Santa Claus is Going to Jail

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Santa is known for his jolly holiday spirit and all-around goodness, but even Santa can’t outrun the law.  

The law has changed since we first pursued Mr. Claus and his Cannonball Run…so we’ve updated the analysis of his misbehavior as he navigates the world at break-neck (and likely illegal) speeds to gift X-boxes to unworthy children. 

(We will not address violations of state and federal air traffic regulations; in 2020 the Federal Aviation Administration granted special flight and launch permissions to an otherwise-felonious Mr. Claus.).

Privacy Laws

Santa Claus makes his list and checks it twice. That kind of universal surveillance – of children and their parents – would likely violate the EU General Data Protection Regulations and data privacy regulations of various US states (and other countries).  Santa will be paying multiple significant fines and risks imprisonment…and would in all likelihood trade red for orange. 


To leave presents for the children of the world, Santa would need to visit nearly 396 million homes. For each home that he enters, he will likely be deemed a trespasser.  As the act of “trespass” is differently assessed between jurisdictions, Santa will be guilty of both misdemeanors and felonies.

Property Damage

It has been determined that Santa’s sleigh weighs roughly 3.4 million metric tons (or about 1.9 million pounds). Unfortunately, most roofs can support approximately 1,000 to 3,000 pounds per square foot.  Absent pixie dust, Santa’s landings will cause material damage to the roof and home structure. Further, if Santa’s landing causes a structural collapse, he will additionally be liable for any personal injury or deaths caused by his actions.

Animal Welfare

Santa’s sleigh circles the globe in an evening.  According to NORAD, Santa’s would need to fly faster than starlight, stopping only briefly to drop off presents and then move on.  This must be exhausting for the nine reindeer indentured to pull his sleigh; they are not provided adequate rest and time off.  Were they persons, they would be subject to labor laws; as animals, they have rights under the US Endangered Species Act (as reindeer were added in 2020); the UK Animal Welfare Act; and other international laws and regulations connected to the protection of reindeer and of animals in general. Violation of these laws can lead to fines and imprisonment.

However…in the spirit of the season, we will simply advise Santa to (a) land on the streets, (b) provide an appropriate workplace environment for his reindeer, and (c) request express written consent from each guardian of each recipient of holiday gifts.  We also advise… that you contact the Wallenstein Law Group for any of your business and transactional needs.  We’re here to help today!

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