By any calculation Santa Claus has a busy itinerary every Christmas Eve, but where does he work the hardest? We crunched the numbers to identify the 10 U.S. cities where Santa has to climb down the most chimneys. Infographic included.
While many Americans clean and decorate their homes for the holiday season, Santa is busy cross-referencing wish lists with his database of naughty and nice children, delegating present-wrapping duties to his COE (Chief of Elves), and working with his reindeer board to map out the official itinerary for the eve of December 24th.
How does he plan his route? Which homes will Santa hit first? It doesn’t matter how big your Christmas tree is, how many cookies you’ve left out, or whether your home is in turnkey condition. Instead, we predict that Santa will hit cities with a large number of chimneys first, before visiting homes with complicated points of entry.
Analysis from The North Pole reveals these 10 cities with the highest total number of fireplaces and chimneys.
|City||Houses with chimneys||Percent of all homes|
|San Antonio, TX||210,258||46.0%|
|Los Angeles, CA||209,639||98.8%|
|San Diego, CA||201,782||99.5%|
|Las Vegas, NV||185,630||51.2%|
|Oklahoma City, OK||176,762||97.6%|
Logistical challenges for Kris Kringle
The cities above will provide plenty of easy delivery opportunities for Santa. But since there are only chimneys in about 56% of homes in Houston, for example, Santa may have to apply a mixed strategy there. For the sake of efficiency, he’ll probably first visit cities where most of the homes are equipped with an easy path from the roof. He’ll move quickly through cities where 99-100% of homes have a fireplace, such as:
- Forest Park, GA
- Oceanside, CA
- Park City, UT
- Burbank, CA
- Bend, OR
- Long Beach, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Irving, TX
- Crystal Lake, IL
- Louisville, TN
- Pasadena, CA
- Albany, NY
Because Santa’s travel methods are unconventional, he can cover the entire United States in the span of one night, visiting cities in whatever order he prefers. Still, it makes sense for him to work his way up the California coast and get all those fireplace homes out of the way first. His COE confirmed this with Sundae, adding that Santa typically stops for an In-N-Out burger after delivering presents to the first 100,000 households or so.
We asked Bernard, the expert home entrance elf at The North Pole, how Santa copes with homes that don’t have chimneys. “It’s pretty risky to go through the front door, especially if there are non-believers in the house, because he doesn’t want to be mistaken for an intruder,” he said. “So he’ll usually either squeeze through the HVAC system or make himself invisible, both of which take considerable effort.” But don’t worry about Santa skipping your house just because entry is a challenge. “Santa always finds a way,” said Bernard.
Better watch out, better not pout
So what should you do to prepare for Santa’s arrival? Besides leaving cookies out, the process of getting your home ready for Santa is similar to preparing your home for sale. It’s a good idea to clean, declutter, and remove any excess furniture or personal belongings that Santa could trip on as he walks from the fireplace to the Christmas tree. Don’t worry about removing the pets from your home, however. Thanks to a treaty between The North Pole and the nation’s dogs that’s been in effect since the early 20th century, your dog won’t bark at Santa and risk waking up the family.
In other positive news, The Enforcement for Naughty Children Division of The North Pole announced that not a single child will receive a lump of coal this year as part of its coordinated response to the coronavirus crisis. “Families have endured too much hardship already,” the chief of the division said in a statement. “Expect a larger supply of presents this year, with surprises in store for both adults and children, as we do our best to bring cheer to families across the globe.”
Have a fireplace in your home?
We’d love to see how your family decorated the mantel for Santa’s arrival. Snap a photo in front of your fireplace and tag it with #SundaeHolidayHearth or @SundaeHQ for a chance to be featured.
Click image to enlarge
To determine the U.S. cities with the most chimneys, we looked at public tax assessor records and real estate listing data for residential houses in more than 33,000 markets, provided by First American Data.
Note: we used boundaries of the city proper and not MSA (metropolitan statistical area).