Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki


In Search of Santa - Trailer

Official trailer

What counts is that they believe in the things I stand for: Love, kindness, helping others. We call it the spirit of Christmas. But it works all year round.

Santa Claus

In Search of Santa is a 2003 CGI direct-to-video Chinese-American co-production between Colorland Animation and Tundra Productions, Inc, notably the only original co-production between both companies. Marked as the first ever fully-CGI original Christmas movie, it was originally intended to be a traditionally-animated movie set to be released for the 1999 holiday season, with GoodTimes Entertainment presenting and Andrew Greenberg executive-producing, but it was delayed in favor of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, was then shifted to CGI, and then dropped in late 2003. In January 2004, the North American distribution rights were acquired by Miramax Home Entertainment for its then-new Miramax Family label (Paramount Pictures later acquired it for international distribution, though it would eventually acquire half of Miramax's stake with BeIn Media Group in April 2020), and the main roles were replaced with Hilary and Haylie Duff, marking their first roles in animation.


Once upon a time, there was a snowy island kingdom populated by the penguins of Antarctica, literally called the Penguin Island. in which Christmas is banned kingdom-wide by an elderly penguin group called The Terribly Deep Thinkers - consisting of Agonysia, Mortmottimes and Deridommis. In Royal Rookery Rock, King Calvin and Queen Penelope have been blessed with two perfect eggs, upon their royal penguin nest; by law and decree, the first egg to hatch would inherit the throne. Out comes Crystal, whose name the Thinkers don't like, but the crowd likes it. The second baby hatched, but the crowd didn't like her appearance; the King names her Lucinda, who turns many shades of green.

Two years (or 8 in penguin years) pass, and Princess Crystal grew up smart, led with her heart and loves dancing on ice. The narrator calls her "Princess Clumsy", to her constant consternation, and mentions that every Hatchday (December 23rd), Crystal prefers to ice dance than attending the celebrations. After her failed attempt to maneuver the "Triple Lutz", Crystal schedules the ice-dancing/storytelling slumber party after the party for the Wing Maidens. As Crystal and her friend Eugene, a Prince from a neighboring island, walk to the Palace, she wishes him good luck in his stage performance.

Philip, the Royal Page, introduces Eugene, "the Fool", to the stage, and the audience boos at his jokes and juggling skills, to Crystal's distress. When Crystal and Lucinda come out of the Palace, every Penguin in the kingdom gathers in front of them and sings "Happy Hatchday". Lucy knocks Crystal's tiara over her head, sending her tumbling down the stairs and, eventually destroyed the towering cake, which splatters some of the Penguins, including the Thinkers. That night, Crystal apologizes to her mother before going to sleep.

The next day (Christmas Eve), Crystal looks at the document regarding how to be the "future queen". While Lucy and her maids are playing beach ball on the shore, Crystal sadly rolls up the document and leaves. Lucy wants to be "future queen", because she's a better bird.

In the Palace, the Thinkers talk to Calvin and Penelope about yesterday's cake fiasco, and the queen agrees to clear the incident within a week. Then they talk to them about the princesses, while Lucy and her maids are sneaking behind the column. After the talk, the doors of the Palace shut itself. Mortmottimes asks Agonysia what they're having for lunch, but Agonysia buttons his beak. Later, Lucinda makes a deal with the Thinkers to become Crystal's shadow for a night, in order to watch her doing something, and report everything back… to them, for a greater good of the colony.

That evening, Crystal and Eugene hike to the top of Mount Gigantic, while Lucinda becomes Crystal's shadow. Crystal trips on a pebble and falls down. Then, somewhere in the moonlit sky, a mysterious sleigh bell falls and bonks Crystal on her royal noggin. Curiously, Crystal picks up the bell, thanks the sky, and Eugene quickly examines it before they continue hiking. Eugene saves Crystal from a quick peril, sending Lucy out in a snowball. Once they reach the top, Crystal shows Eugene's soaring suit to "attempt to turn back the clock of evolution itself," but she tells him that penguins are swimmers, as he gives his theory that Mother Nature made them "flightless waterfowl" over the eons by his ancestors. After they duck from two female nighthawks, Eugene tells her that if his invention works, he'll become a full-time inventor. Crystal jumps on Eugene's skis as his attempt fails, sending them downward to the discovery of "the human place", with Lucy, in a snowball, behind it. Once there, they discover a compass, and, by coincidence, The Book of Santa Claus.

