How to Catch Santa Claus (According to the Movies)

How to Catch Santa Claus

In schoolyards around the world, the debate continues to rage: Is Santa Claus real? Or is he just some concept concocted by parents to keep kids in line year-round? Even us adults can remember having knock-down, drag-out arguments over this. Our parents told us that if we waited up for Santa on Christmas Eve, we’d be quickly relegated to the dreaded “Naughty List,” and we’d get nothing but coal in our stockings.

As a public service, this installment of the Holiday Survival Guide will help you win those arguments. Keeping up with the tradition of every child’s desire to capture jolly old St. Nicholas, here are some tricks we can dish out, courtesy of the big entertainment machine called Hollywood.

Use them wisely, and be sure to only target the real Santa Claus. Failure to do so may result in injury or even death.

1. Hire kidnappers to do the dirty work

In Tim Burton’s holiday classic A Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington wanted to give his bony hands a shot at handing out Christmas presents. Unfortunately, he was too busy readying Halloweentown for the holiday less than two months away. So he did what any good leader does: he delegated. It may have been a mistake to put his trust in the mischievous trio of Lock, Shock and Barrel, but at least Jack had the right idea. Santa is just so trusting, he never thought that these tiny demons would want to throw him in a box and bury him for 90 years. Just be careful with your own choices. You’ll definitely want to check the references of the Santa kidnappers that you found on Craigslist.

2. Utilize the art of surprise

If there’s anything we know about Santa (aside from his chubbiness and fondness for cookies), it’s that he’s an old dude. And this leads us to ask whether you’ve ever known a really old person to be fully alert and awake? Not a chance. It’s so easy to startle the elderly, partly because they don’t see and hear so well and partly because they often can be found napping. Even though Santa has all year to rest between Christmases, it’s an exhausting night for him. With billions of presents to deliver, he’ll be in the zone, unlikely to see or hear you coming. However, if you do try to surprise Santa, try not to catch him while he’s walking across a patch of ice on the roof. He could end up dead in your front lawn, just as he did at Scott Calvin’s house in The Santa Clause.

3. Use experienced trackers

If you’re having trouble getting your naughty mitts on Santa Claus when he comes to your house on Christmas Eve, you might want to consider going into the wild to find him. Whether you’re digging up an ancient demon who devours naughty children (as seen in Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale) or picking off the stragglers from a herd of Father Christmases in the mountains of Lapland (as seen in the associated Rare Exports short films), you’ll want an experienced tracker to help you out. Contact the good folks at Rare Exports in Finland to help you capture, transport and train your very own Santa Claus.

4. Don’t dismiss alien intervention

If it’s possible for a fat man and an army of elves living in the coldest place on the planet to assemble gifts for every child in the world, deliver them in one night via flying reindeer and break into every home on the planet without setting off one alarm, then it’s possible there are also polyester-wearing Martians living on our closest planetary neighbor. So why not get them involved in this quest? As laid out in the 60s camp classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, these not-so-little green men will fly their spaceship to the North Pole with their cardboard robot and freeze rays to capture him for you without harming a hair on his head… or his face.

5. When all else fails, trust in Jesus Christ

The hardcore religious faithful will often remind people during the holidays that “Christ” should always be in “Christmas,” and it’s not uncommon to see these folks wishing Jesus a happy birthday on December 25th. You’d think that Santa Claus could co-exist with someone who calls himself the Prince of Peace, but as South Park often shows us, the two Christmas legends often butt heads. Whether Jesus in saving Santa’s bacon from being captured in the Middle East or Santa is getting miffed at what the kids think the true meaning of Christmas is, they are formidable opponents. In the end, Jesus is the Lex Luthor to Santa’s Superman, and he is the one guy who can definitely take control… at least in South Park, Colorado.

*Precautions: Leave the chimney out of this. If there’s anything that Joe Dante’s Gremlins taught us in 1984 it’s that if the person coming down the chimney is anyone but Kris Kringle, he’ll likely break his neck, die a twisted mess of a sooty red fabric with white trim and rot away until the family realizes daddy didn’t up and leave last December. Plus, it plugs up the chimney completely, keeping Santa out of the house and leading the kids to believe he doesn’t exist. Poor Phoebe Cates.

Open your heart and make some time for the rest of the entries in our 2011 Holiday Survival Guide.

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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