Holiday Science—5 Festive Facts

The holiday season is just around the corner, so why not surprise your class with some fascinating facts about the holidays? Here are a few of our favorites…

1. How does Santa visit all the children in the world? According to NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command), he would have to travel 317,000,000 miles, at a speed of 1,800 miles per second, visiting 390,000 homes every minute! That’s 6,500 homes every second… 

2. Why does Rudolph’s nose glow red? A Norwegian scientist suggested it might be because of a parasitic or bacterial infection, while scientists at the University of Brighton think Rudolph could have a new adaptive trait: bioluminescence, or the ability to produce light through a chemical reaction, in the same way as some fireflies and deep sea creatures do. 

3. December 21st marks the shortest day of the year—the winter solstice. In fact, the solstice occurs at an exact moment—December 21 at 8:19pm PST—which is when the Sun reaches its farthest southward point in the sky for the year. We in the Northern Hemisphere experience the shortest day and longest night of the year—while those in the Southern Hemisphere are at the height of summer.

4. The world’s tallest “snow person” was a snow woman built by Robin Zinchuk in Bethel, Maine, in 2008. The snow woman was 37 metres (or 122 ft) tall, and 13 million pounds of snow was needed to build her.

5. Astronauts on the International Space Station get a day off on Christmas Day, enjoying a special meal and even opening presents. But because it only takes 92 minutes for the ISS spacecraft to go around the Earth, the astronauts will see 15 Christmas mornings in one day!

At Twig Science, we believe that connecting science to real life and to current events really helps get students engaged. We hope these facts have helped to get you into the holiday mood!