The Paper Puzzle Parade

Santa Claus'
packing problem

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What's up?

Panic on christmas' eve: It's high time to deliver the presents. But this year, Santa got so many of them that they hardly fit into the boot of his sleigh. Seventeen parcels have to be stuffed in there. And as his powerfull ren deers will ride an incredible speed, nothing is allowed to stick out at the top.

Santa himself has tried for hours and is close to giving up. So it's up to you to save the situation and make this christmas a happy one.

Helpers with some idea of mathematics have a clear advantage: The sizes and the numbers of the parcels match a famous puzzle invented by John Horton Conway, now a Princeton professor of mathematics. So when you get stuck with stuffing the parcels, have a little break and meditate on odd and even numbers. Got the clue?

What you need

To build this puzzle, you will need the following:

1: A printout of the sheet with the parts of Santa's sleigh and the seventeen parcels
The PDF file of this sheet can be downloaded here.
See the Tips and Tools page for details on how to get a perfect print. If you have access to a large size printer, it is advisable to enlarge the print from its original DIN A4 format. The parcels will then be easier to handle.

2.: A transparent foil, as it is used on overhead projectors.
You will need three pieces to cover the windows of the sleigh. The size of each piece is 4 x 4 cm - unless you enlarge your print.

General instructions on tools and materials can be found on the Tips and Tools page.

Building the Puzzle

Building this puzzle is rated easy. Nevertheless, please have a look at the Tips and Tools page before you start building.

With the ideas from that page in mind, building the puzzle is pretty easy:

  • prepare three quadratic pieces of 4 x 4 cm size from the transparent foil
  • glue the foil pieces to the back side of (01) to cover the windows in the sides of the sleigh
  • now fold and glue the sleigh's case (01) just as shown below

  • build a driver's seat from parts (02) and (03) and attach it to the front side of the sleigh
  • fold the two skits from parts (04) and glue them to the bottom of the case (01)

  • Build the 17 parcels as shown on the right


Now you're done with the easy part of this game ... So let's start with the real challenge: Stuff all the 17 parcels into the case of the sleigh. The parcels must not stick out of the sleigh, nor may the case be bent. Have fun.


If you have questions regarding the puzzles, feel free to contact me at . I would also appreciate if you leave a comment of any kind in this site's guestbook!

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This kit: © 1997, 98 by Georg Eggers, all rigths reserved. Not to be used for any commercial purpose!

Author: Georg Eggers email:
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Last modifications: January 08, 2002

Visitors since January 2002