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    How to Create a Santa Who Can Actually Fit in Chimneys

    Written by

    Sam McDougle

    How skinny would Santa Claus have to be to fit down America’s small fireplace chimneys?

    Ok, time to flex some Google muscles. According to several sources, one of whom had the reassuring website header, “Chimneys: An Unexact Science,” my hastily calculated average small chimney diameter for fireplace-owning Americans is 12 inches (now I’m sure all chimneys are not circular, but they seem to be the smallest). Yeah, it sounds low, but Santa needs to fit in the small-chimneyed households too. He shouldn’t discriminate.

    So, let’s start with skull. In that department, Santa’s cool. The average adult human skull circumference hovers around 60cm, and after converting our 12 inch measure to centimeters, we find our small chimney has a circumference of about 95.7 cm. Even after tagging on his 2-inch thick hat, Santa’s head is clear.

    Next, shoulders. This is usually the widest region of the male skeleton. Apparently, the lowest fifth percentile of the average diameter of a male firefighter’s shoulder’s is about 18 inches. So normal average is probably around there, maybe a couple inches less, but still too big. We’re in trouble. But for science’s sake let’s assume Santa used to moonlight as an erotic contortionist, and can sharply angle one shoulder down against his chest, easily lowering his shoulder width diameter to something close to a foot. He also could point his arms above his head, but that’s goofy.

    Now, his belly. It goes without saying that our newly rendered Santa is no longer obese, he’s actually rather fit. The average male waist circumference at the widest point is around 91 cm, so if he’s average he’s clear, but any bit over average and he’s not. But remember, he has to contort his shoulder to get them in, so now you have to picture one of his arms twisted, and shoved against his chest. According to the Male Girth Calculator, if Santa’s wrist is about the modest size of mine, his “ideal” biceps are about 5.4 inches, top to bottom flexed. Let’s go with 3 inches unflexed and squished and now add that to his belly circumference. That actually puts him over the top, at around 99 cm. Too big. So either Santa is wimpy in the arms or under average in the belly. Let’s say some of both.

    His legs are fine if they’re not tree trunks and he squeezes ‘em together. Just think about it: Unless he’s an Olympic weightlifter, his legs are smaller than his belly. So let’s not worry about it.

    But what of his bag of presents? Well, unfortunately our post-weight loss Santa’s also got to ditch the Erector sets and bicycles, and focus on the video games and gift certificates. Whatever, that’s what kids want these days.

    Lastly, we need to sort out his clothing. His bulky old fur suit would most definitely put him over the size limit on several fronts. We can’t let Santa’s sartorial traditions ruin Christmas entirely. But we can assume he gets his elves to make some kind of Under Armour Santa Suit that keeps his thin body warm, while maintaining his signature color schemes, right? Thanks, Morphsuits.

    So what do we get? Here, in all his slimmed down, creepy, contortionist glory, is a Santa that can actually do his job, assuming he lays off the cookies: