With the holiday party season starting up in earnest, you'd better get ready "“ and we don't mean by putting on some fancy earrings and a Christmas sweater. You'll also need some intellectual ammunition, some tidbits and bon mots to dispense over champagne and cookies. So all month long, we'll be bringing you daily factlets for just such use, plucked from our collection of books, magazines, and other stuff. Today's archival tidbit comes from, appropriately, Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets:

Many children figure out the nonexistence of Santa Claus when they begin to contemplate the enormity of his task. And indeed, Santa would need some rocket-powered reindeer: Assuming the world contains two billion households and Santa visits every one over the course of 24 hours, he would have to travel at a rate of 8,000,000 meters per second, leaving him precious little time to dip cookies in milk.