, way of saying that time doesn't always flow for him the way it does for most people. (It doesn't explain how those two kids would be aware of him, however.)
* In ''Film/ErnestSavesChristmas'', Ernest gives a spoof answer involving physics babble.
* Neil asks Charlie this in ''Film/TheSantaClause'' stating that Santa somehow slows down time. Father Time is a figure in these movies so it is plausible. Charlie points out that there are children that don't celebrate Christmas, and that a fireplace kind of appears magically in homes without one. Scott finds out Charlie was at least right about the fireplace thing.
* In the new ''Film/MiracleOnThirtyFourthStreet'', Kris Kringle explains that time slows down as he delivers presents.
* {{Inverted| trope}} in the movie ''{{Film/Elf}}''. Buddy is confused as to why so many people don't believe in Santa Claus, and wonders who the non-believing children think deliver all the presents. When Papa Elf responds that they believe their parents put the toys there, Buddy scoffs, saying "That's ridiculous! Parents couldn't do all that in one night!"
* The TVMovie ''The Night They Saved Christmas'' has Santa's head elf, Ed, show off a handheld device which makes time literally slow down. He claims it involves "physics and stuff I don't understand" and was made by their R&D department.
* ''WesternAnimation/ArthurChristmas'' reveals that Santa Claus is an inherited title, and the annual delivery is an expansive high-tech operation. Grandfather Claus, being more old-school, still has some canisters of magic powder, which he claims was mined from the Aurora Borealis, and allowed the original reindeer to fly.
* ''Film/SantaClaus'' states that Santa Claus inhabits the 5th dimension, discovered by Merlin (yes, ''that'' Merlin), and appears everywhere ''at once''. So, apparently Santa Claus discovered quantum entanglement and quantum super-imposition.
* In the direct-to-video movie ''Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas'' Goofy and Max's neighbor Pete points out that there is no way Santa can exist because he simply cannot deliver all those presents in one night. Subverted because Goofy and Max aren't trying to find out how Santa delivers the presents, but rather are just trying to find out if he exists. They do finally see Santa at the end of the story who gives them just what they want, and Pete the lesson of his life for messing with their Christmas spirit.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Brought up in ''Literature/ArtemisFowl''. The answer is to [[TimeStandsStill stop time]] and get ALL of the elves to chip in on the delivery business.
* In ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Death simply states that Hogswatchnight is a special time. One where his manservant Albert can be alive all night, despite having only a few seconds left.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'''s earliest short stories, Harry mentions in passing that Santa doesn't actually hand out toys to anyone but a small amount of children per Christmas.
* In ''Literature/TheBerenstainBears Meet Santa Bear'', Sister Bear asks this to Papa, along with a few other questions about Santa.
* Answered as the crux of the Creator/NeilGaiman's ''very'' short story "[[spoiler:Nicholas Was...]]." [[spoiler:He's forced to deliver gifts in an Endless Night where TimeStandsStill by [[TheFairFolk eldritch 'dwarves']].]]
* The novel ''Santa Steps Out'' has Santa use "Magic Time" to make time flow differently for him, allowing him more than enough time to deliver all the presents. And he's not the only one who uses it; when Mrs. Claus finds out Santa's been cheating on her, she uses it for a [[PowerPerversionPotential rather different purpose]]...namely, [[spoiler: having sex with every elf in the workshop in one weekend.]]


[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* This question is posed in ''Series/TheNanny'''s animated Christmas episode "Oy to the World":
-->'''Grace:''' Fran, the storm is getting worse. How is Santa going to deliver all the presents?
-->'''Fran:''' Gracie, the man is bigger than Creator/DomDeLuise and he fits through a chimney. Believe me, he can get through a blizzard.
* In the Christmas episode of ''Series/ThePretender'', Jarod (who grew up isolated from pop culture) had just read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and asked a colleague how Santa could deliver all those presents in one night, not to mention the fact that Santa is doing it while being old and overweight.
* Oscar the Grouch asks Big Bird this in the classic ''Christmas Eve On Series/SesameStreet''. (Specifically, he asks how Santa Claus can fit into skinny chimneys or apartment buildings, a much bigger concern for urban kids. Big Bird almost freezes trying to find out.)
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The 2014 Christmas special "Last Christmas" plays with this trope. At one point Santa claims that his sleigh is BiggerOnTheInside. [[spoiler: Averted in that Santa is only part of an elaborate series of nested dreams. [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Or is he?]]]]
** At one point the cast are invoking ArbitrarySkepticism for plot-related reasons. Santa is being interrogated to find out if he's real.
--->'''Santa:''' There's not just one Santa delivery team. How could there be? There are five hundred and twenty six million four hundred and three thousand and twelve children all expecting presents before tomorrow morning. So, hmm, that's twenty two million children per hour. It's impossible! Obviously, [[BaitAndSwitch I've got a second sledge.]]
* The Christmas special of ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'' had a neighbor recount how his big brother showed him a big stack of presents as proof that Santa wasn't real. His father told him that Santa actually delivers every family's shipment of goodies as soon as they were ready since it's impossible that he does it all in one go. His big brother went without gifts that year...
* The 2017 Nickelodeon film "Tiny Christmas" indicates that Santa has an R & D department constantly working on ways to make it easier for Santa to deliver. Elfonso, head of the department creates size-changing goggles that shrink and enlarge presents for ease of transport.


[[folder: Music ]]

* At the end of the ''Franchise/StarWars'' ConceptAlbum ''Christmas In The Stars'', the droids are visited by S. Claus, the son of Santa. He explains that Santa gets help from his family to deliver toys across the galaxy.
* Deconstructed in the song "[[Music/WeirdAlYankovic The Night Santa Went Crazy]]". Where delivering presents to everyone for some milk and cookies caused Santa to snap. Killing most of his reindeer, taking the elves hostage and blowing up the workshop before getting jailed.

[[folder: Videogames ]]

* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'' Big Boss claims that every year Santa establishes a direct hotline with NORAD and they track him. We may never know the details, however, because Huey [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x6mVUDB6Fw couldn't stop laughing to hear it.]]


