Happy Holidays (and watch the cookies!)

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

December can be a fun, joyous season. Families everywhere are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Each of these winter holidays brings many festivities and lots of yummy, delicious food. The temptation to eat and drink in excess can be hard to overcome.

Although getting your five-a-day is important for promoting good health, overindulging on anything is bad for you. Indeed, overindulgence — consuming more calories than your body requires — is one of the main factors contributing to weight gain. Many of us love sweets during the holidays, but large portions won’t do anything but add surplus calories that get converted into fat.

Cookies and Santa Claus

Consider Santa Claus. One of the benefits of being “good St. Nick” is eating all the holiday cookies left by children around the world on Christmas eve.

Lee Biosolutions, a producer of enzymes, glycoprotein hormones and related reagents for the diagnostic and life science industries, realized that, given all the houses Santa must visit, he would put on more than the usual holiday weight. They recently did the math to determine just how much Santa would weight [1].

To calculate the number of households Santa must visit, they took the world population of 6.8 billion people and divided it by the average of 2.5 people per family. Thus, Santa would visit approximately 2.7 billion households on Christmas eve. Now, this number over-estimates the number of Christians in the world who would be celebrating Christmas by about 3-fold [2]. However, many people celebrate Christmas that aren’t Christian and we’re already talking ridiculously huge numbers here, so we’re not going to argue.

To continue the calculation: assuming that every household leaves Santa two chocolate chip cookies, Kris Kringle would eat about 5.4 billion cookies (or 473 million pounds of cookies) and consume 936 billion calories, far exceeding a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet.

Giving him a belly like a “bowl full of jelly,” Santa would eat 123 billion total grams of fat. His cholesterol would off the charts with 27.5 billion grams in one night when an average person should only take in 24,455 grams in one year. And finally, keeping him awake for his trip, Santa would consume 38.5 billion grams of sugar.

Given these numbers, Santa would have or be at risk for a number of health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

This holiday season, take responsibility for your diet. Small portions of the “bad stuff” will make very little difference in your health, but going on a cookie binge very well could.

Have a happy, healthy holiday season!


  1. Santa’s Massive Weight Gain After Christmas Eve Cookie Binge: Local Company Estimates Santa Claus’ Weight and Health Problems from Cookies Consumed. PRWeb. 2010 Dec 17.
  2. Christianity by country. Wikipedia. Accessed 2010 Dec 22.
About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.