Image Gallery: Christmas Trees
Image Gallery: Christmas Trees

Santa's antimatter propulsion unit allows him to travel faster than the speed of light. See more pictures of Christmas trees.

Miyoko Komine/Gettty Images

­On Christmas Eve, millions of children around the world will settle uneasily into bed, hardly able to contain themselves. What vision could possibly dance through their heads, turning them into twitchy, restless insomniacs for just one night? Is it the Sugar Plum Fairy from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" or the sugarplums from Clement Clarke Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas"? Can sugarplums really do such a thing?

Chances are the children are thinking about toys, Santa Claus and his team of reindeer -- if the children have been nice this year, jolly old St. Nick should be landing his sleigh on their roofs sometime late in the night.

Everyone has their own traditional image of Santa's sleigh, but could there be more to it than just a sled and a team of reindeer? Although­ no one may ever know for sure just how Santa operates, we at HowStuffWorks have what we think are the most logical explanations for how the big guy accomplishes all that he does: science and technology.

­Sure, demystifying Santa's modus operandi puts us at risk of getting nothing but coal in our stockings this year, but it's all for the noble pursuit of yuletide knowledge. After all, have you ever wondered how Santa's sleigh flies? What about the reindeer? And how does Santa fit all of those presents into one bag? In the next section, we'll look at the possible technology behind Santa's sleigh.