For all the Christmas-themed video games throughout the gaming world, oddly enough there aren’t all that many games putting you in the warm, fuzzy shoes of Santa Claus, the jolly creep that sees you when you are sleeping.

Because of that, we’ve decided to highlight a few Santa-fronted games across several genres, because Santa cares little about genres and does whatever he wants.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few games which had us participate in Santa Claus’ shenanigans.

Elf Bowling

Release:1999-02-01
Genre:Sport
Developer:NStorm, Inc.

When Santa has a bad day, them elves should steer clear from making him angry.

Otherwise, they might end up as bowling pins. Yup, that’s what Elf Bowling is all about. Apparently, this is how Santa Claus handles workforce issues!

 

Feeling overworked, the elves go on a strike. Santa’s gotta have them toys ready for Christmas, though, so the above-mentioned solution is the one he chose to put them in their place.

The title of the game explains it all. It’s a silly release where you have to expect all sorts of distractions, such as reindeers or…frogs. It’s interesting that it spawned an entire franchise and even received an animated film adaptation! You can skip this one, though, apparently, it’s really, really bad.

Daze Before Christmas

Release:1994
Genre:Platform
Developer:Funcom

Alright, it’s not exactly on the level of platforming classics, but Daze Before Christmas was good enough to earn the status of a cult classic.

Better yet, since it’s extremely rare, a copy of the game might fetch a really, really good price, so the owners of this game might feel pretty lucky!

Santa’s got a big problem: an evil mouse stole the presents and turned them into an army of loyal followers! Nicky needs to use his magic to restore the toys to their previous state and thwart this foul plot. This means jumping around, defeating the enemies with spells, and collecting gifts.

Once in a while, you fly around in your sleigh and drop presents into chimneys. Santa can even turn into his evil twin, Anti-Claus, and use the sack of presents on his back to smash his foes into oblivion. It’s a simple game and kids seem to be the target audience, but it’s fun nonetheless.

Santa Claus is Comin' To Town

Release:2011-11-08
Genre:Platform
Developer:1st Playable Productions

This game is based on one of the Rankin Bass stop motion Christmas classics.

You might be able to tell by the title which one. Made in 2011 for Nintendo Wii, the interactive revival of the decades-old movies was much better than anybody could have expected it to be, even if it wasn’t exactly… good. But the premise of playing Santa’s origin story is solid, and so the game was made.

In terms of gameplay, it’s a fairly uninspired platformer. Progress is dependent on collecting snowflakes, but occasionally there’s a minigame to complete to make the experience a little bit more diverse. The stakes are extremely low, which made the game decent fit for small children, and there’s even a two-player mode, for a bit of parent-child or sibling co-op.

Santa'as Special Delivery

Release:2014-12-12
Genre:Action
Developer:Drunk Robot Games

Once upon a time, good children would get presents, while bad children would get coal.

But time are hard, and coal is getting expensive, so Santa had to get creative. Unfortunately, Santa’s solution is very smelly. Fortunately: it’s biodegradable. Indeed, in Santa’s Special Delivery ol’ Kris Kringle is personally delivering a bunch of poo down the chimneys of bad children’s houses.

As you might be able to tell, the game is pretty vulgar, and despite the outward theme, hardly a Christmas game. However, if you’d like to play a game about that time Santa spanned and got tired of everybody’s… nonsense, then you might find what you need in this game. It definitely won’t be anybody’s first pick, but it certainly is the number two of this list.

Secret Santa

Release:2016-12-01
Genre:Indie
Developer:Daniel Jonathan Bourke

To take a more wholesome turn after that disgusting business above, let’s talk about a game where a man with a large sacks sneaks into people homes.

Secret Santa is a 2D stealth game, but unlike Thief or Dishonored, you’re there to leave presents, not empty shelves and unconscious guards (there are just sleeping). However, things are not quite as simple as hopping down the chimney and being quiet.

For some reason, people who live in the houses you visit are rather hostile. Children are on high alert, grandparents sleep on their rocking chairs with shotguns in their hands, there are bear traps, sleeping dogs, and even weirder contraptions. The homes are on full Home Alone mode, expect the entire family participates. If you still want to give these weirdo a gift… you must be extremely crafty.

