ALMOST two-thirds (64%) of Irish people took part in the annual tradition of leaving food and drink out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, meaning that everyone’s favourite man in red consumed more than 430,000 biscuits, and 1.6 million units of alcohol in Ireland alone.
That’s according to research from on-demand delivery service Deliveroo, which showed that on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus consumed 5.7 million calories as he made his way to homes across Ireland.
Some one million households opted to leave out some nibbles and drinks to sustain him on his long journey.
In fact, such is the generosity of spirit among the Irish that it would take Santa 6,333 hours of exercise, walking at 4mph, to burn off all the calories if he ate and drank all on offer at every home.
A more effective option would be cycling, which would ‘only’ take him 3,166 hours to burn off the calories, if he cycled between 10-12mph, and assuming he weighs 21 stone.
The majority of Irish households stick with tradition by leaving out biscuits and mince pies, but 7% of people go to the trouble of making Santa a bacon sarnie to help fuel his long journey.
Not every household sticks with tradition.
Among the strangest items left out for Santa on Christmas Eve were a full Sunday dinner, cigars, a hot water bottle, indigestion tables, painkillers, protein balls and sushi.
Meanwhile, Santa’s reindeer enjoyed healthier offerings with the majority of homes (79%) leaving out healthy carrots, and almost one in ten (9%) saying their Santa offering has become healthier in recent years.
The research suggests that the county that was most generous with a tipple for the toymaker this Christmas was Dublin, with some 31% of families choosing to leave alcohol out for Santa.
Joe Groves, from Deliveroo, said: “Leaving treats out for Santa is an age-old tradition that is still going strong today.
“That said, using our research, we have worked out the calories and units of alcohol Santa consumed, and it may be beneficial for him to pass on a few treats next year, or take a bite or three less!”
Alongside Santa, an estimated 1.2 million carrots were left out for his reindeer as they crossed Ireland.
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen would have had carrots 24,375 each to digest as they made their way around Ireland, with Santa’s special magic going a long way – almost as long as their travels – to help him, and them, tuck into their tasty Christmas treats.