Old Nick is Saint Nicholas' elder brother.

He sees his brother's good work at Christmas and wants to help in his own way, and sees a gap in the market (he really can't compete with spreading good).

The naughty list

Saint Nicholas neither punishes or rewards kids on the naughty list, but Old Nick decides that he wants to do something about that.

So, he hoodwinks and bribes a few elves in the chemical factory and makes them create a genetically-targeted virus that chemically sterilises bad kids.

The creation of the genetic target is outside the scope of this question (suffice to say that a combination of genetic markers have been identified). The virus is harmless to and does not infect normal people. Normal people can only act as carriers in the physical sense.

Now that Old Nick has a stockpile of modified flu virus, he's now stuck with the logistics of deployment.

Santa's security measures on his reindeer barn means that Old Nick cannot steal the sleigh, he must use conventional methods. Having said that, he has the luxury of preparation time and unlimited funds.

How is he able to spread the virus as quickly and widely as possible on the night of the 24th December?

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Dec 23 '16 at 3:43

Contaminate the coal supply

As is tradition, Santa gives coal to the bad children. A contaminated coal supply would allow Old Nick to use Santa's logistics to give targeted distribution of the virus and give himself the night off.

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    $\begingroup$ I never got a lump of coal and I know that I'm definitely not on the nice list... $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Dec 21 '16 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T, your parents probably cheated and replaced the coal with presents from themselves before you woke up $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Dec 21 '16 at 11:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix But they probably didn't clean the stocking first, so your answer still stands. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Dec 21 '16 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ You know something, what is Santa going to do now that we are shifting a way from coal power and towards renewables? There's like 2 MJ in a lump of coal. Can you imagine getting 2 MJ of wind energy in your stocking? 2 MJ of sunlight? Being bad is going to be a lot more dangerous in the future. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Dec 21 '16 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ @kingledion Santa's elves make coal by reducing CO2 from air. Therefore, that coal is a renewable source of energy. $\endgroup$ – Pere Dec 22 '16 at 18:09

As a comment of yours states that the virus does not infect/alter normal people, we could simply modify the strain somewhat more and make it airborne.

Having done that, our vector of dispersal will be aviation fuel. Airplanes need loooooooads of that stuff to fly around and the internet tells me there's more than 100'000 flights every 24 hours, so we'll have the thing carried anywhere in the world in sufficient time.

Why the fuel supply?!, you might still wonder. The answer to that lies in the facts that most planes dump their remaining fuel before their landing approach, so even if most of the strain does not survive the temperatures in a jet engine, some of it will be released in the air over most of the world's airports.

My apologies, in the heat of the moment I misread the source I quote. Fuel dumping is happening, but not nearly often enough for my scheme to work out...

INSTEAD, say hello to our good old friend the Chemtrails! They are used for so many things already, we can just piggyback with our virus and blame the Lizard People!

As airports are traffic hubs, the virus can spread from here using almost every vector your Old Nick can dream of.

Merry Christmas Everyone, Ho Ho Cough...

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    $\begingroup$ No can do. Jet fuel is already chock-full of that chemtrail-making stuff and in wake of Illuminati-Reptilian war of 1908 we are all under conspiracy non-infringement agreement. You don't want Tunguska to start happening above major cities, do you? $\endgroup$ – M i ech Dec 21 '16 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Miech that's the thing, nobody will suspect because everybody does suspect! $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Dec 21 '16 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ SANTA IS USING CHEMTRAILS! WAKE UP SHEEPLE! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 21 '16 at 10:29
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    $\begingroup$ "Most planes" certainly do not dump fuel: aviation.stackexchange.com/q/8864/11170 and aviation.stackexchange.com/q/29232/11170 . It happens infrequently and only in the case of an emergency. Not even the military does it very much these days. $\endgroup$ – JPhi1618 Dec 21 '16 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Xandar The Zenon, The Templars consider you to be a conspiracy theory as well.....;-) $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Dec 21 '16 at 18:06

Infect the elves

If you can make the disease in a such a way that elves become carriers for the disease then every present delivered, opened or otherwise handled by Santa's little helpers will be exposed to this pathogen, and I doubt very much that elves work in a sterile environment.

This also extends the reach of your virus to coal deliveries, the glittery reindeer poop that covers most of the world after a mince-pie heavy night and any child visiting a grotto.

Oh, and you can use a recent tradition to get people to literally bring the disease into their homes for direct exposure.

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    $\begingroup$ Obviously you did not hear about the Elfluenza virus. It was barely contained in time, and the elves have worked in sterile environments since. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 21 '16 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon - Sounds like it was bad for their 'elf. And I bet it raised the premiums on Santa's elf insurance. Meh. Sorry about the puns. I just couldn't help mys elf. $\endgroup$ – Simba Dec 22 '16 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Simba They live in slavery! How dare you joke about their elful living conditions! $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 22 '16 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Simba It didn't affect his insurance at all, all his workers are covered under the National Elf Service plan. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 22 '16 at 15:37

The best way to get total world coverage for the virus is to transport it in multiple ways so that, if one way fails, there are still other ways to get the virus out there.

Firstly, I would suggest buying a ton of those drones you can get. The best easily available ones (according to Google) can fly around 25km. So if our friend Old Nick orders online a bunch of these drones complete with virus dispensers and puts them in lines with 25km gap between each drone in the line and a 1km gap between the lines the virus should get pretty comprehensive coverage. Of course the drones need controlling so Nick will need to hack into computers in each drones search area to control the drone. If there is no computer available Nick will need to order one and get someone to set it up. Nick can save some cash by not putting drones over the ocean but given we have infinite budget this doesn't really matter.

His next great option is to infect the traffic system. Cars travel in all but the poorest areas so infecting cars will definitely get most people. To do this Nick should plant spores in petrol and diesel pumps around the world. The high temperatures in engines might kill the spores so Nick shouldn't put much faith in this vector.

Given it's Christmas, lets make Nick a bit more festive. He could spray pine plantations with spores, although this will only get Westeners who have real trees. He can also infect the large factories that produce mince pies and/or other Christmas food. Feeding geese and turkeys viral spores might be a good idea too. Between these methods Nick should get 99% of naughty people. Keep this up every year and those bad people will soon be extinct.


Santa himself is the most reliable distribution vector, since he will visit exactly the houses we wish to target with the Naughty virus. Physical access to the sleigh itself is out; however, there are other ways to use it as a distribution platform...

Infect the Reindeer

Security is likely to be far less secure on the animals than on the sleigh, simply because the animals have needs that the inanimate object does not. It should be trivial to infect them with ticks genetically engineered to act as carriers for your Naughty virus (created courtesy of some more bribed elves from Santa's bio-engineering facility); perhaps by placing them on the brushes used by the reindeer's caretakers or on the clothing of the caretakers themselves. Unless the reindeer are completely decontaminated prior to liftoff, the fleas will transfer to Santa's clothing as he interacts with the reindeer throughout the night, and from there the fleas will enter the households of all the naughty little girls and boys...

Alternatively, without resorting to extra weapons development, Old Nick could simply

Infect the Wrapping Paper

What's the first thing a child does when he or she gets up on Christmas Morning? That's right - run down the stairs and rip open all of the presents under the tree. Coat the inside of every roll of wrapping paper on the planet with your Anthrax spores, and when a child rips open the wrapping paper, the motion flings the spores into the air like peas being flung from a spoon catapult. Note that this method not only applies to the presents Santa distributes, but also to the presents parents buy for their naughty children so they don't feel left out.

Of course, this is all assuming that Santa's primary security concern is protecting the billions of dollars worth of presents and the proprietary wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey technology that allows him to store all of these goods in his sleigh and distribute them in a single trip. If he is actively guarding against bio-chemical warfare, this avenue of attack may not be open for Old Nick.

  • $\begingroup$ But if there are no "nice" children in a house and Santa is not doing anything to/for them (as the question supposes), he wouldn't have a reason to enter the house of naughty children, would he? $\endgroup$ – SnoringFrog Dec 22 '16 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ Have you ever known any household who has never received any presents from Santa? Also, if we assume naughty children are a vector of spread, children from one household should be able to infect children from a present-less household. $\endgroup$ – chif-ii Dec 22 '16 at 15:46

Infect Saint Nicholas

Make the pathogen airborne as well as passable through indirect contact (wrapping paper, milk glasses and cookie plates) and you got a good start. Have it be virulent enough so slightest contact is enough for infection and give Saint Nicholas the slightest case of chest cold (no where near enough to cancel, but just enough for coughing and sneezing) to help cover the room in the pathogen. On Christmas Day there will be an "extra" surprise for all as they open all the gifts Saint Nicholas handled!

Saint Nick didn't visit the house with an only child that's naughty? It will still work. All the "Nice" kids on the block (or who come in contact with them) will see them soon for snow games outside or at school!

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately for your plan the OP clarified that nice kids cannot be carriers for the virus, and I would assume the same would go for Saint Nicholas (he is a saint after all) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Wells Dec 21 '16 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Kevin Wells "Bellerophon - Virus is harmless and does not infect normal people. Normal people ** can only act as carriers in the physical sense**, unfortunately. – Pᴇᴛᴇ 10 hours ago ": Quote from above on question so yes they can carry it but are unaffected otherwise. so good children, parents, any contact from the rooms Santa was in at all are covered in the contact and aerosol spreading spores. Its only on the skin, clothing dog, cat...ect. $\endgroup$ – user30734 Dec 21 '16 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ I would agree except that that isn't how viruses spread. There is only so much you can get onto a person's skin and that doesn't spread very broadly (since there is only a limited supply). Normally viruses spread by replicating in a host so that there is ever more of them over time so they can keep spreading. Also, viruses don't last long outside of their hosts, and die relatively quickly on most surfaces. And lastly, if Santa or the nice kids ever washed their hands or showered it would stop the spread. I like the idea, but I don't think it would be the most efficient way to achieve this goal $\endgroup$ – Kevin Wells Dec 21 '16 at 21:02

Put it on and in items that the naughty would frequently USE in their evil schemes... like lunch money, baseball bats, puppy dog tails, little sisters, flower beds, newspapers, candy, etc.

Now if there was only a way to also infect internet trolls.


Use self replicating Nanobots! They could keep viral material inert in all children until a naughty detection subroutine causes them to release the virus. Since Santa is going to be visiting the entire world, drop the self replicating nanobots into the local water supplies. In order to beat the Reindeer Barn Security, Old Nick could create "trojan horse presents" that are addressed to the kiddies of Water plant employees.

Another vector would be to mix the 'bots into the Jolly Old Elf's magic dust where it would be distributed kind of like a crop duster. Old Nick could insert the bots wherever the Magic Dust is created, before it ever gets to the Reindeer Barn.

That said, I reeeaaallly wanna know where this little story goes :)


Riffing on the answer from @Paul TIKI, rather than using any virus at all just use nanobots that are programmed to cause temporary sterility as desired in the targets. This has the huge added advantage of, as also mentioned in another question, when a child is OFF the naughty list and back on the nice list, the sterility can be easily reversed.

As for delivery of the nanobots, a number of the already-mentioned methods would likely do nicely, or best to use a combination.


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