Father Christmas' very merry night of sherry in Wigan!

It’s a time-honoured festive ritual: before heading to bed on Christmas Eve, children set out a sherry for Santa Claus.
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But if Wigan’s youngsters all left a glass of fortified wine for Father Christmas, would the big man in the red suit actually be able to steer his sleigh straight?

The JPIMedia Data Unit has now done some very scientific calculation to work out just how merry an evening Santa will have on December 24. And the answer is that in visiting Wigan alone Father Christmas is likely to consume a prodigious amount of booze.

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Office for National Statistics figures show there are an estimated 39,331 households with children in the borough.

Sherry, a mince pie and a carrot left out on Christmas Eve. Photo by ShutterstockSherry, a mince pie and a carrot left out on Christmas Eve. Photo by Shutterstock
Sherry, a mince pie and a carrot left out on Christmas Eve. Photo by Shutterstock

If every one of those left him a standard 50ml glass of sherry, old Kris Kringle would make his way through an average of 33,126 units of alcohol on his travels around Wigan.

That’s based on the average 17 per cent strength of more than 30 different kinds of sherry being sold in the big four supermarkets of Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons right now.

To give an idea of what a Herculean task this would be, that’s 2,366 times more than Santa’s recommended weekly limit of 14 units.

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If everybody left him the strongest type of sherry – 20 per cent ABV – he would consume a whopping 39,331 units.

This, of course, is going to leave Father Christmas epically unfit to drive, though whether sleighs in the sky have the same rules as more earth-bound vehicles could be open to question.

Given Santa’s famously portly appearance, we are going to assume he is 5ft 10, and weighs 15 stone – this would put his BMI just on the cusp of the obese range.

We can calculate Santa’s blood alcohol content based on his weight, and the hours since his last drink.

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Assuming he spends five hours delivering presents, between 11pm and 4am, means that if he spent all that time in Wigan alone, he would be 518 times over the drink-drive limit by the time he drained the last drop.

All those glasses of sherry together would equate to 1,966,550 millilitres of booze, or 1,967 litres.

To put that into context, that’s about 24.6 average-sized bathtubs full of fortified wine.

According to the NHS Give Blood website, the average human body holds about 10 pints of blood, or 5.7 litres.

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That means Father Christmas will have consumed locally an amount of sherry equal to 351 times as much blood as is currently coursing through your veins by the time you wake up on Christmas morning.

And all these figures, of course, are just from Santa’s trip to our borough, so saying nothing of all the children elsewhere leaving their sherry out for him to drain while he drops off their presents.

All in all, the sleigh could be rather reliant on Rudolph’s navigational skills as it makes its way back to Lapland on Christmas morning.

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