NEW YEAR'S STUFF
NEW YEAR'S YAKKITY ICEBREAKER
We started the New Year's teen party every year with this icebreaker, which was great fun. We had a talking contest, and chose ten of the yakkiest teens from the group to come up and talk without stopping.
Rules: If you say "uh" or "er," anything like that, you were out. If you paused for more than a second, you were out. You could not recite anything; it had to be free talk, not the alphabet or a poem. You had to be loud enough so everyone could hear.
Adult leaders stood near the group to make the calls on who should be eliminated. We usually called it after five minutes,and you will see that some teens can actually talk without stopping for a very very long time! Give the winners a toy phone.
NEW YEAR'S SECRET CODE
Here's afun game for your New Year's party. Construct a list of five letter words having to do with the holiday season, like HOLLY, GIFTS, TREES, SNOWY, and CAROL. Form 2 to 4 teams, and let each team choose a representative to start the game. Tell the teens you will show their designated speller a word that they must spell to their team. They may only communicate the word by using their elbows as imaginary pencils to spell the words on the floor. Play a number of rounds and let the teams select different spellers. The team that can guess the correct word in the shortest amount of time wins first place: a box of ALPHA BITS for the team, and a can of Pepsi for each member.
Divide the group into several teams, giving them names like UNIVERSAL PICTURES, TRISTAR PRODUCTIONS, TURNER CLASSICS and so forth. Place rolls of aluminum foil, with two rolls of foil per team, in the center of the room. Each team's pile will have their name on it along with a sealed envelope. At the whistle, each team sends one teen to the center of the room to pick their stack of items and take it back to the team. Each team opens the envelope to find out what characters they must devise with the aluminum foil. They then select TWO members on whom they will design and arrange a costume made entirely of aluminum foil! After 15 minutes, the adult sponsors then judge the winners!
Some ideas to place in your sealed envelopes can include: 2 characters from LORD OF THE RINGS, 2 people from MONSTERS, INC, 2 toys from TOY STORY, 2 people from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, 2 characters from LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS, and 2 characters from the song RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER.
Set up boundaries and explain that you will have a special winter edition of TAG. Begin this run-and-fun game two people who are IT. The pair of teens hold hands and chase the others until they tag someone. When they tag someone that teen must join hands and the group continues chasing people. When a group of four is formed they split into two groups of two. Slowly the groups spread thoughout the playing field. When only a few are left-then yell the command "AVALANCHE" and the group will all joins hands and surround the remaining people in order to catch them.
SCRIPTURE ROTATION: PASS AROUND THE STORY
TEEN #1: "Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily."
TEEN #2: "Verse 20... But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
TEEN #3: "Verse 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us..."
The above scenario gives you an idea of a great Bible study you can have durign these final days before Christmas. Start by passing one Bible from yourself to the right, and after each teen reads two verse, they may make a comment on what they read, or you may add your study comments. Keep the Bible moving around the circle. Everyone participates, even the adults.
AFTER-CHURCH ACTIVITY: ALL WEATHER SLEDDING
All you need is a hill...or at least a patch of ground that is somewhat of a rise. This is ALL WEATHER SLEDDING and it is just what it says...a sledding activity no matter how little precipitation you have.
You will post the announcment that after church on Sunday Night. You will have your WINTER ALL WEATHER SLED RUN. If you live in a cold climate area, before that night, remind the kids to bring sleds. Whether you live in a cold climate area or not, collect donations of cardboard refrigerator boxes and other large cardboard sheets...and/or blocks of ice! (I last saw the block of ice sledding evening in Arizona...the kids loved it) Local ice stores make blocks available. Look for plenty of donations. By collecting these items, unless you have a pouring rain, you will be able to have sledding no matter what the ground cover, snow or not. For added fun, have a roaring bonfire with marshmallows and hot chocolate available!
CHRISTMAS SEASON INDOOR GAME: DELIVER THE PRESENTS
Divide your group into four teams. You will need at least one different colored balloon for each team that plays.
Each team is at a different wall, so that everyone is facing the center of the room. The teams each have a stash of twenty balloons behind them, and an empty box at the opposite side of the room. The object of the game is for the team to cross the room by batting their balloon above their head and then batting it into the box that is a "delivery." This is happening while each team is trying to "cross traffic" and move the best they can! No one is allowed to pop anyone else's balloon, but they can bat someone else's out of the way. Put a time limit of three minutes in a round and play two rounds. Count up and see which team's "elves" made the most deliveries!
INDOOR GAME: OVERSIZE SANTA
You will need to divide the teens into groups of five and supply them with an oversize sweatshirt for each group. Supply each group with 10-15 balloons. The week before, you may want to ask the guys in the group each to bring an oversize sweat shirt. Tell the teens that you will be trying to create a new Millenial Santa for the modern times. Keep the balloons in the packages until the activity begins, and select a guy from each group who will be the potential Santa. You will inform the teens that the object of this contest is to make a Santa by blowing up the balloons, tying them off and stuffing as many balloons as it can into the sweat shirt of its muscle man. The goal is to make your guy as round as possible in just three minutes. After the "stuffing period," blow the whistle and let a panel of judges made up of sponsors to declare a winning Santa.
JINGLE SLEIGH RELAY
You will need to get one Santa hat, one bell for each team, masking tape, and wax paper divided into 5-foot lengths.
Make sure you have a LARGE WIDE OPEN carpeted floor for the racing area. Using the masking tape, create a starting and finish lines 25 feet apart. Count off pairs of teens and group these pairs into four teams or an even number of teams depending on the size of your youth group.
Each team will receive a five-foot length of wax paper, which will be their sleigh. The bell and Santa hat are given to the first pair at the starting line. Laying the wax paper sleigh down, the starting pairs will have a partner who sits on the sleigh and rings the bell yelling HO HO HO while the other stands behind the sleigh and pushes. Blow a whistle and yell "go," so the teens each push their teammate to the finish line, get up and run the hat, bell and wax paper to the starting line so the next pair can begin their race. Award a "Storybook Livesaver" pack to the winners.
CONFUSION IN THE HOLIDAYS
Many times there is a confusion among people who may feel that Santa Claus is just as important as Jesus Christ during Christmas. There's no doubt that many nations confuse the gift-giving and the worship time of the holiday. The stories get muddled in some places. For example, in Puerto Rico, children receive gifts from the Three Kings on January 6th, (known as the celebration of Epiphany or the 3 Kings' Day.) Each child puts grass under their bed for the camels, and they will wake up in the morning to see the grass replaced with gifts. In Italy Babbo Natale means Father Christmas, and children wil put a pair of their shoes by the door on the day before Epiphany and the following morning they find them filled with small gifts and candy. In Japan, Santa Clause is called Santa Clause or just "Santa", but children may even add him to the family as they call him "Santa no ojisan," which means "Uncle Santa." But probably the greatest confusion is in Russia where he is called Kris Kringle - which comes from the German term "the Christ Child." Technically, Santa is actually refered to the Christ Child! Sadly enough, many people treat him that way this time of year.
PASSING AROUND A CHRISTMAS GIFT
You will round the teens up in a large circle of chairs. Include the adult sponsors int his game as well - nobody should be left out. You will start the game by holding up a wrapped present with a nice bow on it - it's actually empty, but it represents a powerful gift.
Tell the teens: "Tonight we are going to pass around a gift. I will start by sending this gift and giving you an idea of how we pass this gift around.
"I would like to give this gift to Marty, because she is always a bright and energetic Christian with a heart for others. She cares about people and she is a serious studetn of the Bible. Marty, this is for you. Who do you want to pass it to?"
Marty receives it and then names another teen that she wishes to give the gift to, along with the reasons why. That person, in turn, names another person, and so on. Many times teens are amazed at the qualities brought up about the recipient. Adults may also participate and everyone in the circle should receive a compliment. We have done this "gift exchange" many times and have enjoyed it immensely. It's a powerful way to bring your teens closer together. The gift is never kept, but passed on through the group during the whole "game."
CHRISTMAS ICEBREAKER: TEAMS OF THREE
As you ask these questions from Christmas songs, divide your teens up into groups of three. These trios must all stand up at once in order to answer the question. (Note: YOU choose the teams of three so there are no hard feelings.)The first team to stand up gets to tell which song the lyrics are from. The winning team gets a small box of candy canes. The answers are at the bottom of this column.
1. Come, Desire of nations, come! Fix in us Thy humble home:
2. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning,
3. He rules the world with truth and grace,
4. How silently, how silently, The wondrous gift is givn!
5. For lo, the days are hastening on, By prophet bards foretold,
6. Then entered in, those wise men three, Full revrently upon their knee,
7. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, or
I love thee Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky, And stay by my side until morning is nigh
8. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh, Come peasant, king, to own Him,
9. Glorious now behold Him arise, King and God and sacrifice,
10. The shepherds at these tidings Rejoiced much in mind,
1. HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING
2. O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL
3. JOY TO THE WORLD
4. O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
5. IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR
6. THE FIRST NOEL
7. AWAY IN A MANGER
8. WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
9. WE THREE KINGS OF ORIENT ARE
10. GOD REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN
BIBLE STUDY: OLD TESTAMENT CHRISTMAS SCRIPTURES
Many times we relegate the Christmas Scriptures to the New Testament only we miss a powerful part of the story, for the predictions are plenty! Here are some of the many Christmas Scriptures from the OLD TESTAMENT. Assign different teens to look these up and discuss where they play a place in the season's Christmas story.
JESUS WILL MAKE AN IMPACT Isa. 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
JESUS WILL COME FROMT HE LINE OF JESSE Isa. 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
JOHN THE BAPTIST WILL PRECEDE CHRIST Isa. 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
JESUS WILL PREACH TO GENTILES AS WELL AS JEWS Isa. 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
EVERYONE SHALL SEE THAT SALVATION IS POSSIBLE Isa. 52:9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
THE LORD WILL COME Isa. 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
JESUS WILL COME FROM THE LINE OF DAVID AND JESSE Jer. 23: 5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
BETHLEHEM WILL BE THE LORD'S EARTHLY BIRTHPLACE Mic. 5: 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,thou be little among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall he come forth unto me to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth from of old, from everlasting.
These are good starter passages. Have your teens look for other passages that prophecy the Lord's coming to earth and His ministry as Savior.
CHRISTMAS INDOOR GAME
Here's a Christmas trivia game! Divide your teens into groups and see if they can correctly answer these questions as you call them out. They write down the answers and see if their team came up with the correct answer as you call it out.
1. TRUE OR FALSE? The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas carols.
2. Charles Dickens' initial choice for Scrooge's statement 'Bah Humbug' was actually 'Bah _______ '
3. If you counted them up, how many gifts were presented in the Twelve Days of Christmas? Closest teen group wins points for this.
Answer: There are 364 gifts in 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'.
4. Decorating with candles has always been popular, but also one of biggest sources of danger during the Christmas holidays. In 1895 a New England employee, Ralph Morris came up with the idea of Christmas lights. It had something to do with his company. What company did he work for: Telephone, fireworks, or flashlight company?
Answer: telephone. While looking at the newly installed strings of lights made for the telephone switchboard, he decided to take some home to decorate his tree with.
5. Poinsettas and Christmas started with what country: Italy, Mexico, or France?
Answer: Early Mexican Christians called it the Flower of Holy Night and legend has it that a small boy was upset on Christmas eve because he had nothing to offer the Christ Child on His birthday. While the boy was praying at his village church altar, a flower sprang up with its brilliant red and green.
6. How was the Poinsetta named, after a Christmas event, a person, or a region of the country?
Answer: The plant was named after the American ambassador to Mexico, J. R. Poinsett, who found out they grew well in the U.S. after sending some to his home in South Carolina.
ICEBREAKER: CHRISTMAS QUIZ
Type this out and hand this "quiz" to your teen, and see which teen can figure out the names of the songs below. These are disguised in more "descriptive" language. award a small box of Christmas chocolates or a $5 gift crtificate book from McDonalds. The answers are at the bottom.
Quadruped with crimson proboscis_______________
5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise___________________
Miniscule hamlet in the far east __________________
Ancient benevolent despot ______________________
Adorn the vestibule ___________________________
Exuberance directed to the planet ________________
Listen, aerial spirits harmonizing _________________
Monarchial trio _______________________________
Yonder in the haystack _________________________
Assemble, everyone who believes _________________
Hallowed post meridian _________________________
Fantasies of a colorless December 25th _____________
Tin tintinnabulums ____________________________
A dozen 24-hour yule periods ____________________
Befell during the transparent bewitching hour ______
Homo sapien of crystallized vapor ________________
I merely desire a pair of incisors __________________
I spied my maternal parent osculating a fat man in red__
Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy ____
Aloft on the acme of the abode _____________________
1. Quadruped with crimson proboscis: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
2. 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise: Silent Night
3. Miniscule hamlet in the far east: O Little Town of Bethlehem
4. Ancient benevolent despot: Good King Wenceslas (you can also accept Jolly Old St. Nicholas as an answer)
5. Adorn the vestibule: Deck the Halls
6. Exuberance directed to the planet: Joy to the World
7. Listen, aerial spirits harmonizing: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
8. Monarchial trio: We Three Kings
9. Yonder in the haystack: Away in a Manger
10. Assemble, everyone who believes: Come All Ye Faithful
11. Hallowed post meridian: O Holy Night
12. Fantasies of a colorless December 25th: I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
13. Tin tintinnabulums: Silver Bells
14. A dozen 24-hour Yule periods: The Twelve Days of Christmas
15. Befell during the transparent bewitching hour: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
16. Homo sapien of crystallized vapor: Frosty the Snowman
17. I merely desire a pair of incisors: All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
18. I spied my maternal parent osculating a fat man in red: I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus
19. Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy: Walking Through a Winter Wonderland
20. Aloft on the acme of the abode: Up on the Rooftop
CHRISTMAS BIBLE STUDY: THE GIFT OF GODLY SPEECH
There are many tangible gifts we think about at Christmas, but what if a teen gave the gift of learnig how to use his speech in a more God-honoring manner, eliminating cynicism and cutting-down. Heres a fun demonstration that can bring you up to a strong message on the use of proper Christian speech. Take four people from your group. Send three out of the room while one stands up front and gives the following phrase:
"You know, I never thought the Chrismas party would end up like this."
They say the same phrase seven times - the exact same phrase - but they must use these EMOTIONS in saying the statement.
1. Casually 2. Foreign accent (any accent is okay) 3. Angrily 4. Sadly 5. Hilariously 6. Crazily 7. Crying
Here are the other phrases...remember, they are to use the same seven emotions!
2nd person - "I can't believe they used a midget and an elephant in the Christmas play."
3rd person - "I've never seen anyone drive a car that fast in reverse."
4th person - "I would like for you to vote for me in the student council election."
Your study could be on Colossians 4:6 or James 1:26 - not only what you say, but what you really mean when you say it. This would be a true Christmas gift from some teens who need to watch their speech!
You may plan this for Sunday, if you like: arrange to have a small tree in your youth group room. Announce that your teen group is going to decorate the tree! The teens are to provide the ornaments (You may put one or two strings of lights, and provide hooks for the ornaments). Announce that, with the ornament, the teen must provide a ONE MINUTE testimony or favorite verse to share with the rest of the group. If they choose the verse, they must tell why they like that particular verse. Or, they could tell what they are thankful for during this season. Only after they share are they allowed to hang the ornament. These oranments are on "loan" and will be returned to the teens on the night of the last meeting before Christmas.
CHRISTMAS CARD EXCHANGE
Your teens would love to be able to exchange Christmas cards, but may not have the extra money to afford postage. here's how you can help:
Create small pockets that bear each teen's name on them. Staple them to the wall with the open end at the top so that anyone can come and insert a Christmas card on a Wednesday night or Sunday morning. There is no cost for postage. Some people will even insert candy or other goodies into them.
As I have posted the "Christmas card packets" over the years, I have never ceased to see the teens get excited through the weeks as their packets filled more and more. You may even want to use a large yellow envelope, purchased at an office supply store, for the packets.
A LAWYER'S VERSION OF THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.
A variety of foot apparel, e.g., stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick AKA/St. Nicholas AKA/Santa Claus (hereinafter "Claus") would arrive at sometime thereafter.
The minor residents, i.e., the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e., dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.
Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as "I"), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g., kerchief and cap.)
Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.
At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter "the Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.
Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional coconspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved.)
The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.
Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.
Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the US Tax Code.)
Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts." Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.
However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
Or words to that effect.
COLORS OF CHRISTMAS
Where did the colors red and green originate as the "theme colors" of the holiday? One theory is that it is possibly from the holly tree, which was a early Christmas decoration. Another reason is that the AD 325 council of Nicaea laid down guidelines for symbolism in church art; Red meant the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, along with His divine love, courage, and martyrdom. The green stood for hope, spring, safety, and victory. These two matched the strong colors of what the Christians celebrated in the holiday.
POEM: SANTA COMES TO ARIZONA
T'was the night before Christmas and all through the town,
no noses were frozen, no snow fluttered down,
no children in flannels were tucked into bed,
they all wore shorty pajamas instead.
The sleeping kiddies were dreaming in glee,
hoping that Super Soakers were under the tree.
They all knew that Santa was well on his way,
in a Mercedes-Benz, instead of a sleigh.
And soon he arrived and started to work,
he hadn't a second to linger or shirk.
He whizzed up the highways and zoomed up the road,
in a S-L 300, delivering his loads.
The desert moon gave the city a glow,
and lighted the way for old Santa below.
As he jumped from the auto he gave a wee chuckle,
he was dressed in Bermudas with an Ivy league buckle,
There weren't any chimneys, but that caused no gloom,
for Santa came in tthrough the Arizona room.
He stopped at each house....stayed only a minute,
emptying his sack of stuff that was in it.
Before he departed, he treated himself
to a glass of fruit juice upon the shelf.
He turned with a jerk and bounced to the car,
remembering he still had to go very far.
