updated 12/4/2007 3:23:23 PM ET 2007-12-04T20:23:23

Forget the North Pole.

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Santa Claus and his elves should set up shop in Kyrgyzstan to optimize the delivery of Christmas gifts to 2.5 billion homes worldwide.

That's according to Swedish engineering consulting firm SWECO, which calculated Santa's optimal journey based on a range of factors from the Earth's rotation to which areas of the planet are most densely populated.

The perfect location, SWECO found, is in the mountains of the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, near the border with Kazakhstan.

"By starting his journey there, Santa can achieve the most efficient around-the-world trip to distribute Christmas gifts," SWECO said Tuesday. "He can eliminate time-consuming detours and avoid subjecting his reindeer to undue strain."

SWECO said Santa could reach every home on the globe from that location in 48 hours — providing his sleigh can maintain an average speed of about 21 million kph (13 million mph) and that each stop takes no more than 34 microseconds. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second.

"That is probably why we're never able to see Santa, because he is just so super fast," SWECO consultant Johan Larsson said.

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