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The Santa Experience Gallery Transcript
Season 2 Episode 14
Rugrats - The Santa Experience Title Card.jpg
The Santa Experience
Original Airdate December 6, 1992
VHS release The Santa Experience
DVD release Holiday Celebration
Nick Picks Holiday
Season 2
Nickelodeon Holly Jolly Holiday Specials
Jolly Saint Nick
Nickelodeon’s Christmas Stocking
Complete Series
Previous Episode What the Big People Do
Next Episode Visitors from Outer Space

"The Santa Experience" is the fourteenth episode of Season 2, and the fifty-second Rugrats segment overall. The original title for this episode was "Christmas". Nevertheless, the producers changed its title to "The Santa Experience".

Characters Present


The Rugrats and their parents go to the mountains to spend the Christmas holidays. Angelica, however, is skeptical of Santa Claus' existence. Will Santa convince her otherwise?

- Description from Klasky Csupo


Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica and their dads are at the mall, waiting in line to see Santa Claus. Chuckie's scared of Santa and is convinced that he's a bad person, but Tommy keeps insisting that Santa's a good person. Meanwhile, Angelica runs to the front of the line and begins to rattle off the list of toys she wants for Christmas, with her most desired toy being a deluxe playhouse for her Cynthia doll. Santa Claus accuses her of being greedy, so Angelica yanks off his beard, revealing him as an impostor. Angelica rushes off, holding the beard up, screaming that Santa Claus is a fake.

Back at Tommy's house, Drew's worried about the affect the events at the toy store earlier are having on Angelica. But Stu points out that she doesn't seem that upset and Chas even adds how the manager of the toy store gave her a box of toys to make up for the incident. Phil and Lil are impressed by the box of the toys, but Angelica's disappointed, because none of the toys the store manager gave her are what she originally wanted--even though that may be the case, she still refuses to share any of the toys with Phil or Lil. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the adults are talking about what they should do for Christmas; Chas is worried that the holiday will be a disappointment for Chuckie like it was for him when he was a kid and Drew wants to reaffirm Angelica's faith in Santa Claus. Betty comes up with the idea to rent a cabin up in the mountains complete with a Santa experience for the kids. Didi goes to call a travel agent to book a place while Stu and Lou go to get decorations and stuff ready.

Back in the living room, Angelica's wondering what to do with all the toys she got from the mall when she gets a really naughty idea - first, she goes to Phil and convinces him to trade his Reptar doll for a box of crayons for Lil that she could use for her favorite coloring book, and then she goes to Lil and convinces her to trade said coloring book for a Reptar space helmet for Phil's Reptar doll. After that's done, Angelica's very pleased with herself. Meanwhile, Didi's on the phone with a travel agent and they're looking for a suitable place for Didi, her friends and their families, and Drew and Chas are arguing over what to do to give the kids an experience with Santa Claus; Chas wants to play the part himself, but Drew keeps insisting on hiring an actor to play Santa Claus. Didi eventually finds a place up in the mountains nearby, to everyone's joy.

Back with the babies, Tommy and Chuckie are still arguing over whether Santa's a good or bad person. Grandpa Lou walks into the room and decides to tell the kids about Santa Claus, and how he gives lumps of coal to bad kids. Angelica gets a little worried, but after getting back to her house later that day, she dismisses her grandpa's warnings as untrue. Later, Angelica had a nightmare where she wakes up to Christmas morning, and rushes downstairs to open a very large pile of presents. But every one of them is the same thing: lumps of coal! Angelica doesn't get how Santa could've known about the trick she played on Phil and Lil. At that moment, Santa himself comes in and tells her that as Santa Claus, he knows what she did. He confirms this by stating that he got Phil and Lil a new Reptar doll and coloring book respectively to replace the ones Angelica conned them out of, then laughs manically to what she got as he buries Angelica in a pile of coal. Angelica screams and wakes up, revealing the whole thing was just a dream. Her dad comes in and tells her that it's not Christmas yet. Relieved (for now at least), Angelica resolves to make amends for what she did to the twins.

Later that day, all four families (with Spike in tow), drive to the mountains and get to their rented cabin. They start putting up decorations and getting dinner ready, while Angelica tries finding an opportunity to right the wrong she did to Phil and Lil--her chance comes when Didi and Betty take her and the twins to go chop down a Christmas tree. Angelica tries doing the right thing, but gets separated when she falls onto the sled and it slides away. Betty and Didi, meanwhile, search for the right tree. When Didi locates one she deems perfect, she won't let Betty cut it down because it's perfect.

