Are Santa's Visits Legal?

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In the coming weeks, a fat man in a red suit may be shimmying down your chimney to leave presents (or, if you were naughty, coal) under your tree. Though you're not likely to raise a fuss because the only thing Santa takes from your home is that plate of cookies, you might wonder: Is old Saint Nick actually breaking the law by coming into your house?

According to San Diego criminal lawyer Peter Liss, Santa has nothing to worry about—at least in California. That's because trespassing involves entering a property without consent, but by wishing for presents on mall Santas' laps, sending letters to the North Pole, and leaving out milk and cookies, people across the world have implied that Mr. Claus is, in fact, welcome in their homes.

That doesn't mean you should go around playing Santa Claus, though. Gaining entry into someone's property through impersonation of a celebrity is fraud. In fact, The Legal Geeks argue that Jack Skellington, the most famous Santa impersonator of all, could be left facing all kinds of criminal charges, including: conspiracy; kidnapping; false impersonation; torture (at the “hands” of Mr. Oogie Boogie); breaking and entering; and assault and battery on an unknown number of families.

So remember, everyone: Leave out your milk and cookies for Mr. Claus, but don't get into the Christmas spirit by pretending to be St. Nicholas. You could get in a heap of trouble.

Merry Christmas!