If you stop and think about it, Santa Claus isn't that much different from Superman. Both have amazing powers that defy the laws of physics as we humans know them. Both can fly around the world with no problem. They both like the color red, they both have their headquarters hidden in the Arctic Circle, and theyboth starred in movies that involved producer Ilya Salkind. The two characters even met once!
So it is not surprising, really, that there are so many instances in fiction where Santa is a Big Damn Hero, defending the Spirit of Christmas from Humbugs. This kind of Santa Claus doesn't really need help Saving Christmas, though there may be trouble if an Evil TwinBad Santa shows up.
Action Santa is a common variation: he's merely playingNice Guy for the sake of the kids, but when it's time to fight, boy, does he know how! Action Santa usually reveals that his bag of toys holds whatever weapon he needs, his sled comes equipped with heat naughty-seeking missiles, and he himself is a Genius Bruiser underneath the red coat.
Often overlaps with An Ass Kicking Christmas. By necessity, comes with Badass Beard and Badass Grandpa, as well as Acrofatic if he pulls any kung fu stunts.
Not to be confused with, but similar in style to, Kung-Fu Jesus. When they team up... run.
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Kyouran Kazoku Nikki has a Santa with a six-pack that survived a direct hit from a missile and could shoot ki blasts.
In Haruhi-chan, we find that the eponymous character's mental image of Santa is of a secret clan of ninja who have near perfect stealth and are trying to shut down the SOS Brigade. That's not a good thing, considering she's a reality warping god of a fairly Lovecraftian bent.
In JLA, Plastic Man tells his kid a bedtime story where Santa Claus has heat vision for some reason.
Also this. The story features the supervillain Rhino dressing up as Santa, implying a Bad Santa scenerio but as it turns out, Rhino was volunteering to hand out toys to kids.
One DC Comics Holiday Special features a strip in which Santa Claus breaks through the formidable defences of the Polluted Wasteland Apokalips in order to deliver to its ruler, the evil god Darkseid, a lump of coal for being naughty. It's implied he does this every year. And then he escapes to do it again next year. And what makes this especially badass is that the Santa who does this is just the traditionally jolly, friendly old man version. Knowing Darkseid, that coal was very well deserved.
"He's made it past our atmospheric defenses! He's here..."
"On the planet's surface?"
"In the room!"
The British Sonic the Hedgehog comics continuity had a similar case happen to Dr Robotnik, combined with elements of A Christmas Carol.
Specifically, Santa leads Robotnik to realise on his own just how alone he is and how little he actually has despite ruling Mobius. On the other hand, Sonic The Comic's Father Christmas' badassery stems simply from his ultimate pacifism. He won't involve himself in the fighting, but by the same token it proves utterly impossible to even touch him in anything but good will. Swipes and weapons go straight through him and automated defences just quietly stop working while he's around.
The Dec. 2008 one begins with what seems like a retelling of Superman's origin story... only son, sent from a dying world, raised by good, honest people, goes off to decide how best to use his power, sets up a Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole... only the Fortress of Solitude is a workshop, and he decides to bring peace to the world by delivering presents to everyone, one day a year. X-Ray Vision explains how he knows if you've been bad or good... he's always watching...
Lobo's Paramilitary Christmas Special featured Lobo being hired by the Easter Bunny to whack Santa Claus, and a Bad Ass Santa getting into a machete fight with the alien bounty hunter.
A Donald Duck comic So Many Santas has Santa (along with some elves) beat the crap out of The Beagle Boys using sports equipment, bare fists and badass one-liners.
Howard The Duck Holiday Special evoked high-tech combat elves with Santa as his leader, after a little talk with Howard first.
A Christmas The Badger episode featuring a huge biker-like "Klaus" in his rocket sled. He delivers weapons to the Lebanese Christian militias and machie guns ivory poachers as well as his normal stuff. Oh and beats up a troll who tries to take over the workshop.
Last Christmas featured Santa Claus in a post apocalyptic world fighting zombies.