The next day (Christmas Day), Crystal & Eugene show the book to the Wing Maidens, highlighting that the magic walls of Santa's City is visible only to true believers. Lucinda and two of the Guards arrest Crystal, Eugene and the Wing Maidens for showing that Santa Claus does exist. In the courtroom, Eugene declared Santa is Non-Fiction and appoints Lucy for the sleigh bell, in which she illegally declared the bell as a Hatchday present to Crystal. Calvin demands Crystal to grab a pardon, but Crystal legally declares "There is a Santa Claus. I know it in my heart." The Thinkers fails to declare the Santa is real. By their default, they declare that "Santa Claus is a HUMAN LIE", and appoints Lucinda as a new "future queen". That night, the Thinkers lead a mob while singing their group song. Deridommis burns the place down.

In Crystal's room, she tells her parents that the Thinkers' knowledge would burn the wonderful scrolls, and asks Penelope about her believing in Santa. Penelope assures her that things will be better the next morning. Desperately, without any warning, Crystal leaps out of the Palace unnoticed.

The next morning, Eugene warns Crystal about her quest to the North Pole, and wants to protect her. Crystal says she can protect herself from many predators along the way. Eugene gives Crystal the compass and sends her out in the raft, thus starting the quest.

In the Cave of Profundity, Deridommis sees Crystal leaving the island, and tells the others that she left. Lucinda told the truths, about what happened a couple nights ago, to the Thinkers. They actually tricked her, for the greater good of the colony, and she also left the island to bring Crystal back. Suddenly, a leopard seal emerges from the water, and Lucy abruptly joins Crystal in the quest. The leopard seal makes a hole in the raft, and the two land on a glacier. Not long after, Crystal rescues a seal Pup who has been separated from its mother. But then a killer whale separates the glacier, stranding the princesses.

From somewhere in the ocean, cannonballs appear to scare the whale away. It's a pirate ship called the "Blubber Belly", which captures Crystal, Lucy and Pup. On board, they meet a pelican named Bubkus Bill and a stork named Timebomb Tom, by behalf of the nefarious Capn' Cragg. Cragg draws the sword to shock them, and answers the questions through song. They don't know what to do with them. Tom suggests a tea party, but Bill prefers putting them to work. Crystal agrees with Bill's suggestion, if they take them to the North Pole. Lucinda commands the Pirates to release them.

That night, the pirates throw Crystal, Lucinda, and Pup into a room. Meanwhile, Cragg looks at The Book of Santa Claus and examines three things: Magic Flying Dust, See-All Looking Glass, and the gates to Santa's City are "only visible to the pure of heart". He cackles as the Pirates' secret plan establishes. Later, Cragg announces that the Princess' request is granted.

The next day, the Princesses have chores to do. Pup is cleaning the cannon, Lucy stitches the sails, and Crystal uses brushes as ice skates to clean the floor of the main deck. The pirates plan to find the North Pole to get filthy rich. We see the "Blubber Belly" going up North across the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic Ocean, in in a Earth-revolving shot.

One night (almost 4 penguin years later), Princess Lucinda asks "How can one man deliver all those toys in all night?" Crystal answers, "Magic Flying Dust". Lucinda notices Crystal's compass that Eugene gave her, and talks about it. Crystal asks Lucinda "So who do you like?", and Lucinda realizes his friend Philip and talks about him via sharing, before they start laughing.

Back in the Island, the king and queen are depressed about the princesses getting lost. The TDTs offer to sign the "Lost at Sea" contract in order to become the new heirs of the throne. Agonysia grabs Mortmottimes' feather to use as a quail to Penelope, but she weeps. Calvin feels in his heart that the princesses are still out there somewhere. The Thinkers will come back the next week, in order to allow the parents to mourn.

One week later (the Princesses are now 12), the "Blubber Belly" lands on the shores of the North Pole. The Princesses use the ship's bathtub to get onto shore, as the Pirates secretly follow them. Upon arrival, Crystal and Lucinda get into a fraud that started three years ago. With faith, Crystal starts to like Lucy, and eventually they became best friends forever. Pup spots a white fur, just like Santa's beard. Lucy takes a closer look of it, which eventually becomes a hungry polar bear that starts chasing her. Crystal throws two snowballs at the bear and runs to the nearby frozen lake, where she maneuvers the "Triple Lutz" as the Polar Bear breaks the ice and falls into the pond. Lucy calls Crystal a "brave, stupid bird," and they continue the quest.

At dusk, Crystal, Lucinda and Pup arrive at the home of Max Elfman. They meet his pig, then they tried the igloo. Crystal comments "you're not fooling anyone" to Max, and she and Lucy notice his regulation elfwear shoes and his pointy ears. The princesses and Pup chases after him, as Max flies away on his pig using the pig's flying cap.

On the night of December 23-24, the princesses are still looking for Max and his pig. Pup bumps on the invisible wall, followed by Lucinda. Crystal knocks on the wall, and mentions that the walls of Santa City is only visible to true believers. Crystal asks to Lucy they "must believe" or they're never get inside. They close their eyes and visualize through a poem from the book:

In an arctic light
stands the marvelous sight,
A city that glitters and glows.
Even the trees when it snows.

