On the day before Christmas, Santa Claus has mysteriously lost his familiar refrain of “Ho, Ho, Ho!” Mrs. Claus is intent on bringing it back for the sake of Christmas, and calls in elves and reindeer from around the North Pole to perk up Santa.
A couple of elves try to tell him some jokes, elves from the kitchen offer him some sugary treats, the reindeer attempt a number of silent gags, the Merry Mistletoe Elves play a few tunes on their kazoos, elves from the Twinkletoe Dance Troupe display some dance moves, and a couple of real prankster elves demonstrate some of their best antics. But, despite everyone’s best efforts and Mrs. Claus’ increasing desperation, nothing seems to work. It isn’t until Mrs. Claus comes up with a final, brilliant idea that Santa’s “Ho, Ho, Ho!” returns and the joyful spirit of Christmas is saved.
The Claus’ Living Room at the North Pole
Adjustable up to 25 players
4 Female, 3 Male, 18 Female or Male–Flexible
Approximately 45 minutes without an intermission
Production Notes (included with the playscript)
When Santa Lost his Ho, Ho, Ho is an extremely adaptable play for any size group with just about any ratio of girls to boys. It would be easy enough to add or remove any of the Twinkletoe Dancers, Merry Mistletoe Kazoo Players, or Sugary Chef Elves and adjust the script accordingly. Cast members can double up on parts easily. And as far as the reindeer in addition to Rudolph in scene 4, you can have just about any number. Almost all of the roles can be played by either a girl or a boy, and names can easily be changed. For instance, a “Frances” and “Franny” could replace the roles of “Freddie” and “Frankie,” and the script would work just as well.
Taking a look at the large-sized roles, place your strongest actress in the role of Mrs. Claus. She has the most lines to memorize, and the final scene hinges upon her comedic timing. Santa is obviously another large part because he’s also on stage for the entire play and has several lines as well. I placed the roles of Freddie and Frankie and the Twinkletoe Dance Troupe members in the “Large Role” category because those parts will really sparkle if played by some confident kids who have a real willingness to look (and sound) completely ridiculous.
Considering the medium-sized roles, note that none of them are gender-specific. This provides you a lot of freedom in casting them. I would suggest you have the more confident actors and actresses of your group play Merry Mistletoe Player #1 and Sugary Chef Elf #1. These are the roles that speak first in their scene and set the tone and pacing for the rest of their little group. I’ve found that less confident or younger cast members benefit from being sandwiched in the middle of a group (Merry Mistletoe player #2 or Sugary Chef Elves #2 and #3) because their cues are built into the script naturally: #2 always talks right after #1, #3 always talks right after #2, etc.. This makes it easy for those actors and actresses to know when they have a line, and they tend to feed off the confidence of their leader.
It might also be a good idea to practice the art of interrupting with your cast for this show. There are many instances in the script when one character is interrupting another, and that is one of the trickier drama skills to master.
The background of the stage should look like the living room of the Claus Home. On stage, there should be a comfortable chair, a small table beside the chair with an empty plate on it, a pair of slippers next to the chair on the floor, and a rug. A second table or desk in the room should display six different noisemakers and have a broom resting against it. A large portion of the stage should remain open enough for several characters to be able to stand in a group comfortably. The table of noisemakers should be within easy reach of Mrs. Claus. Family pictures, holiday decorations, and a small decorated tree would all be a nice touch, as well.
The noisemakers that are on stage for Mrs. Claus can be just about anything. One of them definitely needs to be a kazoo, though, and there definitely needs to be six noisemakers total.
The cookies and cupcake belonging to the Sugary Chef Elves can certainly be fake items for rehearsal, but you might consider having them be real for the actual performance. If you choose this option, make sure Santa gets a chance to practice in dress rehearsal with the real thing. Eating and still delivering lines clearly on stage can be challenging, so practice is key. I also suggest that the cookies and cupcake be somewhat over-size so they can be clearly seen by the audience.
The reindeer scene will work really well if the reindeer can pull off fairly simultaneous movements with their props. It will be a nice surprise for the audience if the reindeer can come on stage with their dunce caps, clown noses, and glasses hidden. The glasses can be nerdy frames, dark sunglasses, or even the classic Groucho Marx style. They can try each of the props in turn and take them off, or they can start with the cap, add the nose, and finally the eyeglasses to try to make Santa laugh. Try it both ways, and choose the one that seems easier for your reindeer group.
For the Twinkletoe Dance Troupe, you can use any two holiday songs that inspire your dancers to swivel, wiggle, and sway in place on stage. They can coordinate some elaborate dance moves or simple, repetitive ones. The most important thing is they work together, have some fun, and really go for it.
When it comes to playing their kazoos, the Merry Mistletoe Players can be terrible or perfectly harmonious, and they will be equally entertaining. If they are feeling especially confident in their kazoo-playing abilities, they may want to coordinate some simple movements to go along with the music: bobbing up and down, slow swaying, etc. Upon exiting, they can hold a long, slow note or play a mournful little tune. Either way, they’ll get a laugh.
If the helium balloons seem too cumbersome a trick for your Freddie and Frankie, they can simply sing in their best high, squeaky pitch or while they hold their nose. The helium balloons would be awfully great for laughs, though, if they can manage it for the actual performance. Again, I would suggest that Freddie and Frankie get a chance to practice with actual helium balloons in your dress rehearsal and choose a holiday song that’s recognizable to the audience.
Costumes for this production should be easy. All of the elves can simply be in festive holiday attire: green vests, striped socks, and felt hats being just a few of the many possibilities. Mrs. Claus can be wearing anything from a fancy holiday dress to a frumpy outfit and apron fit for cleaning the house. And finally, Santa can certainly wear his traditional red suit and beard...but he could also be in something as simple as a pair of pajamas or long johns, thus looking truly bedraggled and depressed. The only unusual thing to consider is that you will need a second Santa Claus costume of sorts for Mrs. Claus in the final scene. I would suggest keeping it simple. A beard, a large red coat, and a hat are all she really needs since she’s only trying to behave like Santa for a few minutes to make a joke, not fully disguise herself. If she can simply throw a few Santa suit pieces on over her original costume, that will be enough.
Since these treats play a key role in the scene with the Sugary Chef Elves, consider making some chocolate cookies, gingerbread cookies, or buttercream cupcakes with spicy hot cocoa to serve as refreshments.
If you want to make sure everything is perfectly legal as far as songs are concerned, there are several sites online that list holiday songs in the public domain—meaning their copyright has expired. There are plenty of choices that would be instantly recognizable and be fun for the Twinkletoe Dancers, the Merry Mistletoe Players, and Freddie and Frankie to perform.
Each playscript comes as a downloadable PDF document, and includes an extensive Production Notes section to help with all aspects of the production, as well as an invaluable Organizational Grid with each character’s costume suggestion and any props needed.
With purchase, you are granted the right to copy this script as needed for amateur performances for a period of one year from the date of purchase. More information on the Copyright page.