In the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe, Santa Claus is an elderly shaman who lives alone in a little hut at the North Pole, dresses in freshly-flayed reindeer skins *
His clothes look red because he wears the skins when they're still bloody
, and uses astral projection to travel around the world every year on Christmas. He also controls an army of mischievous imps (his "little helpers") as his familiars, and he apparently used them to kill a few representatives of the Coca-Cola company when they tried to buy the rights to his image.
In the Pony POV Series' Dark World timeline, Santa Hooves breaks into Discord's fortress yearly, reads off a large naughty list right to his face while effortlessly shrugging off every attack sent his way, then hoof-delivers lumps of coal and socks and underwear to Discord and his minions. Then leaves to spread Hearth's Warming Eve cheer.
One of the best examples is a film by none other than the producers of the Superman films: Santa Claus — The Movie (1985). In it, Santa defends Christmas against a ruthless corporation that seeks to "cash in" on Christmas's commercial potential via the inventions of a defecting, clueless elf (who just wants to prove his worth to Santa after his ill-made toys put children's safety at stake the previous year).
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, despite the title, is NOT an example of this trope. Santa Claus merely gets kidnapped by Martians, and teaches the kidnappers how not to be emotionless Straw Vulcans. That said, Houdini would be proud of how easily Santa shrugs off, laughs at, and escapes deadly peril in this movie.
In Disney's The Santa Clause, trilogy, an aspect of this happens in each of the three films. The first The Santa Clause has Tim Allen locked in a You Kill It, You Bought It scenario when he accidentally causes Santa to fall off the roof; he spends the night in orientation at the North Pole and the next 364 days trying his hardest to shrug it all off as one crazy dream, even in the face of his slow metamorphosis into Saint Nick (down to having "the list" delivered to his house via several trucks). In the end, having accepted his role as Santa Claus, he's mistakenly arrested as a kidnapper, which is where the movie hews closest to this trope as a squad of high-tech combat elves is sent in to break him out; in the end, everyone's faith in Christmas (and his hold on sanity) is restored, and everybody lives Happily Ever After until the sequel, where the new Santa discovers he has to go back to civilization and get himself a Mrs. Claus. He puts a toy double of himself in charge while he's gone which promptly goes mad with power; the finale, true to the trope, has Santa having to deal with his evil robot duplicate in order to save Christmas. The third has it the least, but when Jack Frost and Santa go back in time twice, the second time has Santa beating down Jack Frost with a shovel to prevent a change to the space/time continuum. Unknown if that actually counts though, as in that scene Scott isn't really Santa. Unfortunately Jack Frost isn't defeated this way, and instead gets his due with a...hug.
Scott's quote at the top of this page comes from the first movie, in a scene in which the corporation he works for tries to revamp the Santa image by putting him in a tank instead of a sleigh. Scott tweaks on them all and tells them that Santa isn't going anywhere without his sleigh.
In The Night The Reindeer Died, one of the Films Within A Film in Scrooged, there's a short version of this. Terrorists attack the workshop at the North Pole, and the Clauses and the elves apparently have well-established emergency procedures and lots of guns. They also have Lee Majors on their side.
"This Jolly Old Elf is goin' out the front door!"
Santa With Muscles features Hulk Hogan as a man who, after getting amnesia, thinks he is Santa Claus and then proceeds to beat up bad guys in order to save an orphanage.
Arthur Christmas has Steve, Santa's eldest son, controlling the massive Christmas operation involving thousands of elves aboard a giant spaceship-like sleigh while walking around wearing military fatigues and sipping coffee. No matter the snag, he calmly guides the elves through the task of delivering presents without anyone knowing. The start of the film makes it seem like Santa himself is one, wearing something that is more akin to a red uniform than Santa's clothes with a red beret appearing more like a general than Santa. Then it turns out he's just a figurehead with Steve running the entire operation. Also, unlike his family members who are either portly (Santa, Grandsanta, Mrs. Santa) or scrawny (Arthur), Steve is in excellent shape.
