How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh

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“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!”
– “Jingle Bells,” 1857

A sled or sleigh is one of the oldest vehicles known to man. Traditionally used in snowy conditions, sleighs were often pulled by dogs or horses.

Sleighs may be flat-bottomed or run on two sliders called runners, as in this drawing guide.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

However, it was not until the 1800s that the sleigh became connected with Christmas festivities.

From where did the idea come that Santa Claus rides on a flying sleigh, pulled by tiny reindeer? The idea was first recorded in 1821 in a poem called “Old Santeclaus with Much Delight.”

The reindeer and sleigh were popularized two years later in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also called, “Twas the the Night Before Christmas:” “What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer.”

However, the idea of a flying benefactor visiting homes to leave gifts is much older.

In ancient Europe, the god Odin was said to visit homes in early December, flying above the housetops on his loyal grey horse.

Later, Saint Nicholas was said to take a similar gift-giving horseback ride on Saint Nicholas Day.

This tradition crossed the Atlantic along with Dutch settlers and was eventually assimilated into American Christmas customs.

Today, the sleigh and reindeer are common sights among Christmas decorations and memorabilia. A number of children’s films have been produced detailing the lives of Santa’s reindeer, especially of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Would you like to draw Santa’s sleigh? This easy, step-by-step drawing guide is here to help.

All you will need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to color your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Santa Claus, Cartoon Reindeer, and Christmas Tree.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing Santa's Sleigh

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing two overlapping curved lines. These will form the front of the sleigh.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 2

2. Draw a pair of narrowly spaced, curved parallel lines. Notice how the lines form a spiral, enclosing the front of the sleigh. They also outline the curvature of the sleigh’s side.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 3

3. Draw a long curved line to enclose the front and side of the sleigh.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 4

4. On the side of the sleigh, draw two curved lines in a spiral pattern. Allow the lines to meet at a sharp point on both ends.

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How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 5

5. Draw a straight line beneath the sleigh; at the front of the sleigh, curl the line into a spiral, overlapping the front of the sleigh. Draw another curved line in the spiral, pointed on one end and attached to the bottom of the sleigh at the bottom. Use curved lines to attach the runner to the sleigh at the back and in the middle.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 6

6. Erase the guide lines from the sleigh’s runner.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 7

7. Draw two curved lines, allowing them to form a spiral before meeting in a sharp point. This forms the second runner of the sleigh.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 8

8. Use straight lines to draw an number of overlapping rectangles, squares, and cubes. These will become presents housed in the sleigh. Then, draw pairs of lines across the boxes to form the ribbons. Use curved lines to draw the bows on top of each gift.

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How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 9

9. Draw a curved line to form the back of the sleigh. Use curved lines meeting in sharp points to outline the Christmas tree. Draw a star at the top of the tree, and numerous stars and circles on the tree.

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh: Step 10

Color your sleigh. Santa’s sleigh is often depicted as red in color. You can also draw a reindeer to pull the sleigh.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

The Complete Santa’s Sleigh Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Santa’s Sleigh

Printable PDF of the Drawing Guide

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