Each year, we get another batch of Christmas and holiday movies, featuring their own take on Santa Claus and his favorite mode of transportation: the sleigh.
From animated family fare to date night action films like Violent Night (where Santa’s sleigh took on a distinct Viking look), that sleigh is always an extension of Santa’s personality.
In celebration of the season, here are some fun and geeky facts about the many pop culture sleigh mods on Jolly Old Saint Nick’s version of the company car.
1. In Arthur Christmas, the evolution of Santa Claus over the generations includes the evolution of the sleigh. The current S-1 model is high-tech, and its features include supersonic power and a cloaking mechanism.
2. The now holiday staple, Elf, shows Santa’s sleigh needing a little something extra. The Kringle 3000-500 Reindeer-Power Jet engine has replaced the Christmas spirit the sleigh runs on because “there’s a rumor going around” parents are the ones leaving gifts.
3. Disney+ has brought back The Santa Clause franchise with a limited series this year. Yet, the sleigh has been around since the beginning, with CD (cookie and cocoa dispenser). This is great in case your sleigh is stranded and the Effective Liberating Flight Squad (ELFS) is getting to you fast enough.
4. Of course, most sleighs need reindeer to get them going, even if they are sentient skeletons. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr. Finklestein found the construction of reanimated reindeer to be “exceedingly simple.” However, they did need a good ghost doggy with a glowing nose to lead the way.
5. The original Pixar show, Prep & Landing, reminded us Santa isn’t working alone. Even his sled needs backup. Thrasher the reindeer flies an elf transport ahead of the sleigh to drop off Santa’s support crew. Oh, he’s a myth, by the way. Rat him out and “you’ll be a myth.”
6. In the old school Rankin & Bass Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, we learn reindeer can fly because they were fed magic feed corn Dumbledore… I mean the Winter Warlock once felt were useless trinkets.
7. Santa’s sleigh doesn’t usually have a horn, but you hear it coming thanks to sleigh bells. We learn, unfortunately, in The Polar Express, reindeer are equipped with bells only those who still believe can hear. Can you hear them?
8. The 1980s vibe was big in Santa Claus: The Movie, and it even had a flying car monstrosity, the “Patchmobile” created by estranged elf Patch. Of course, in the end, this was no competition for Santa’s sleigh.
9. Well, a Honda isn’t a sleigh, but that’s okay. Savvy kids like Kevin in Home Alone are “old enough to know how it works,” and he gave a reluctant Santa’s helper his Christmas wish to get his family back.
10. One of the coolest looks for Santa is that of Nichola St. North, the leader of the Guardians of Childhood in the film Rise of the Guardians, based on the William Joyce book series. North’s sleigh has a dash model of the Globe of Belief, a good Sat-Nav or GPS stand-in to find where the pockets of those who believe are in the world, especially when accompanied by shortcut-finding snow globes.
You don’t need to celebrate Christmas or even believe in Santa to appreciate his cool ride, whether space age and state-of-the-art or classic and stylish.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all, and to all a good flight.