Santa Claus is portrayed as a real character rather than a fictional one in the Garfield strip. This is a rarity as most newspaper comics do not show Santa as someone who actually exists. Belief in Santa is unquestioned as Garfield, Jon Arbuckle, Odie and Doc Boy Arbuckle believe in him and Garfield has witnessed him flying in his sleigh, coming down the chimney, and distributing presents. Somehow, despite all the trouble that Garfield gets into and Santa dreading the moment he downloads Garfield's wish list he remains on Santa's nice list. On Garfield's first Christmas Eve (12/24/1978), he received 20 pounds of lasagna, a request which Santa noted no other kid in the world had asked for.
- He has appeared 35 times, the equal 34th most.
Santa's first appearance, 1978.