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The best blow-up Santa Claus

Most Santa Claus inflatables are intended for use in your front or backyard. As such, they should be made with certain characteristics like sturdy material and a water-resistant finish. These characteristics will help them endure.
Most Santa Claus inflatables are intended for use in your front or backyard. As such, they should be made with certain characteristics like sturdy material and a water-resistant finish. These characteristics will help them endure. (BestReviews)

Santa Claus inflatables have become as much a Christmas staple as Christmas trees. People enjoy displaying them in their own yard and looking at blow-up Santa Claus decorations in other people’s yards. Many of these inflatables incorporate lights and some are animated, for an extra dose of family-friendly fun.

The Christmas Inflatable Santa Claus Driving Sleigh Decoration is replete with whimsical details. Santa rides on his sleigh, pulled by two of his trusty reindeer. He's accompanied by a cute penguin perched on his toy sack. Santa's hand is raised in a friendly wave.

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What to know before you buy a blow-up Santa Claus

Indoor use vs. outdoor use

While some blow-up Santa Claus decorations are small enough to use indoors, most are intended for use in your front or backyard. And as such, they should be made with certain characteristics that’ll ensure they can withstand the natural elements. These elements include a sturdy material, a waterproof finish and a UV-resistant finish.

The material must be durable to ensure the inflatable will remain in good condition and won’t pop. The good news is well-done blow-up Santa Claus decorations aren’t as vulnerable to popping as you might assume. The key term here is well-done. Some of these inflatables include patch kits you can use to repair a section if it sustains damage.

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Santa will likely be subject to some type of water, whether in the form of rain, snow or humidity. This is the reason why waterproof or water-resistant finish is imperative. And even though some areas of the U.S. don’t get much sunlight during the winter months, the inflatable could still fade without UV protection.

A Santa Claus for every story

As arguably the central figure of the Christmas holidays, Santa Claus is associated with many different design stories. People love to picture Santa in scenarios like interacting with his elves in his workshop, riding in his sleigh pulled by Rudolph and company, sliding down the chimney, eating cookies and milk and leaving presents under the tree. You can find blow-up Santa Claus decorations that tell most or all these stories. Think about which ones are your favorites.

Lit vs. unlit

Many Christmas inflatables are designed with internal light bulbs that give you the ability to display them in the evenings. In this way, a blow-up Santa Claus is the perfect complement for Christmas lights strung on the exterior of your home. The lights in some of these inflatables are powered by batteries, while others are connected to electrical power. Make sure you have an extension cord handy if your blow-up Santa Claus falls into the latter category.

Blow-up Santa Claus features

Size

Blow-up Santa Claus decorations can be quite large in height, width and length. In terms of height, some of these inflatables stand 8-9 feet tall. And they can be equally long or even longer. If you have a small yard or small home (if you plan to display yours inside), you might want to stay at the conservative end of the size spectrum. You don’t want Santa to overwhelm the space or your overall decor scheme to appear crowded.

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Stability

A Santa Claus inflatable must be designed with stability in mind. This is especially true of tall versions. Something must anchor the decoration to the ground or the floor and hold it upright. Outdoor inflatables are often sold with tethers or stakes.

Stationary vs. animated 

One fun aspect of inflatables is animation. Some are built with components that give them the ability to move. Whether it’s Santa waving his hand or rocking from side to side in a dance, animation takes blow-up Santa Claus decorations to the next level.

Blow-up Santa Claus cost 

Santa Claus inflatables tend to cost more than other types of Christmas decorations, due in large part to the mechanisms involved to inflate them. The price goes up further if the decoration incorporates elements like animation and lights. With these factors in mind, these inflatables run from about $50 to upwards of $125.

Blow-up Santa Claus FAQ

How do you make your blow-up Santa Claus last a long time?

A. Taking good care of your Santa inflatable will go a long way in preserving it for many seasons. Valuable tips include avoiding running the blower motor for more than eight hours, keeping the inflatable away from puddles and mud and bringing it inside during periods of heavy snow and significant temperature drops. Above and beyond all else, always refer to the user manual, which should provide instructions from the manufacturer.

How do you inflate a blow-up Santa Claus?

A. The majority of blow-up Santa Claus decorations are constructed with a built-in fan that will take care of inflating the piece for you. Simply press the power button on the fan. When it comes to securing the inflatable, use the stakes or tethers included with the decoration and follow the directions.

Which blow-up Santa Claus should I get?

Best of the best blow-up Santa Claus

Christmas Inflatable Santa Claus Driving Sleigh Decoration: available at Wayfair

Our take: Two of Santa's reindeer pull his sleigh with Santa Claus, a penguin and gifts in tow.

What we like: This detailed inflatable depicts Santa Claus waving cheerfully as he rides in his sleigh with his reindeer. The red-and-gold sleigh carries gift-wrapped packages and a penguin sitting on the toy sack. Internal lighting makes this festive tableau glow at night. The inflatable is secured with stakes and tethers, which are included.

What we dislike: The durability and performance of the motor was a grievance for two dissatisfied buyers. One said the motor didn't inflate the blow-up fully, while the other buyer said it stopped working after two seasons.

Best bang for your buck blow-up Santa Claus 

8-Foot Indoor/Outdoor LED Inflatable Santa Claus Decoration: available at Wayfair

Our take: At 8 feet tall, this blow-up Santa Claus will bring holiday cheer to you and your neighbors.

What we like: This inflatable proves that sometimes, simple is best. It features a friendly Santa Claus in a standing position. He's waving with one hand and brandishing a candy cane in the other. A built-in fan keeps Santa Claus upright, even at his notable height. White LED lights complete the welcoming aesthetic.

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What we dislike: A smattering of buyers cited the durability of the inflatable, reporting that it didn't hold up well.

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Honorable mention blow-up Santa Claus 

Santa Claus on Pick up Truck Inflatable: available at Wayfair

Our take: A cute riff on Santa Clause has him transporting a decorated tree in an old-time pickup truck.

What we like: If you're looking for a blow-up Santa Claus that's different from the norm, this one fits the bill.  The truck lights up and the product comes with bulbs. It has two tethers. Lighting makes it ideal for nighttime display.

What we dislike: This inflatable is more truck than Santa, so if you're looking for a Santa center-piece, his little head poking out the window might not cut it.


Megan Oster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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