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have the power to move at incredible speeds so they can deliver presents and painted eggs, respectively. Under rare circumstances, they can use this power outside of running deliveries, sending them rocketing up the SuperWeight scale.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Website/SFDebris' original story "You Better Watch Out" features a dark backstory to Santa: he was a con man in Austria whose punishment in death is to live up to his description of himself. When he is delivering presents, time is stopped, and when he wakes up the next morning, it's Christmas Eve the following year.
* The Wiki/SCPFoundation [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2412-j once attached a satellite tracking device]] to him to find out once and for all.
---> Results are hard to interpret. The tandem of SCP-2412-J and all the sub-[=SCPs=] apparently was capable of clearing very high distances within seconds (this is theorized to be a form of teleportation), and even co-existing in numerous locations at once. When asked to name the party responsible for these anomalies, SCP-2412 replied simply "Magic." and refused to elaborate.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In an animated ''ComicStrip/FamilyCircus'' special, Jeffy asks Billy this, and Billy says Santa [[TimeStandsStill has a watch that stops time]].
* Grimly [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' "The Road to the North Pole", where keeping this up turned the workshop into a NightmarishFactory, and nearly gave Santa a fatal HeroicRROD.
* This is mentioned in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' episode "[[YesVirginia Yes, Mikey]], Santa Does Shave", in which Mikey attempts to prove that Santa is real and indeed ''can'' deliver all those toys. Gretchen counters that a man of his size could not fit through the chimney and that the speed he would need to travel at is simply impossible.
* The concept behind ''WesternAnimation/PrepAndLanding'' is that an elite team of ChristmasElves go ahead of Santa to prep each home for his arrival. It doesn't explain everything, but it does imply that the elves do most of the heavy lifting.
** Although the short feature "Prep and Landing: Secret Santa" implies that St. Nick started by himself and brought the elves on as his enterprise expanded. (And the elves get a pension implying ''they'' can eventually retire.)
* In the animated film, ''WesternAnimation/ArthurChristmas'', its revealed that all the presents get delivered by Santa's high-tech operation hidden beneath the north pole. [[http://www.google.com/imgres?q=ArthurChristmas&hl=en&sa=G&biw=1600&bih=657&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=tMwYdPep4qW4tM:&imgrefurl=http://collider.com/arthur-christmas-movie-trailer-james-mcavoy/63546/&docid=DwZwZ8UCc__InM&imgurl=http://www.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/arthur_christmas_movie_trailer_image_01.jpg&w=852&h=460&ei=sUOnTpu-GYeZOtDq9Y0J&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1247&vpy=252&dur=8120&hovh=165&hovw=306&tx=190&ty=57&sig=107951384722673391273&page=1&tbnh=95&tbnw=176&start=0&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:15,s:0 And here is the EXTREMELY high-tech sleigh]]
** This is only after the original sleigh is retired following a snafu with the previous Santa, who was detected by world governments who tried to shoot him down. Until then, Santas really did use a sleigh pulled by reindeer using magical pixie dust. While the new high-tech sleigh, called S-1, is larger by several orders of magnitude, it's also designed using modern stealth technology and even has active camouflage.
* The ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' AnAssKickingChristmas episode gives us an atypical explanation; instead of going out in a reindeer-pulled sleigh, Santa ''teleports'' the gifts directly to homes, with Christmas trees acting as homing beacons.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'': Danny's parents argue over whether Santa Claus is real or not. Maddie reasons that it would be impossible for someone to travel around the world at a high enough speed to do it in one night without being burned up.
* In ''[[Franchise/WinnieThePooh My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Pooh's Super Sleuth Christmas Movie]]'' , it was Rabbit's Christmas wish to know the answer to this. He figured that Santa must have some sort of secret technology. He was thrilled with the actual answer-- that Santa has magic.
* WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls affect the delivery of toys on Santa's behalf in ''Twas The Fight Before Christmas'' as a make-good after they and Princess Morbucks rent Santa's headquarters asunder fighting.
* In Jimmy Neutron, Santa uses a dash-mounted wormhole device to accelerate FTL; appearing to deliver the gifts as a ball of light.
* Brought up in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' during "Human Error". Ratchet dismisses the whole thing as impossible, while Prowl and Optimus suggest "multiple Santas" (Optimus having seen plenty of guys in costume while driving through Detroit).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Fred asks the elves this while filling in for Santa (and air-dropping presents down chimneys). They reply that they don't take coffee breaks.

[[folder: Other ]]

* One December issue of a children's science magazine responded to this question with a theory involving [[OurWormholesAreDifferent wormholes]].
* According to humorist Gene Weingarten, to reach all of the roughly 2 billion children on earth in 24 hours would require Santa to go at a speed approaching lightspeed, which on the first stop [[BlackComedy would destroy the world and all the little kiddies]].
* In a Finnish newspaper comic ''Väinämöisen paluu'' ("[[Literature/TheKalevala Vainamoinen Returns]]") the explanation of time-stopping hourglass is used. And then the FridgeLogic is played for all its worth, stating that Santa needs to work nonstop for weeks of subjective time, and needs intensive therapy every time to get over the stress and sleep deprivation.
* A few TV specials suggest Santa air drops some or many of his gifts while flying over houses, as one way of speeding up delivery of his packages to everyone (without having to physically go into every home). This is seen in a few of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' Christmas specials, plus the end credits of ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer''.
* Several websites and news outlets do segments around Christmas Eve calculating how fast Santa would have to travel in order to accomplish his task in one day, usually defined as being December 24th in whatever local time zone he was in at the moment. Specific calculations vary depending on assumptions made: how long he has to visit each household, whether he visits every household on Earth or only where Christmas is widely celebrated, whether Santa can only travel after dark, etc. The path plotted generally go east to west to take advantage of the Earth's rotation as much as possible. Conclusions range from around Mach 5 to [[FTLTravel faster than the speed of light]].