LEGO Santa Claus wasn’t she sharp suited-and-booted minifigure we know today when he first arrived for Christmas. Find out how he developed to become the brick Father Christmas from 10293 Santa’s Visit in this walk down LEGO memory lane…
He makes a list and checks it twice. He has to read over 8 million letters every year. And he has to deliver presents in just one night. Of course, we’re talking about Santa Claus. Considering Santa’s popularity and charm, it’s no wonder he has a very long history with the LEGO Group, going all the way back to 1995.
So, when did Santa Claus first come to LEGO town? What did he originally look like? Well, sit back as Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, takes you in a one horse open sleigh through the evolution of LEGO Santa.
Santa Claus made his minifigure debut back in 1995’s 1807 Santa Claus and Sleigh, a tiny System polybag. It only had 17 pieces, using basic bricks as presents and creating a very rudimentary sled (sleigh in the title was being a bit generous). Santa looked very different to how he does now, starting with absolutely no printing whatsoever. Instead he simply had grey legs, a red torso, used Merlin’s beard from the Castle theme and a classic smiley face. His iconic hat? His hat was taken from the Pirates sets, with no fluffy bobble.
Blocks reviews 10293 Santa’s Visit in Issue 85 and hears from the designer of the set in Issue 84. To get the LEGO magazine for fans every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s actually quite surprising is how long this iteration of Santa lasted, especially considering the quick progress that was made with LEGO minifigures. It was the millennium that saw the first real change in 1177 Santa’s Truck. Santa was given red legs and white hip joints suggested a fur-trimmed coat. However, rather bizarrely, Santa has gone between red and grey legs on multiple occasions, and it’s only since 2012 that red was finally in to stay.
In 2010, things went a little off the bathroom rails, and 2824 City Advent Calendar earns the top spot for giving fans possibly the weirdest and arguably most wonderful Santa minifigure ever. Shower Santa in some rather questionable underwear is getting prepped for his big night delivering presents. LEGO designers are wonderfully inventive people and this proves it.
It was 2012 that was the turning point for Santa Claus minifigures, as the big guy made it into Collectible Minifigures Series 8. His wardrobe was literally out with the old and in with the new; a unique beard element; brand new hat, complete with white fur and bobble; and for the first time ever, a printed torso. The Merlin’s beard element hid most of a minifigure’s body, but Santa’s new shorter beard allowed for details to be seen, so a printed belt and buckle added the finishing touches.
This iteration of Santa has remained fairly constant since, with only tweaks added now and again. The next change seen was in 2017, when 60155 City Advent Calendar gave Santa’s jacket a brass buttons twist, and he wore glasses with a smiling printed expression. This version is still one of the kindliest, traditional looking renditions of the LEGO character yet.
The best Santa comes from right now in 2021, as the lessons from over two decades of minifigure iterations come together in 10293 Santa’s Visit. He has dual-moulded legs, so Santa finally has sturdy boots to combat the snow. There’s super detailed printing on his torso, front and back and Santa’s expression is finished with a soft smile underneath that beard with little lines alongside his eyes.
Just like the way Santa has to travel the world in one night, his minifigure gone on quite a journey. These are just the regular Santa Claus minifigures too, because there’s been some pop-culture cameos over the years, from Darth Vader to Iron Man. So, if you’re looking to add a Santa minifigure to your LEGO Christmas display, there’s plenty to make you go ‘ho, ho, ho’.