Santa’s Christmas Solitaire

Release:2016-12-05
Genre:Casual, Strategy
Developer:The Revills Games

You know, for all the joy he brings to the world like the jolly good fellow he is, even Santa’s patience has its limits, and he has to unwind from all the work.

As anyone who remembers games built natively into Windows can attest, Solitaire can be very relaxing. It could also put one over the edge, but it is mostly relaxing. A perfect game for Santa to chill out with after a long day of herding elves, or whatever he does.

Santa’s Christmas Solitaire is, at its most basic, just a regular game of solitaire with a Christmas theme, including a jolly Santa chilling in the background. But somehow it also has a story, for some reason, distinct levels, and even several minigames, such as a match-3 type game, or a build-a-snowman. If you want a solitaire game with twist, chug eggnog and play some Santa’s Christmas Solitaire.

Toy Commander Christmas Special

Release:1999-10-14
Genre:Action, adventure
Developer:No Cliché

Going down in history as perhaps the least bad Christmas Special, this add-on to Toy Commander has you control Santa Claus using a jetpack to go about his business, because running is undignified.

The regular Toy Commander has to take control of tiny toy vehicles and completing various tasks in a big house, or just taking part in races, but Santa Clause is no toy, he’s a toy master, so your job is very different.

You’re still goofing around a house, but now not only is it decorated for holidays, but also the jetpacking Santa flies around looking for displaced presents, probably because missing gifts are bad for his reputation. The game is now lost to time, unless you have a working Dreamcast and a demo disc that survived in good form since 1999. All we can do is keep the memory of this game alive.

Santa Claus in Trouble

Release:2020-12-21
Genre:Action, Casual
Developer:Joymania Development

Looking at Santa, you wouldn’t peg him as much of a jumper, but consider this: how powerfully must one jump to squeeze back up through a chimney?

Santa Claus in Trouble realizes this, and that’s why it gives ol’ Kris Kringle the magnificent, legendary power of double jump. It’s going to be quite useful, too, because Santa Claus in Trouble is a 3D platform game through and through.

The premise is that Santa’s lost all the presents and has to get them back by navigating mildly complicated levels. Of course, to make things harder there are enemies roaming the maps, as well as various stationary and mobile obstacles. In 2020 it received an HD remaster, making this 2002 game much more friendly to modern systems and, even more so: modern players.

Santa Sling

Release:2016-12-20
Genre:Indie
Developer:8th Shore, Inc.

Santa Sling is an odd one on the list. It isn’t a sweeping action game, nor is it a platform game. No, this is technically a shooter: a VR title putting you behind a powerful sling Santa uses to deliver presents to a cozy village.

It’s apparently more entertaining to him to just shoot the bikes and toys through a chimney, scoring extra points for putting gifts through hovering shiny rings. Who said Santa can’t have some fun too?

Of course, it isn’t just an artillery game. It would be a waste of VR potential if you couldn’t interact with the world in any meaningful manner, so every toy is a distinct model you can view at every angle before putting it in the sling. If you have a VR headset and controllers and want to play something festive, Santa Sling might scratch that itch for a moment.

Santa Rockstar

Release:2016-12-13
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Bekho Team

You know, after you’re done delivering all these gifts just in time for Christmas, why not pull out an electric guitar and just shred some jaunty winter and Christmas tunes?

Santa can do more than belt out an operatic ho, ho, ho, and Santa Rockstar proves that he’s a killer guitarist. Or can be, depending on how well you are doing.

Santa Rockstar’s gameplay is very similar to Guitar Hero, with blocks sliding down five strings, synchronized to music tracks. As far as Quick Time Events go, this formula is always entertaining, and the illusion of playing the tunes is very satisfying, especially once you get a nice streak going. If being a Santa who plays rock renditions of famous songs sounds good to you, you’re in the right place.

Ho, ho, Santa video games ahoy!

This concludes our short of old and newish games which let you be the Santa either at work delivering presents and trying to save Christmas, or off duty, chilling out. Hopefully it satisfied your curiosity about the minutia of ol’ Kris Kringle’s daily life.