The French Connection features a brief scene in which the main character, Detective Popeye Doyle, is dressed as a mall santa while on the job. While making a drug bust, he pursues the dealer, then proceeds to kick the absolute shit out of him.
In the movie Rise Of The Guardians, Santa dual-wields sabres, associates with yetis, has Naughty and Nice tattooed on his forearms, and by his accent is probably a Husky Russkie. (The movie depict the Easter Bunny as badass too, along with many similar characters.) Enjoy.
In the movie "Two Front Teeth", Santa battles Vampire Santa with martial arts. And it is AWESOME.
In C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, Father Christmas is presented as an archetypal opposite of the White Witch, providing gifts and encouragement (in contrast with the Queen's message of sameness and hopelessness).
Particularly when said gifts consist largely of weapons...
There's a reason the White Witch's curse traps Narnia in a state of "Always winter and never Christmas", and the first sign of Aslan's return is Father Christmas showing up (to equip the revolution, natch!).
The Hogfather in Discworld is that world's equivalent of Santa Claus, and like our Santa is partly derived from old pagan gods...just a little more literally. As they say, You'd better watch out...
In the All Myths Are True universe of The Dresden Files, a lot of creatures not normally considered 'fairies' are part of the local version of The Fair Folk. In the first book, Storm Front, just after introducing and explaining the concept of using a magic circle to summon and trap a faery, Harry makes an offhand remark indicating that this also includes Santa, but that he doesn't know anyone crazy enough to try summoning him that way.
Santa (going by "Kringle") finally appears in person in Cold Days. He's a fae lord on par with the Erlking and leads The Wild Hunt alongside him at the climax of the novel; the ending implies he's an aspect of Odin.
"Santa Claus Vs S.P.I.D.E.R.", a short story by Harlan Ellison, reimagining Santa as a secret agent. He's got rocket-assisted boots, machine-guns and flamethrowers up his sleeves, that red nose is a grenade, the beard is an incendiary plastic explosive, and the fat belly is really a life raft. "Ho, ho, ho...."
The Guardians of Childhood has North, a swordsman and outlaw who becomes one of the early members of the titular group when he has his first encounter with the Nightmare King Pitch.
In Legacies, Repairman Jack dresses up as Santa to kick the living shit out of a sleazebag who'd stolen a bunch of Christmas presents from a children's AIDS clinic.
Santa fighting a grizzly bear to the death armed with only a knife, cutting Elvis Costello out of the godless beast's stomach? Has to be Stephen Colbert's Christmas Special. According to the special, Santa Claus is also Stephen Colbert.
In the MST3K episode featuring the above-mentioned Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Joel and the bots make several jokes implying that Santa fought in the war in Vietnam, and may in fact be concealing weapons during his stay on Mars.
The Good Eats cookie recipes episode had one that could qualify. He wears a bandanna under the cap and manipulates the the time stream and the episode begins with him saying in a bad ass manner, "Here's Santa." On a cooking show! But this is the same cooking show that had both an Igor and the lady of the refrigerator.
Earlier episodes of Dai Sentai Goggle Five features a Santa who used to be a Heel wrestler, thus he is formidable on his own. Too bad this being an earlier Super Sentai series, he can only take down maybe two mooks before he is taken down by himself. But at least, he did participate in a Fastball Special attack with Goggle Black...
In Ultraman, Santa Claus was once revealed to be the Father of Ultra, who at the very least would count as a Retired Badass. Sure, it's not revealed whether or not he always does this, and in this instance he doesn't do anything amazing, but this is the guy that lead the Ultras to overthrow a monster army that once took over the Land of Light.
The Arrogant Worms have the song "Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass" after having a really crappy year. The reindeer and elves are in an equally bad mood.
"Weird Al" Yankovic made a song called "The Night Santa Went Crazy" you can find an animated version here. Santa destroys his factory, kills most of his reindeer and holds his elves hostage.