Inside, you'll find merry little elves
humming to themselves,
loading up their selves
And peppermint trees and leaves lining every street
Lollipop flowers,
candy-striped towers,
And all the sweets you can eat.

And the chairman in charge
Is jolly and large.

Once the poem is recited, the bricks randomly appear rapidly. The invisible wall reveals via light-wipe. Crystal comments to Lucy that she hardly did it. The wall disappears for a moment before reappearing. The three celebrate the arrival, as Max comes in through the gate greeting the princesses.

Inside Santa City, the merry elves is excited about the true believers welcoming to the city through the two-horse closed sleigh. At one moment, the sleigh stops for Santa's reindeer crossing with a chant. Once they arrive outside the castle, the photographers start taking pictures of the Princesses and Pup. Inside the castle, the city's mayor and chief toy-maker honors them with the key to Santa's City. Mrs. Claus introduces the castle to princesses, and mentions that she saw their journey through the Magic Looking Glass and message to everyone that "Every elf, reindeer and toy knows of your great adventure." Lastly, they are greeted by Santa himself and advises that the Spirit of Christmas works all year round. Suddenly, outside the city, the pirates' cannonballs destroy the invisible wall & the gates. Santa advises that the Pirates that arrived right in time, and comments that he saw them in the Magic Looking Glass.

The Pirates' has already set the explosions as quickly as possible, just as Santa comes in. Cragg wants some gifts, and Santa snaps his fingers to give the treasure chests of gold, silver and multicolored. Cragg holds Santa in order to give the Magic Flying Dust & Magic Looking Glass together. Cragg asks to "carry" the loot, and Santa comments that the "Magic Flying Dust has the unusual effect of the laws of gravity." Cragg proceeds to blast away by Timebomb Tom. Crystal stops Tom, just as the exploding device goes down. Instead of explosions, three colorful fireworks, consisting of bows, sweets and toys, explode in the sky. Santa has his "jolliness is a matter of public record," and his "mastery of the martial arts is lesser-known." He then uses his martial arts skills to turn his red suit into red Chinese symbols. He then commands the Pirates' to leave his city behind, carrying their loot along. Lucy asks Santa why, and he has show the princesses something in the office.

In the office within the castle, Santa shows the Princesses his Magic Looking Glass, where he shows that Eugene misses Crystal, and the TDTs plan to have the King & Queen sign the "Lost at Sea" document and make them the new heirs of the throne. The princesses agree to stop the Thinkers from signing. Just then, Oliver arrives in the office to hand Santa the satchel. Santa hands the scrapbook from the satchel for Crystal to look it as the "proof", he places his hat onto Lucy's head, and the single serving of his Magic Flying Dust to Crystal. Lucy hands Santa the sleigh bell, which belonged to Blitzen. As Crystal asks to Santa how do they get back home, the scene fades before he answers it.

Back on the ship, now stuck on ice, the pirates reveal the things they retrieved were swapped (Magic Flying Dust for sawdust, Magic Looking Glass for breakable glass, and the chests now filled with coal). The Princesses & Pup get on board by permission. Crystal asks the Pirates to bring the ship back into the water, and they agree. Crystal then spreads the Magic Flying Dust all over the ship so it can fly them back to the South Pole.

The next day, Christmas Eve, Deridommis sees the "Blubber Belly" landing in the water (from the flying dust wearing off) through his telescope. The Pirates bid farewell to the Princesses. Later, they check one of the treasure chests and one of the gold pieces is back, along with the letter from Santa, which says, "Every good deed brings its own reward."

The Princesses arrive back at Royal Rookery Rock via the ship's bathtub, leaving Pup behind. Suddenly, the Thinkers arrive and chatter about the quest and becoming best friends. They invited them to their cave to celebrate. But once arriving at the cave, the princesses are then trapped in a birdcage. Agonysia takes Lucy's hat away, and the Thinkers will declare the princesses as "Lost at Sea". They melt the proof of Santa Claus, and Mortmottimes rises the birdcage ("Where's your Santa now, Crystal?"). They leave the cave, carrying the contract.

In the palace, the Thinkers arrive to sign the contract by Calvin & Penelope. Eugene then abruptly interrupts the signing for the few words of remembering Crystal. Back in the cave, Lucy recaps the things they survived over the quest, and Crystal promises that the TDTs won't win. Pup arrives in the cave and the princesses command him to find Eugene in the palace. Crystal then throws the compass to Pup and he heads off to the palace. Meanwhile, the TDTs stop Eugene's speech as Calvin signs his signature in the document. