Uh Oh! The Dirty Truth About Santa’s Carbon Footprint

As world leaders met in Durban, South Africa to discuss climate change, one has to wonder if the issue of Santa Claus’ huge carbon footprint came up. According to Ethical Ocean, Santa’s carbon footprint for his annual trip around the world to deliver presents comes to 69.7 million metric tons, with those toys being the biggest contributor to his footprint. That is more than the annual carbon footprint of the entire country of Ireland (60.3 million tons)!

What can Santa do? Perhaps he needs some targets and a plan to get back on track. Let’s take a look at his track record and see where he could improve.

Santa's Carbon Footprint Infographic

via Ethical Ocean – eco friendly products, fair trade and vegan shopping.

The Santa who comes to our house doesn’t wrap the presents. They are left in stockings that are re-used each year or left unwrapped next to the stocking. The milk is local organic milk and the cookies are homemade by our kids. Hopefully there won’t be any lemons this year.

What steps is your Santa taking to reduce his emissions?

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Image credits: Photo of Santa Claus - LadyDragonflyCC on flickr Carbon Footprint Info Graphic: Ethical Ocean


Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence5 years ago

Gosh, next someone will be telling me Santa isn't real...:)

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

i like having a physical copy of my games and movies. godforbid I want to take it with me or loan it to a friend, or brag about owning a rare game (or just pirate the ISO rom verson)

Sandi Bright
Sandi Bright5 years ago

We could all help Santa reduce his carbon footprint by remembering the reason we celebrate. To many, it is the celebration of the Christ Child, to still many others, it is a celebration of loved ones, friends and the Mother Earth. If we concentrated on the spirit of the season, not the toys of the season, Ol' Santa's carbon foot print would be greatly diminished. This is the year my family finally ( with a lot of pushing from me ) decided that the holidays would be spent in a old fashioned manner. Our dinner together is our gift to each other. The money that would have spent on gifts, has gone to help needy families. May we all do something from our hearts this season and lay off of Santa for a while. He will try harder next year!

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado5 years ago


K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin5 years ago

(eats Santa's cookies) om nom nom nom :3

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn5 years ago

First, let's be rid of this imaginary buffoon and give the 'surprise gift' deal back to the Little People. I'm an Asatru follower and promote the idea of Yule gnomes (norse Yulenissen) vice some obese Flying Dutchman with aerial caribou. Second, I do promote the history of the original dissident Nicholas in that Netherlands town where the local governor tried to squelch Yule (or whatever Winter Solstice festival you want) and he resorted to delivering presents via chimneys, socks on the line, or other easy means to defeat tyranny.

As a kid I learned early that it was a pleasant fiction that left you a couple more small gifts, not that obese Dutchman. Detrimental lies are wrong, but wampeters, foma, and granfalloons are intended to smooth social interactions, not sabotage them as serious lies do. I enjoy the holidays as an adult - but I enjoy them my way, as the Yuletide or the Saturnalia, plus give a salute to the others like Channukah (three cheers for the Maccabees!), Kwanzaa (continuing the effort to accumulate a taste of old African traditions in a modern world), and Christmas (NOT a birthday, but a Mass celebration intended to co-incide with Saturnalia).

Michele G.
Past Member 5 years ago


Amanda M.
Amanda M5 years ago

As Wiccans, we celebrate Yule as our religious holiday, but we do celebrate the secular aspects of Christmas, including the kids getting presents from Santa. We have long since asked him to not wrap the presents (family tradition from when I was a kid), we leave him homemade cookies and orange juice instead of milk (my parents left him my mom's homemade Jamaican fruitcake-yummy!), and we also sprinkle homemade reindeer food made from oats, birdseed, and glitter (to help them find our house) in the front and back yards. The good-quality toys get saved for the next generation in our family, and the ones that we don't want get sold at our annual yard sale or donated to Goodwill. Lastly, I've told our kids to limit their gift requests from Santa to 3 each so that there's enough room in the sleigh for everyone's toys and the reindeer don't get too stressed from the flight.

We're doing our part at least. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Arjen Lentz
Arjen Lentz5 years ago

Kids don't actually need "more toys", particularly not a whole pile of 'em.
If you're a parent, carer, family member or friend and feel that the kids around you really need more stuff, this is more something for you to consider, rather than being about the kids.

Do you know how kids spell love? T I M E.