It specifically says in the song "Broke his back for some milk and cookies, Sounds to me like he was tired of getting gypped" and "Realised he'd been getting a raw deal, Something finally must've snapped in his brain".
The pill-popping, rent-a-cop fighting Mall Santa from the music video for Skillex's Ruffneck- Full Flex.
In parts of Germany and Austria, St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) is accompanied by a Knecht Ruprecht / Krampus, a demon who was tamed by the saint and now helps him punishing naughty kids. Hm, if Santa can take on a demon, that'd definitely make him this trope.
Inverted in the table-top game Santa's Soldiers. Santa is quite formidable, but really naive. Therefore, it's your crew's job to protect the big guy from his many enemies, but also from realizing he has them. The paramilitary elves are headed by Mrs. Claus, whose stats make Chuck Norris look like a wimp.
Spirit of the Season, a holiday-themed spinoff of Spirit Of The Century, has Nick Saint, the current incarnation of the Spirit of Giving, who fights evil with his rocket-powered sleigh and cadre of highly skilled Reindeer Men.
ThisNobilis campaign featured Santa looking like this◊ and greeting visitors to the North Pole with cruise missiles.
Parodied in Kingdom of Loathing. Uncle Crimbo is a lazy-ass, alcoholic Bad Santa who is nonetheless great at making toys. His brother, Father Crimbo, was a Bad Ass and made good toys, but that's not such a good thing when robots have reanimated his corpse.
Also, there's one point where the Penguin Mafia takes over Crimbo (as Uncle Crimbo failed to pay them the money he owes them). At one point that year, you fight Don Crimbo, who now wears the magical Crimbo hat. It is impossible to beat him, no matter what level you are.
Bill Weeks didn't think he could stoop any lower than a part-time job as the Mall Santa. But the little girl weeing on him screaming "He's the Baddest Santa Evuh!", followed by being fired, took it down yet another notch, so Bill went down the pub to drown his sorrows. Coming out to the next morning he had no job, a filthy headache and a truly evil temper. And the world was full of monsters. Bill picked up a handy shottie and waded in. "I'll show you the Baddest Santa, you BEEEEEEEEP"
In Secret of Mana, Santa Claus is the true form of the boss Frost Gigas. See, Santa was frustrated by children no longer believing in the true meaning of Christmas, so he tried to create an amazing Christmas tree by planting the Mana Seed of Fire. This doesn't exactly work out, and the Seed's power turns the jolly old elf into an insane hulking giant with amazing snow and ice magic. Yes. This is a thing that actually happens.
In a Team Fortress 2 update's backstory, they explain the origin of Australian Christmas being started by Nicholas "Old Nick" Crowder. He was sailing to Australia, got disgusted at the sight of it, and sailed away on a personal mission to conquer the South Pole instead. Every December he comes to Australia to judge if children have been naughty or nice. The nice ones get the greatest gift of all: not being kidnapped and enslaved by Old Nick and being forced to build hats for him. He sells the duplicate hats online "practically giving them away."
Hyper Princess Pitch gives us Mecha-santa. On the harder difficulty setting his attacks become Bullet Hell level, of particular note is Death Metal Disaster Zone, anyone that can pull off an attack with such a name is automatically badass.
Ghouls Vs Humans used to have Santa Claus as one of the classes for the human team. You have to admit, Santa vs. a cadre of giant floating carnivorous killer heads is quite badass. The class was removed for being The Scrappy, however.
The Santa v. Bun-Bun fights in Sluggy Freelance. Santa here is particularly powerful because he can use his ability to slow down time (in order to deliver all the presents in one night) to fight in Bullet Time.
He's also an alien overlord, which does give him an edge.
One year on Fur Affinity, the Christmas banner showed the site's mascot beating up Santa Claus. After many complaints, the following year's banner did not include Santa himself, but a group of angry, muscular reindeer. Guess there're more than one reasons no one should mess with Santa.
A series on Newgrounds is all about Zanta Claws, a fake zombie santa who is eventually killed for good by the real Santa and some random guys.
