Think Santa arrives on a reindeer-driven sleigh and then magically slides down your chimney?
Maybe in the fairy tales. But these days Santa has had to adapt and find all sorts of creative ways to make his grand entrance.
Whether it's donning a pair of skis, jumping out of a plane or grabbing a surf board, Santa has found new and unusual ways to spread holiday joy. There's even a sexy Santa -- a buff, shirtless man whose sleigh is pulled by Ferraris. His helpers: Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. We guess he's not stopping for milk and cookies at each house.
But the most unusual of these modern-age Santas might just be the 4-foot, 5-inch one at Ripley's Believe It or Not in New York's Times Square. This so-called reverse Santa actually sits on your lap.
"It puts a different twist on going to meet Santa," said Jon Sinish, who plays the role for Ripley's. "Everybody's been laughing. They are in on what's happening."
The reverse Santa isn't so much about telling Santa what you want for Christmas -- Ripley's leaves that up to the department stores and malls -- but really about a good photo opportunity. (They of course sell visitors the image and can add it to key chains and magnets.)
Sinish is hardly alone in finding unique ways to bring holiday joy to people around the world. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite Santas.
Skydiving Santa: Tropical resorts can't exactly have Santa arrive in a sleigh. Last year, Santa arrived at the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius in a pirate boat. This year, he plans to skydive into the island resort.
Surfing Santa: When you live right next to the ocean, why not carry a surfboard, even if you are Santa? In Santa Monica, Calif., Santa can be seen around town with his long board, catching a few waves.
Zip Line Santa: At Adventures on the Gorge in West Virginia, Santa joins those taking a zip line canopy tour through the snowy tree tops. Guests zip through a forest of rhododendrons and old-growth Eastern Hemlocks while getting a bit of the jolly North Pole spirit. Across the country -- and a bit warmer -- California's Catalina Island also has a Santa who enjoys zip lines.
Skiing Santa: Skiers across the country are likely to see Santa flying down the slopes next to them.
At Utah's Canyons resort, the management offers free lift tickets once a year to the first 50 guests who don St. Nick's attire. Santa can also been seen later on handing out candy and treats to skiers. At nearby Park City Mountain Resort, Santa arrives in a special sleigh-like chairlift. A second appearance, a few days later, comes with 100 skiing elves.
Skiers at Colorado's Crested Butte Mountain resort are likely to see a skiing Santa and a snowboarding Grinch. At Loveland Ski Area, Santa is often seen carving big turns through the powder. Winter Park Resort offers skiing with Santa daily during the week prior to Christmas and features the jolly guy skiing down a run to anxiously awaiting families on Christmas Eve during a torchlight parade.
Motorcyle Santa: At Capella Pedregal in Mexico's Cabo San Lucas, Santa and his elves arrive at the resort each year on Harleys. It is Mexico, after all, and reindeer would seem a bit out of place.
Jet Ski Santa: At 10:30 a.m. at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, Santa jet-skis to the resort's Otemanu Beach. After drying off, 'Ol Saint Nick hands out gifts to kids -- dolls and toys for the little ones, faux pearls for little girls to make necklaces with, little cars and the like for the little boys and mother of pearl jewelry for the older kids.
Santa Paws: For those who love spending the holidays with their four-legged friends, Kimpton hotels across the country have a Santa just for pets named Santa Paws. At Kimpton's The Muse New York, Safety Director Jonathon McDonald traded in his badge for a white, fluffy beard to play Santa Paws. A sturdy six feet, one inch tall, McDonald is normally responsible for maintaining the 200-room hotel's daily safety operations, from monthly fire inspections to monitoring security cameras. For Christmas, he instead helped the hotel's furry friends enjoy treats and toys.
Waterskiing Santa: At the Beaches Resorts in Turks & Caicos Santa has been known to enter on a jet ski, speed boat and even waterskiing.
Dancing Santa: Clothing store Aeropostale is taking Christmas to a new level at its Time Square store in New York. Anybody who buys something at the store can get their picture taken -- and instantly printed -- with the dancing Santa overlooking Times Square.
Tropical Santa: Santa and Mrs. Claus need a vacation, just like the rest of us. At the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel the famous duo can be spotted around the resort in tropical attire -- Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses and shorts. Santa and Mrs. Claus also have their own customized Tiki hut and Santa rides around the resort in a decked-out golf cart that is sure to make all the elves jealous.
Roller Coaster Santa: The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas meet at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., every January. Sleighs might offer an amazing ride but there's nothing like a few dozen Santas on a roller coaster.
Sexy Santa: In Florida, the W Fort Lauderdale transformed its valet area into Santa's Workshop, complete with a one-of-a-kind Ferrari-powered sleigh and Santa's special helpers, the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. The event is part of a food drive for charity. And of course to add a little spice to the holiday.
Scuba Santa: St. Nick can even be found underwater at the California Academy of Sciences where he dives into the Philippine Coral Reef tank twice a day. He even wears an underwater microphone so he can talk to kids on the other side of the glass.
Hawaiian Santa: For more than a decade at the Halekulani hotel, on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach, Santa arrives Christmas Eve by outrigger canoe at sunset. There might not be reindeer or snow in Hawaii, but at least jolly Saint Nick finds a way to travel.
Lobsterman Santa: In Kennebunkport, Maine it only makes sense that Santa would arrive on a lobster boat accompanied by life-size lobster elves.
Safari Santa: California's Safari West has a special safari guide who gets up close and personal with the animals, including Dozer the giraffe.
Balloon Pilot Santa: The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum has special holiday crafts, face painting and balloon hats but also places Santa in the unique perch of a hot air balloon.
Santa Gondolier: The Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego offers gondola cruises with a Santa gondolier who serenades guests with holiday carols.