When Santa Claus fell from the sky (novel)

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When Santa Claus fell from the sky is a children's book by Cornelia Funke . It tells an adventurous Christmas story in which two children save a Santa Claus and his angels and goblins from an evil Santa Claus who wants to destroy the magic of Christmas for the benefit of consumption and profit. The book is recommended for ages eight and up. It was first published in 1994 by Dressler Verlag with illustrations by Regina Kehn . Since then it has appeared in numerous editions, has been translated into several languages ​​and has been made into a film twice.


Niklas Julebukk is the last real Santa Claus. Santa Clauses used to travel around with their angels in the run-up to Christmas, listening to children's dreams to hear their wishes. The desired toys were made by Christmas goblins. The Santa Clauses attached particular importance to paying attention to the immaterial wishes of the children and to helping them to come true. Ever since Waldemar Wichteltod and his army of nutcrackers seized control of the Christmas land, the focus there has only been on efficiency and profit maximization. Gifts are now only manufactured industrially. Orders are only accepted from adults who are encouraged to order increasingly expensive gifts. The children's wishes are no longer taken into account. Waldemar Wichteltod pursued the few Santa Clauses who resisted. He turned them into chocolate Santa Clauses and their angels into tree decorations and slaughtered their magical reindeer. Niklas Julebukk was able to escape with the only surviving reindeer named Snowflake, the angels Matilda and Emmanuel and a bevy of goblins. You travel in a flying construction trailer, which is bigger inside than outside and houses a gift workshop. As Christmas approaches, they are looking for a quiet area, neglected by the death of an elf, in which they can fulfill their wishes for children without being discovered. During a thunderstorm, their trailer breaks and they crash. The reindeer falling star is frightened and flees.

In the neighborhood where Julebukk and his companions landed, they get to know two children: Ben is looking forward to Christmas and suffers from the fact that his parents do not enjoy Christmas, are stressed and hate snow. Charlotte is new to the neighborhood, gets teased at school and feels lonely. At first, Ben doesn't want to have anything to do with Charlotte, whom he knows only briefly from school. While the goblins repair the trailer, the children help capture the runaway reindeer. In this shared adventure, they begin to befriend each other.

When a classmate teases Ben that he still believes in Santa Claus, Ben says he knows Santa Claus personally and claims he can make sure it snows for the next few days. The two boys make a bet. Ben tells Julebukk about his desire for snow. Charlotte also wants snow for Christmas. Since Julebukk can't refuse a child's wish, he decides to let it snow. To do this, however, he has to get snow from Christmas land with the help of a magical snow machine. In his trailer there is a door to the Christmas land, which he cannot cross because Wichteltod's army is looking for him there. So Ben and Charlotte go to Christmas land. There they are ambushed and with Julebukk's help they barely escape Wichteltod's nutcrackers.

After Ben and Charlotte's excursion through the door, Wicheltod now knows Julebukk's whereabouts. He looks for him in his trailer to turn him into chocolate like all other rebellious Santa Clauses. With combined forces Julebukk succeeds in defeating the angels, the goblins and the children, Wichteltod. Instead of Julebukk, Wichteltod itself becomes chocolate.

Charlotte and Ben, who are now close friends, spend the last days before Christmas full of anticipation. On Christmas Eve, Ben spends a boring day with his stressed and bad-tempered parents. To the amazement of the parents, Julebukk and the angels visit the family late in the evening. Julebukk not only brings presents for Ben, but also for the adults. Ben's parents are so enchanted by the music of the angels and the magical toys from the goblins' workshop that they win back their childlike friends at Christmas. So Ben's greatest wish that his family can enjoy Christmas together comes true.

At midnight, Julebukk leaves with the angels and goblins to hibernate. He announces that he will be training new Santa Clauses in order to revive the old customs in the land of Christmas and will come back next year.


The central theme of the book is the appropriation of the Christmas season through consumption and greed. It is the adults who no longer appreciate the joys of Christmas. The focus is not on the religious aspects of Christmas, which do not play a role in the book, but on the importance of Christmas as a children's and family festival. It is the children who suffer most from the loss of the Christmas spirit. Further topics are friendship and cooperation: Santa Claus alone is not able to save the magic of the Christmas season, but together with the children he succeeds. Ben has to question his reservations about girls in general and Charlotte in particular and makes a good friend in the process. Julebukk and his loyal companions also appreciate the children's friendship and even risk their lives to make them happy this Christmas.


When Santa Claus fell from the sky it was adapted several times for theater and film.

The film adaptation When Santa Claus fell from the sky by Oliver Dieckmann came to the cinema in 2011. A radio play adaptation was published by Oetinger audio to accompany the film .

In 2007, Martin Stefaniak adapted the book as a puppet show for the Augsburger Puppenkiste , which produced the play ten years later as a feature film under the direction of Martin Stefaniak and Julian Köberer . In 2017, the puppet film When Santa Claus fell from the sky - like the puppet show filming The Christmas story in the previous year - was shown in the cinema on Advent Sundays. It is the third feature film from the Augsburger Puppenkiste. A radio play production with Martina Gedeck as the narrator was also published.

A theater adaptation of the book was premiered in 2014 at the Hamburger Kammerspiele under the direction of Frauke Thielecke .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. When Santa Fell to Earth (2011) in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  2. When Santa fell from the sky (2017) in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  3. play When Santa Fell to Earth on the pages of the Hamburg Chamber of games, accessed December 1, 2018th