Tommy and Chuckie decide to booby-trap the cabin to catch Santa Claus to decide once and for all whether he is good or bad. They decide to block entrance at the door, doggy-door, and window, but ignore the chimney, thinking "no one in their right mind would try coming down the chimbley," failing to realize that's how Santa always enters a house. Didi, Betty, the twins, and Angelica arrive back at the cabin. Betty and Didi set up a fake tree while Lou finishes the decorations, and the others fix dinner. Soon the gathered families eat Christmas dinner together. But soon the babies are sleepy and put to bed, much to Angelica's dismay. In bed, the babies try to stay awake to listen for the traps to go off, but soon fall asleep. Angelica is worried that, because she couldn't fix her trick with Phil and Lil, she's ended up on the naughty list. She sees a TV ad for a Christmas hotline, so she calls a random number. The employee of the business she called tries to explain that she called the wrong number, but Angelica demands to speak with Santa Claus, so he plays along. "Santa" tells Angelica with a smirk that she's on the bad list and hangs up.

Late in the night, the sounds of the booby traps being tripped are heard by the babies, who wake up and leap out of bed to see if Santa Claus was caught. However, they arrive only to see it's just the grown-ups. But moments later there's a racket behind them, as Santa Claus is suddenly in the fireplace. The babies freak out, but it turns out to be simply a disappointed Chas. Chuckie recognizes his father and gives him a hug to comfort him. Somebody knocks at the door, and Lou answers it. It's Santa Claus! Santa explains he couldn't go down the chimney because of Chas. Drew invites him in, playing along as if it's the actor he hired to play Santa. Santa gives all the babies presents, and none of them are afraid, including Chuckie. When Angelica gets her gift she immediately opens it, and is delighted to find the deluxe playhouse for Cynthia and not coal! Santa explains to her that he understands that trying to be good and fixing your mistakes is just as important as being good in the first place. Santa Claus departs after that because, after all, he has many more presents to deliver.

Since it's almost morning, the grown-ups decide to open all presents now. The babies enjoy their new toys, but when Phil and Lil open the gifts they got for each other, they realize because they each gave up their Reptar doll and coloring book respectively, the gifts were virtually useless, but are both very thankful for willing to give up their favorite toy for each other. Immediately afterwards, Angelica gives back Phil and Lil's favorite toys, and they hug and thank her as well. Chuckie admits that Tommy was right about Santa and he wasn't so scary after all. The grown-ups exchange gifts, including Chas and Drew. Chas admits to Drew that hiring an actor to play Santa Claus was ultimately a good idea, but then their conversation's interrupted by a phone call. On the other end, a man named Barney Stevens tells Drew that he is calling from his car phone and, because of the snow, he cannot make it to the cabin in time to appear as Santa Claus (the viewer can see he is really sitting at home watching TV). Drew becomes furious, and the man hangs up, muttering how he hates Christmas.

Chas asks Drew what the phone call was about, and Drew starts to explain that it was the actor he hired telling him he could not make it. At the same moment, they both have the same thought: if the actor Drew hired did not come in the first place, then who was the man that came and gave the kids presents? As they pondered speechlessly to themselves, Angelica was happily looking at her new deluxe playhouse. As she looked at the garage, wondering that it came with a convertible as well, an unexpected surprise shocked her. Didi then walked up and asked in curiosity " that a lump of coal?"

The episode then ends with Santa flying over the cabin with his reindeer, leaving a trail and him saying "Merry Christmas".


  • This is the first Christmas-themed episode.
  • This is the second half-an-hour episode after "Tommy's First Birthday" in season 1.
  • The theme song in the intro is given a Christmas vibe to it.
  • The working title for this episode was simply "Christmas".
  • Charlotte, Drew's wife and Angelica's mother, makes her first physical appearance in this episode--she has been mentioned lots of times before, mostly by her husband or their daughter, but this is the first time she is actually seen in-person.
  • This episode aired as the first of 4 other Nicktoons on The '90s Are All That's Merry Stickmas, which aired at midnight on December 23rd into the 24th.
  • This episode parodies the short story "The Gift of the Magi" when both Phil and Lil willingly give up one of their toys for the other. Phil gives up his Reptar doll to give Lil a box of crayons for her coloring book, who in turn trades that for a Reptar space helmet to go with Phil's Reptar doll.
  • Unusually for a half-hour episode, the title card is used twice here. After the commercial break, the title card says "Later That Day".
  • A similar plot would later be used in the Bob's Burgers Christmas special, "Nice-Capades".
  • In this episode. Chas mentions how his Christmas was always disappointing and he was afraid it would be the same for Chuckie. In the All Grown Up! the episode "The Finster Who Stole Christmas", it proves to be kind of the same for him as well also at least with the Christmas trees.
  • In this episode, when Angelica rips off the mall Santa's beard, it is similar to when Buddy the Elf ripped off the Fake Santa's beard in Elf, only Buddy doesn't take off running.
  • Morals:
    • Being nice is the best way to share your things instead of being greedy.
    • Apologizing and making up for your mistakes is the right way to solve problems.

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