Santa Claus is a traditional, secular figure of Christmas good cheer who is the best known (at least in modern times) mascot of Christmas, developed in the United States as an amalgam of the story of St. Nicholas and various other seasonal folk heroes, with many aspects provided by the classic poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. The Santa Claus myth is based largely on the Dutch holiday of "Sinterklaas" (a hastily pronounced "St. Nicholas", who comes down the chimney on the 5th/6 December) and the imagery of the Saint in question carried over to his North Pole incarnation. (Note that in several countries in Europe, Sinterklaas and Santa Claus are considered two entirely different characters, each with their own elaborate holiday.)
Santa is traditionally depicted as a festively overweight old man with a beard, who wears a red suit with white trim and a matching cap, black boots and a black belt. He lives at the North Pole in a large workshop staffed by elves which produces toys year round, and every Christmas Eve he sets out in a flying sleigh pulled by eight reindeer and delivers toys and other gifts to the children of the world out of the improbably large sack he carries with him, entering their houses by the chimney, filling their stockings, partaking of whatever food and drink the family left out for him, then leaving how he came in.
As the most prominent figure associated with Christmas, Santa Claus appears in many Christmas specials and movies, including several produced by Disney. His portrayal in them varies in many ways.
In Santa's Workshop, Santa reads letters from children as he prepares for his big night. This same version of Santa was seen again the following year in The Night Before Christmas as he embarks upon a home filled with children.
Santa was mentioned in the episode "A Jolly Molly Christmas".
Santa Claus makes a cameo appearance at the end of "It's a Wonderful Leaf".
In "Miracle at the 34th Precinct", while testing out in his new sleigh, Santa accidentally falls out and lands in Burbank, California, where he loses his memory and hangs out with Fall-Apart Rabbit, who nicknames him Jim.
- Main article: Santa Claus (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Santa Claus appears in the Recess Christmas episode "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave". Unlike in the other specials, the real Santa is depicted here as an African-American man with a cleanly-shaven beard.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
Santa appears in the episode Holiday Time. He operates out of the planet North Polaris, where utilizing an interstellar sleigh and a time-manipulation device, delivers presents to all the planets within the Galactic Alliance. However, Emperor Zurg manages to steal the time-manipulation device and seeks to use it to ruin the holiday for everyone. Santa enlists the help of Buzz and his crew, though Buzz doubts that Santa is the real deal.
The version of Santa from the Silly Symphonies shorts made a guest appearance on House of Mouse in the episode "Clarabelle's Christmas List".
In the Christmas episode, Santa was accidentally injured by Mr. Whiskers and forced to rest in the jungle while Brandy, Mr. Whiskers and their close friends travel over the world and deliver the gifts instead.
Santa made his first appearance in this series in "Mickey Saves Santa", in which Mrs. Claus, Mickey and Donald, journey off to Mistletoe Mountain to rescue a stranded Santa. He became an occasional recurring character and played a surprise role in "Mickey's Choo-Choo Express".
Todd replaces Santa Claus with another Santa Claus.
He was one of the judges in Eli Panderas' Miss Mystical World pagent in Eye of the Beholder and appeared again in Hairy Christmas in the mall with Jake. He was also mentioned in Hong Kong Longs, by Johnathan on his, Susan, Hayley, Spud, Trixie and Fu while he was asking Fu if mystical creatures are real, even Santa.
During a "summer run", Santa made use of the Chimney Vator, one of the many systems the O.W.C.A. has in place to transport its agents to and from their lairs around the world. During the ride, he met Agent P. Santa saved Agent P later in the day by catching the electromagnet on his sleigh that Dr. Doofenshmirtz had released from a crane, intending to crush Agent P. For this "summer run", Santa did not require the full complement of reindeer to pull the sleigh ("I, Brobot").
On Christmas Eve, Phineas and friends finish delivering gifts across Danville and find the sauna being used in the rest stop for Santa that Phineas and Ferb built atop the Flynn-Fletcher house. Santa chuckled, seemingly expecting for all of this to happen. He also reads Phineas' letter, saying all Phineas wished for was to be like him. Santa is also Phineas' greatest hero, delivering gifts to everyone in one night, something even he possibly couldn't do. He then takes Phineas' gift with him, thanks the kids for doing Danville for him then leaves. The next morning, Phineas and friends find gifts under their trees, all from Santa ("Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!").
- When Santa Claus appears in "I, Brobot", he is voiced by Dan Povenmire (listed in the credits under "Additional Voices"). In "Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!", he is voiced by Clancy Brown.
- The Santa Claus in "I, Brobot" and in "Wizard of Odd" look the same while the Santa Claus in "Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!" has a different appearance.
- Santa has lots of relationships with the OWCA, because, he knows and is friend with Perry, Monogram is angry with him because he hasn't give him a pony and one of his reindeer is an OWCA agent.
The Prep & Landing specials revolve around a special group of elves that prepare the homes that Santa, codenamed the "Big Guy", visits during the Christmas Eve night. His face is never fully shown onscreen, except from a distance in a few shots in Operation: Secret Santa.
