Breakaway Pop Hit: New Edition recorded a cover version of "Christmas All Over the World" for their 1985 Christmas EP of the same title, which still receives airplay to this day in shopping malls and the like, whereas Sheena Easton's original version hasn't received so much as a CD release.
Dueling Movies: With Disney's One Magic Christmas, another movie that brought Santa Claus and the North Pole into the then-present day and opened just 5 days prior to this one in November 1985. Neither film was a box-office success, and Santa Claus: The Movie got openly mocked in the press because it was far more expensive and thus the bigger flop. But it is far better remembered and liked these days; it has an excellent DVD package and a modest but affectionate following among kids who grew up with it. One Magic Christmas has a Vanilla Edition and is ignored by the company's most ardent fans; even the Christmas season and Disneycember haven't been enough reason for Doug Walker to so much as mention it. It's rare for the non-Disney release to win a dueling movies battle, but this one did.
Mid-Development Genre Shift: This was initially going to be an all-out musical, but the genre's popularity was at a low ebb in The '80s so the producers changed their plans. Lyricist Leslie Bricusse was not happy to see his songs get marginalized in favor of some pop numbers, and his introduction to "Thank You, Santa!" in The Leslie Bricusse Songbook has him lamenting the whole production.
Product Placement: McDonald's had a Happy Meal promotion consisting of small storybooks; the restaurant prominently features in one scene.
John Carpenter (of all people) was the first choice to direct. He was turned down by the producers as he wanted final cut and a chance to do the score as well. Also, his choice for Santa was Brian Dennehy.
The film was first announced in 1978 with David Niven producing. Gene Kelly was going to direct and it was planned as an all-star affair.
Paul McCartney was originally going to write and perform a theme song, but his record label put the kibosh on that.
The role of the Ancient Elf was written with James Cagney in mind. However, even though Cagney liked the film's overall idea, his advanced age and weakened physical condition precluded him from taking the role. Fred Astaire was also considered.