There are two types of people in this world: Those who can’t stand animatronic Christmas decorations, and those who can’t get enough of them.
If you belong to the former camp: right on. You are entitled to your holiday decoration opinion. Might we redirect you to our article on minimalist Christmas decor? Or perhaps our guide to small space-friendly holiday decorations?
But if you fall into the latter group who can’t get enough of singing Christmas decorations, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve created a guide to Christmas decorations that harness the power of Christmas magic to move and make noise.
What Are Animatronics?
Animatronics — a portmanteau of the words of animation and electronics — are puppets that are brought to life by motors and other electromechanical devices. Animatronics can be traced back to the mid-20th century, when Walt Disney tasked machinist Roger Broggie and sculptor Wathel Rogers with the project of creating a 9-inch-tall mechanical dancing man that could move and talk. Shortly after, animatronic tiki birds were introduced to the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.
In the decades that followed, animatronics would star in movies — beginning with the animatronic singing robin in Disney’s 1964 film “Mary Poppins.” The robin was followed by the mechanical shark in “Jaws” (1975), a giant mechanical ape in “King Kong” (1976) and the animatronic alien in “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982).
In the brave new age we live in, animatronics live in our own homes, in the form of toys, companion or therapy bots, and of course, holiday decorations. Second perhaps only to Halloween, Christmas is the season that sees the greatest variety of animatronic decorations hit our yards, windows and mantelpieces.
Are you ready to deck the halls with Christmas animatronics? We’re here for it. Here are our favorite animated holiday decorations that shimmy, shake, sing and spread Christmas cheer.
The Best Christmas Animatronics for 2022
Mindscope Animat3D Multicolored Mr. Chill Snowman Indoor Christmas Decor
This jolly animatronic snowman has been delighting (and perplexing) the editors at the RetailMeNot office all season. Designed with a short-throw projector, built-in speaker and pinch of Christmas cheer, Mr. Chill delivers 40 minutes of singing, talking and joke-telling. The snowman features three buttons: two that control the volume and one for skipping to the next song or joke.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): Mr. Chill has a deep, Frank Sinatra-like singing voice that is infinitely listenable as it croons favorites like “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls” and “Oh Holy Night.” His jokes can get a little tired after the 40th time, but that’s where the skip button comes in handy.
Cost: $59.99 at AceHardware.com
Cuddle Barn Rockin Robbie The Singing and Dancing Christmas Tree
Push the button on Rockin Robbie, the dancing, singing Christmas tree, and try not to smile — we dare you. This festive little Cuddle Barn creation lights up and boogies as it delivers a lively rendition of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” In addition to that Christmas magic we keep mentioning, Rockin Robbie runs on three AA batteries, which are included.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): Not unlike Mr. Chill, this singing Christmas tree has a melodic, not-annoying-at-all voice that we could listen to all season. Its mouth even moves with the words as it sings.
Cost: $32.99 at Amazon.com
Mr. Christmas Animated Tree Topper
A regular, old un-animated star or snowflake might be satisfactory for some, but as a lover of Christmas animatronics, you want to top your tree with something special. Enter this dazzling carousel, which slowly spins a herd of flying reindeer above your tree. The animated topper, designed by time-honored brand Mr. Christmas, includes mounts with velcro straps and an AC adaptor. Also, if you don’t love the reindeer, other designs are available, including a Santa sleigh and an airplane.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): Unlike the other singing Christmas decorations on this list, the floating tree topper is mercifully soundless. Plus, it’s from a multigenerational family-owned business, Mr. Christmas, which has been designing animated, musical Christmas gear longer than Disney himself.
Cost: $66.15 at Amazon.com
4-Ft. Animated Reindeer Christmas Animatronic
At 4 feet tall, this animatronic reindeer stands taller than your average-height Christmas elf or four-year-old. A formidable addition to your holiday display, this (basically) lifesize reindeer plays six instrumental Christmas favorites, including the Christmas carols “Joy to the World,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” As trumpets blare and bells ring, the reindeer moves his head around curiously, as if searching for the source of the magical music. This animatronic reindeer requires some basic assembly as well as a pluggable power source.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): As far as musical and singing Christmas decorations go, this reindeer has a surprisingly rich sound. And with six songs to cycle through, it’ll likely be well into the New Year before you feel an urge to chuck him out any windows.
Cost: $199 at HomeDepot.com
Cuddle Barn Rock & Roll Rider Animated Reindeer
From the geniuses/madmen who brought you Rockin Robbie the singing Christmas tree, the Cuddle Barn Rock & Roll Rider is a darling little reindeer who trots around and wags his tale to “Sleigh Ride.” He’s made of plush polyester and powered by three AAA batteries, which are included.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): For the record, this is the cuter, less window-chucking rage-inducing model of the two reindeer sold by the Cuddle Barn. The other one is called Tooty Rudy, and he gets his name for exactly the reason you think.
Cost: $31.99 at Amazon.com
Mr. Christmas Super Climber Christmas Decoration
Another winner from Mr. Christmas, this animated Santa Clause scales and descends his 42-inch ladder with mesmerizing grace and agility. Even more impressive: Santa is carrying a string of six LED lights and a music box toy bag that plays Christmas carols. The climbing Santa is powered by an AC adapter cord and has an on and off switch.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): We reviewed a ton of climbing Santa decorations — all of which were fun, but many of which were flimsy. The Mr. Christmas Super Climber sets himself apart with a relatively sturdy, quality design.
Cost: $98.09 at Amazon.com
Animated Santa Claus Figurines Decoration
With a twinkle in his eye and a nod of his head, this animatronic Santa reads “The Night Before Christmas.” The tabletop-size Santa is button-activated and requires three AA batteries, which are not included.
Why Everyone Will Love It (if They Don’t Chuck It Out the Window): With his moving head and blinking eyes, this Santa walks the line between cute and creepy, but hey, isn’t that what Christmas animatronics are all about?
Cost: $44.99 at Amazon.com
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