He shifted the gears and stepped on the gas
and up Highway 17 he went like a flash.
And I heard him exclaim as loud as one can,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS Y'ALL! I GOT A GREAT TAN!"
SCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING ABOUT SANTA...
Can the chubby guy REALLY make the trip around the world in one night? Here's a tongue-in-cheek "scientific and mathematical" look at the problem, which your teens will enjoy reading:
1. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas of worktime, due to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (good idea). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, jump out of the sleigh, zip down the chimney, fill the stockings, put the remaining presents under the tree, eat the snacks, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next home. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which they are not, but hey, let's let reality stop for a moment), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, and this doesn't even include rest room breaks.
2. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second.
The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a GI Joe and accessories or a Barbie and accessories (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is, delicately put, a bit on the hefty side. Normal reindeer can pull no more than 1000 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we would need 71,4200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons.
3. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - heating up the reindeer the same way a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere does. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second. Each. In other words, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
4. But none of this is fun if we are going to enjoy the silly side of Christmas, so let's just forget all of this math - after all, it's the holiday and nobody wants to study.
HERE'S A FUN ADDITION TO YOUR TEEN NEWSLETTER FOR YOUR COMPUTER-MINDED YOUTH:
T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the shop,
The computers were whirring; they never do stop.
The power was on and the temperature right,
In hopes that the input would feed back that night.
The system was ready, the program was coded,
And memory drums had been carefully loaded;
While adding a Christmasy glow to the scene,
The lights on the console, flashed red, white and green.
When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
The programmer ran to see what was the matter.
Away to the hallway he flew like a flash,
Forgetting his key in his curious dash.
He stood in the hallway and looked all about,
When the door slammed behind him, and he was locked out.
Then, in the computer room what should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer;
And a little old man, who with scarcely a pause,
Chuckled: "My name is Santa...the last name is Claus."
The computer was startled, confused by the name,
Then it buzzed as it heard the old fellow exclaim:
"This is Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
And Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen."
With all these odd names, it was puzzled anew;
It hummed and it clanked, and a main circuit blew.
It searched in its memory core, trying to "think";
Then the multi-line printer went out on the blink.
Unable to do its electronic job,
It said in a voice that was almost a sob:
"Your eyes - how they twinkle - your dimples so merry,
Your cheeks so like roses, your nose like a cherry,
Your smile - all these things, I've been programmed to know,
And at data-recall, I am more than so-so;
But your name and your address (computers can't lie),
Are things that I just cannot identify.
You've a jolly old face and a little round belly,
That shakes when you laugh like a bowlful of jelly;
My scanners can see you, but still I insist,
Since you're not in my program, you cannot exist!"
Old Santa just chuckled a merry "ho, ho",
And sat down to type out a quick word or so.
The keyboard clack-clattered, its sound sharp and clean,
As Santa fed this "data" to the machine:
"Kids everywhere know me; I come every year;
The presents I bring add to everyone's cheer;
But you won't get anything - that's plain to see;
Too bad your programmers forgot about me."
Then he faced the machine and said with a shrug,
"Merry Christmas to All," as he pulled out its plug!
CHRISTMAS ICEBREAKER QUIZ
Try these actual traditions and old superstitions on your teens for fun. The answers are after each statement in parentheses. Give a giant candy cane to the winner.
"To have good health throughout the next year, eat _______ on Christmas Eve." (an apple)
"Eat plum pudding on Christmas and avoid losing _______ before next Christmas." (a friend )
"On Christmas Eve all animals can _______. However, it is bad luck to test this superstition." (speak)
"The child born on Christmas Day will have a special _____." (fortune or luck)
"Wearing new _____ on Christmas Day will bring bad luck." (shoes)
In Ireland it is believed _________ open at midnight on Christmas Eve. (the gates of Heaven. Those who die then go straight to Heaven.)
If you refuse a _________ at Christmas dinner, you will have bad luck for the coming day. (mince pie)
If you eat a _______ before eating anything else on Christmas morning, you will be able to carry heavy weights.(raw egg)
"Snow on Christmas means Easter will be _____." (green)
"Good luck will come to the home where a ____is kept _____throughout the Christmas season. (fire , burning)
"Place ____ side by side on Christmas Eve to prevent a quarreling family." (shoes)
"A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good _____ in the summer." (crops)
In Greece, some people burn their old ______ during the Christmas season to prevent misfortunes in the coming year.(shoes )
In Devonshire, England, a girl raps at the henhouse door on Christmas Eve. If a ______, she will marry within the year. (rooster crows)
You will have as many happy months in the coming year, as the number of houses you eat ________in during Christmastime. (mince pies)