Disney characters who have dressed as Santa Claus
- Goofy - Appears as Santa in the Magic Kingdom Yuletide Special, and also dresses as him at the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, in the Mickey Mouse Works cartoon "Mickey's Christmas Crisis" and in the Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas segment "Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas" to make Max believe that Santa exists.
- Scrooge McDuck - Dresses as Santa on the cover of Walt Disney's Holiday Parade #1.
- Winnie the Pooh - Pretends to be Santa in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh special, Winnie the Pooh and a Christmas Too!
- King Louie - Pretends to be Santa in the TaleSpin episode "A Jolly Molly Christmas".
- Max Goof - Pretends to be Santa in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas.
- Pete - Dresses as Santa in the Goof Troop episode "Goof of a Feather" and the House of Mouse episode "Pete's Christmas Caper".
- Mickey and Minnie - Mickey and Minnie dressed up as Santa Claus in rare stuffed animals from the 90's. Mickey also played the role of Santa for orphan kittens in Mickey's Orphans and Mickey's Good Deed, and again in the opening scene of the House of Mouse episode "Clarabelle's Christmas List".
- Donald Duck - Donald dresses up as Santa as part of a trick he's pulling on Chip 'n' Dale in Toy Tinkers.
- Humphrey the Bear - Pretends to be Santa briefly in the Mickey Mouse Works cartoon "Donald's Grizzly Guest".
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Oswald plays Santa for a group of orphans in the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon Empty Socks.
- Darkwing Duck - Drake Mallard plays the role of Santa when giving presents to his neighbors.
- Lucky Piquel - Dressed up as Santa in the Bonkers television episode "Miracle at the 34th Precinct".
- Jack Skellington - After capturing Santa, Jack dresses up as Santa himself.
- Pumbaa - Pumbaa dresses up as Santa in the Timon & Pumbaa episode "Don't Be Elfish".
- Buzz Lightyear - Buzz gets into the Christmas holiday spirit by dressing up as Santa and getting people to donate money to him in the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command episode "Holiday Time".
- Kermit the Frog - Kermit arrives dressed as Santa at the beginning to tell the story after climbing down the chimney in The Christmas Toy. (His scenes are unfortunately cut from the DVD release and The Hub's broadcasts of the special.) Other instances of Kermit playing Santa Claus includes him playing the role coming down the chimney in The Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar and with Miss Piggy holidng mistletoe over his head, on a 1977 wall decoration by Hallmark. The same picture can be seen in the dressing rooms of the Muppet Show, the front cover of the March 8, 1979 issue of Lhiton, a remake version appeared on the front cover of Jim Henson's Muppets Annual 1983, as a plush doll in 1990 by Presents, a division of Hamilton Gifts, in an 1997 episode of Good Morning America, on the cover of Kermit Presents Christmas Treasures, a 2003 Sababa Muppet plush doll, and Kermit dressed up as Santa on the cover of the Winter 1987 issue of Muppet Magazine with Pee-Wee Herman and his stocking.
- Porkchop - Porkchop dresses up as Santa in the Doug episode "Doug's Christmas Story".
- Wade Load - Wade dressed up as Santa in the Kim Possible episode "A Very Possible Christmas".
- Rowlf the Dog - Rowlf is dressed as Santa on The Jimmy Dean Show on December 24, 1964.
- Baby Animal - Baby Animal dressed up as Santa to show who would come down the chimney that Baby Piggy must clean in the Muppet Babies episode "Pigerella".
- Baby Kermit - Baby Kermit dressed up as Santa Claus for a Muppet Babies Christmas baby squeeze toy in 1989.
- Big Bad Wolf - The wolf dresses as Santa to infiltrate Sandy Pig's home in Muppet Classic Theatre.
- Bobo the Bear - Bobo is asked to fill in for the absent Santa in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.
- Doc Hogg - Doc appears as "Santa Hogg" at the Woodland Valley Mall in the Bear in the Big Blue House episode "A Berry Bear Christmas".
- Fozzie Bear - Fozzie dresses as Santa for the Muppet Magazine Christmas party in Muppet Magazine issue 5 and as a salvation army Santa for the number "The Pleasure of Your Company" in John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together.
- Gonzo - Gonzo dressed up as Santa and Gonzo's chickens play the part of Santa's reindeer in a holiday mix-up medley in episode 517 of The Muppet Show.
- Miss Piggy - Santa Claus can't make it for Christmas Day, so Miss Piggy cheers up Robin by dressing up as "Mother Christmas" in the story "Kermit's Christmas Diary" from Jim Henson's Muppets Annual 1982.
- The Swedish Chef - The Santa Chef Action Figure was released as Palisades' 2004 holiday figure.
- Waldorf - Waldorf plays the role of Santa in the Muppet Babies comic book adaptation of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" from Muppet Magazine issue 17.
- Scott Calvin - character who later became Santa
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