Santa-Pede Challenge: Take Two

We are going to give the Santa-Pede Challenge another try. This time, you have till the end of January to do something (make it walk/crawl/scoot) with a dancing santa (or dancing musical holiday toy).  As you can see in my example, it doesn’t have to be complicated or efficient in any way.

Here are some issues and questions we would like to address:

1. Many of you suggested a banner of some type to remind you.
Great idea, we were waiting for some other features to be added, but we’ve just gone ahead and popped them in. You can see the featured items at the top of the right hand column.

2. Some pointed out that the “Buy Break Build” title isn’t very hack-ish since we often preach up-cycling.
yeah, we really think you should find these santas anywhere. The alliteration is fun though isn’t it?

You can get all the rules by going to the original post. Just note that the last date for entries will be January 31.


  1. TopHat says:

    Santa-Pede! … an no, thats not the old guy in the park dressed as santa watching your kids.. Mine is on my bench ready for breaking :D (mechanical santa that is..)

  2. neorazz says:

    what about people who celebrate festivus or some other non santa related holiday (oh i know Saturnalia) and dont have access to these ? i like the whole contest idea i think its just to specific to an item i know ive never even seen before

  3. Ginge says:

    Are these animated santas more of a us thing? I went into a few cheap pound land type shops and come up with nothing mechanical of use. Any uk peeps around that can give me some shopping locations?

  4. JA says:

    Needs more cowbell :)

  5. strider_mt2k says:

    Heck, yours is pretty creative!

  6. mike-bb says:

    Do I understand you right, the first contest was about building a walking object. Now you say “do anything with a dancing santa”? So whats the contest about? Making a walking thing, or building something (anything) different? Thanks for clarifying.

  7. Steve says:

    Happy Holidays…
    Is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas.

  8. Osgeld says:

    I got a crappy penguin on the way home

    … its been a while since I ripped somethings face off

  9. macegr says:

    I think most Hackaday readers are not paying attention to this because Hackaday is usually about taking something useless and making it useful, or using something for some useful purpose other than the original. This contest is about taking something useless and making something equally useless. Maybe expand the rules to including making ANYTHING cool with the dancing Santa parts. The dancing Santa doesn’t have enough quality parts to make a walking device that is good for anything, you’re basically asking people to buy garbage and then eventually bin it.

  10. dave says:

    Happy holidays is what people who aren’t christian say. Those who generalize people who aren’t christian as terrorists are called bigots.

  11. Ben Wright says:

    I got (2) Santa’s that play music and dance for 1/2 off. I’ll be entering at least once this time around.

  12. grenadier says:

    Nobody can top drunk santa, NOBODY!

  13. Austin says:

    I hope I can still find one in stores. I’ll go shopping tomorrow.

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    If I can find one cheap in a store I’ll try, but the money they want for ‘em online I could be putting into my Spy Gear Video Trakr hacking.

  15. Max Allan says:

    I think the big problem is that the dancing santas I’ve seen are basically a motor and a timer. The quantity of other parts required to make that do anything interesting would be so high as to make the Santa part simply be an annoyingly difficult to interface satisfactorily motor.

  16. swantron says:

    Couldn’t find one at the dollar store or CVS… anybody have any suggestions as to where to look next?

  17. osgeld says:

    I found my penguin at wallgreens, they also had Micky and a ~1 foot tall wiggling butt santa (for twice the price)

  18. Volectorus says:

    Can I Turn random crap i have laying around into a Santa?

  19. thenonja says:

    I’m having a hell of a time finding any affordable ones. Especially that I can buy multiples of.

  20. Sterling says:

    I searched all over town yesterday for one and all I found was a single singing reindeer that already walked.

  21. Brian says:

    Glad they moved it to January, December isn’t an optimal project month. Now I just need to find a Santa…

  22. Bryson says:

    Can we se those 6′ foot tall santas?

  23. Bryson says:


  24. mjrippe says:

    Going to the thrift stores today!

  25. Marcus Quintilian says:

    ive seriously never seen one in canada the only place ive seen one is the usa so i guess im out

  26. bobdole says:

    Never seen one of these things, ever.

  27. Adam Outler says:

    I have a couple of questions about the rules…

    My dancing santa came with a ziptie, if I cut that ziptie and replace it, is that adding parts?

    My santa came with some wire coat-hangers for arms… If I cut the wire coathangers, then realized I needed more, and used some different coat hangers, is that adding parts?

    What about super glue?

    I’m going to go for best presentation, but I want to make sure that I don’t go overboard.

  28. bluewraith says:

    So I went out and bought one of these toys.. gotta love 50% off at Walgreens. Get home, tear it down, and realize I bought the exact same thing as Caleb.
    I did notice that just stripping it is enough to get a backwards walker. Bent the arms a little out to the sides and lay it on its “face” and it’ll creep along. I might have to toss an Arduino on there to blink a light just to stir the trolls.

  29. Santa Claus says:

    Honestly, this contest idea doesn’t seem very well thought out… I like Volectorus’ idea better. How about making a Santa out of parts pulled from old things, instead of wasting money on a useless toy made by kids in China?

  30. adamoutler says:

    Hey, where do I submit entries?

    I’m entering in all three categories… Here is a taste of things to come.

    sOS 1.0
    Invalid Username
    sOS 1.0
    Invalid Password.
    sOS 1.0
    Welcome to Santa OS Mother Fucker
    Status: Online
    System runtime: 17Seconds 
  31. zzzomb says:

    All seeking and no santa makes me go something something. Been going crazy attempting to track one down without luck. I’m going to guess it is because instead of being snowed in during xmas we have beachs and bikinis. Can’t complain about that.

    I have however obtained a dancing one of these which has a bit of potential:

    Hope this counts. Will give it a bash this week.

  32. Adam Outler says:
  33. zzzomb says:

    Ok here is my entry, broken down into clear steps, should you want to replicate my results.

    1. Rebuild old dancing toy.
    2. Test run on bench for 10 minutes
    3. Come back shortly afterwards to find no movement and that distinctive electric smoke smell.
    4. Bin project and move on.

  34. Adam Outler says:

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