There is no Santa Claus who is more of a Bad Ass than Santa from South Park. He gets into a huge fight with Jesus in the South Park debut short "The Spirit of Christmas," goes totally Rambo in "Red Sleigh Down," brutally slaughters the demonic Woodland Critters with a shotgun in "Woodland Critter Christmas," and wields a huge axe against the forces of Evil Imagination in "Imaginationland."
In an episode of American Dad, Steve accidentally kills a mall Santa (In reality, the real Santa). His elves heal him and, in retaliation, Santa goes to kill the Smith family using a huge array of snowmen, elves and reindeer.
In the Christmas episode of Earthworm Jim, after recovering from a mind-control chip implanted by Queen Pulsating Bloated Festering Sweaty Pus-filled Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt, Santa tears open his red suit and reveals that in his previous job he was "Woden, Norse god of judgment!" In the ensuing Battle Discretion Shot, Jim remarks, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he kicks butt!"
íMucha Lucha! had a fight between Santa Claus and the evil Rudo Claus.
Codename Kids Next Door had a Santa Claus as a parody of Professor X from the X-Men who with his X-Men parody elves, helped defeat the Delightful Children from down the Lane.
The episode references X2: X-Men United and the "Dark Phoenix Saga", with Numbah Three as Jean Grey.
Fairly OddParents - Santa was like this at the end of Christmas Every Day and Have a Merry Wishmas. He was fighting the other holidays in CED and in Wishmas, he used it on Jorgen Von Strangle because Jorgen Von Strangle tried to replace Christmas with Wishmas. He was using Christmas magic.
In the Rugrats Hanukkah special, there was mention of a Christmas movie called Santa Vs the Alien.
Futurama has an evil robotic bazooka-wielding Santa. Not nice, but definitely Bad Ass.
Heck one song they sing about him is called "Santa Claus Is Gunning You Down."
My Life as a Teenage Robot "A Robot For All Seasons", Santa defends the North Pole using his skills as an ex-ninja, complete with cookie shuriken.
One of Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons was Super Santa, which showed what Santa Claus does for the rest of the year: he fights crime with his Emma Peel-inspired wife.
An episode of The Simpsons featured a video game commercial around Christmas time: Two children are bored playing a bloodless knock-off of Mortal Kombat, when Santa's sleigh (pulled by two snarling reindeer) bursts through their living room wall. Santa is bulging with muscles and is heavily armed. "YOU WANT EXCITEMENT?!?! STICK THIS UP YOUR STOCKING!!!" He fires a video game cartridge via RPG into their port. It is an incredibly bloody Beat 'em Up and the children (and Bart) are instantly enthralled. He closes the commercial saying "TELL YOUR PARENTS TO BUY YOU BONESTORM, OR GO TO HELL!!!"
Bart then walks into the kitchen and does precisely that.
Robot Chicken has the Full-Assed Christmas Special, opening with Santa going on aCasino Royale-like assassination against a particularly naughty child. The kid even plays the part of the big bad perfectly (periodically flashing back to Santa's fight with The Dragon, his mom), right up to pulling a handgun from his bedside table, only for Santa to have already unloaded it.
Santa Claus from "The Fight Before Christmas" Powerpuff Girls Christmas special. We might not see him fight any baddies, but the verbal beat down and Cool and Unusual Punishment he gave Princess was made of win.
St. Nicholas, upon whom Santa is based, was actually fully capable of being badass. Examples include an incident of Nicholas whacking Arius at the Council of Nicaea, or when he raised three brutally murdered children from death, or when he rescued three men sentenced to death and scared the Prefect who had sentenced them into confessing to taking a bribe.
A recent examination of his relics disclosed a healed fracture in his cheekbone, close to his nose; at some point, this guy took a roundhouse punch in the face, but given the evidence, no doubt he could give it back in spades.
He could also have received it while a prisoner of the Roman empire. Bishops were not treated very nicely.