How to Troubleshoot an Animated Singing Santa Claus

Written by diana zwinak
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How to Troubleshoot an Animated Singing Santa Claus
Don't worry. You can get your Singing Santa up and running (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Nothing beats the excitement of completing the holiday display of Christmas decorations. The twinkling lights, the lovely tree, the animated figures in your driveway or foyer all add to the delight of the season for young and old alike. Until something goes wrong and the lights never work or -- even worse -- the animated figures, like Santa, do not move. That can be the most frustrating feeling of all, sometimes a list of possible causes for the most common problems is all that it takes to make troubleshooting a breeze and put holiday cheer back on track.

Skill level:

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    Santa Won't Stand Up

  1. 1

    Check for pins under Santa's feet. Animated Santas often ship with pins to keep the package compact.

  2. 2

    Push down quickly and firmly on Santa's shoulders. As you lift your hands, he should stand up. The pressure downward causes a mechanism to release that keeps the figure compact.

  3. 3

    Put your hands under his shoulders and lift him until you hear and feel Santa lock into position. He should now be standing firmly and ready to take on the Holiday Season.

    Santa Won't Collapse

  1. 1

    Make sure you are pushing evenly on Santa's shoulders. He is designed to collapse under firm, even pressure. He should be ready to store until next season.

  2. 2

    Put your hands under his shoulders and make sure he is standing up all the way. Try to collapse him again with a firm, even pressure on both shoulders.

  3. 3

    Look at the base. Some Gemmy figures have a lever or button that must be stepped on at the same time the shoulders are being pushed.

    Santa's Sensors Don't Work

  1. 1

    Look for Santa's sensor. It is most likely located on the front side of the base or on his face somewhere. The sensors are activated by shadows.

  2. 2

    Make sure that his sensor is not obstructed by a piece of dirt or even a bit of his costume. Sometimes the most frustrating problems are the result of the simplest causes. That is why it is best to look at the little things first.

  3. 3

    Wipe away any obstructions. Now Santa should respond to light and shadow.

    Not all Santa's Features are Working

  1. 1

    Think about Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation struggling to turn on his Christmas lights display, and make sure Santa is plugged in. This is the number one reason why electronic gizmos don't work. Save yourself hours and make sure he really does have the power you think he does.

  2. 2

    Check that Santa's costume is not wrapped around the moving parts of his body. Costumes that are tangled in the mechanism can restrict his movement.

  3. 3

    Detach the head if he has power and is still not working. Many controls, toggles and sensors are located In the area under his head.

  4. 4

    Tap down on Santa's head firmly as you reattach it to make sure that all the connections are seated properly. Hopefully this will solve the problem. If he is still not functioning properly you may have an issue with the power that he is receiving through the power cord. Take the adaptor to have it tested at a local electronics store if you suspect that Santa is having a power issue.

  5. 5

    Return Santa to the store for a refund or exchange if you are sure all the connections are made and the power supply is fine and he is still not functioning properly.

Tips and warnings

  • These troubleshooting instructions are based on Gemmy figures because those seem to be most widely marketed through stores like Walmart etc.

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