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Top 10 Facts about Santa’s Sleigh

We've done our research and found out how it flies, what it is made from and just how fast it goes!

1. The Sleigh runs on Christmas Spirit

Father Christmas’s sleigh runs on Christmas Spirit. Christmas Spirit is the feeling that you have when you believe in Santa and get a warm fuzzy feeling or that smile when you hear your favourite Christmas song. All this creates a special magic called Christmas Spirit which the sleigh uses as fuel.

2. Santa’s sleigh is very eco-friendly

Running on Christmas Spirit is super environmentally friendly because it doesn’t require fossil fuels! Santa has been using green energy for hundreds of years and even used to wear a green suit.

3. The Reindeers use magic from the Northern Lights to fly

While the sleigh flies on Christmas spirit the reindeers also have a helping hand from magic in the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights appear in places like the North Pole and create green lights in the night sky. They occur because of a force in the Earth’s magnetic field. The Reindeer, with help from the inventive elves, are able to capture the magnetic force and use it to fly.

Have you ever tried to put two positive magnets together? You can feel the force between them that stops them from touching. That’s the magic which the reindeers capture from the Northern Lights and use to fly.

silhouette of trees near Aurora Borealis at night

4. Santa’s sleigh is the fastest vehicle ever

Santa’s sleigh is the fastest vehicle ever! On Christmas Eve, Santa has to travel around the world to deliver presents to all the children on the nice list. He has about 31 hours to do this – thanks to time zone differences meaning it is night at different places in the world at different times.

There about 2.5 billion children in the world – so Santa’s sleigh has to move at a speed of around 1,800 miles per second, wow!

Find out more about how fast Santa’s Sleigh travels in our Science of Christmas series.

5. Santa’s sleigh can travel through time but only on Christmas Eve – maybe!

Father Christmas has hinted, although he’s never confirmed, that he uses time travel to reach all the children’s houses.

Some theories are that the sleigh travels even faster than the 1,800 miles per second mentioned above and actually travels so fast that it breaks the speed of light and in doing so travels through time.

Other people have said that Father Christmas has a map of ‘wormholes’ which are tunnels which allow him to jump through time and space given to him by NASA every Christmas Eve.

Some people have even said he is a Time Lord like Doctor Who and the sleigh is a Tardis!

Which do you think is true?

6. The Sleigh is less than 5 metres long despite being filled with billions of presents.

Some children have asked how it is possible to fit so many presents into the sleigh.

Well the elves use the latest technology when putting gifts into the sleigh and the most recent invention they are using is called toy dehydration. They use a special zapper which squishes all the air and empty spaces out of toys – including the space the human eye can’t see so that they toys are hundreds of times smaller than they are in real life. They are the packed in airtight boxes for each town. Once the toys are brought out into the air they pop into their normal size.

7. The Sleigh is tracked by official authorities

For over 60 years, NORAD which is the North American Aerospace Defense Command have tracked Santa. NORAD make sure that nothing unusual is flying in American air to keep people safe so they track Santa so they know it’s him and not something unusual.

Occasionally it glitches and we wonder if this is when Father Christmas is hopping through time.

Other official authorities also track Santa but NORAD let you see them tracking Santa here.

8. Santa’s Sleigh is made from Pine imported from Finland

Santa’s Sleigh is made from the finest Pine imported from Finland from a forest near his toy workshop (he has a workshop in Finland and the North Pole).

Father Christmas has owned the forest for hundreds of years and makes sure that for every tree he cuts down he plants five more – in fact the forest has doubled in size in the last 10 years.

The wood is extra special because it grows underneath the sky of the Northern Lights which as we know from fact 2 is where reindeer get their magic from.

9. The Sleigh Bells are there for a very important safety reason

A long time ago Santa was landing back in the North Pole after delivering all the presents on Christmas Eve when the sleigh skidded on the ice as he landed and he nearly crashed into Mrs Claus and the elves. It was a foggy day so they couldn’t see the sleigh approaching.

Since that day he added bells to the sleigh which meant that if he was ever to skid as he approached the North Pole then the elves and Mrs Claus would be able to hear him and jump out of the way.

Fog is a big problem for Santa travelling in December and is also the reason Rudolf leads the reindeer with his bright red nose.

10. The sleigh has changed throughout the years

Santa’s sleigh has had lots of improvements made to it throughout the years.

As we know the sleigh has always been made from Finnish pine but nowadays that pine is treated with copper to stop it being eaten by insects.

In fact the sleigh undergoes lots of different treatments to make it super sturdy. Many of these treatment ideas were invented by the elves and they have sold their elf technology to IKEA who use the techniques to treat their pine furniture. If you have an IKEA bed or wardrobe it might be that it’s made using elf technology.

The sleigh has also had to add GPS tracking so governments know not to investigate it when they see it in the air, such as NORAD from fact 7.

The most recent addition is a self healing gel coat which expands with carbon dioxide in the air if the sleigh gets hit!

Santa has a whole department of elves who work on improving sleigh technology especially as each year there are more and more children so Father Christmas has to keep getting faster.

Find out more about the science of Christmas with Santamory in our Science of Christmas series.

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Top 10 Facts

From the Tudors to rocks to fish, we have all the best facts right here!

More From Top 10 Facts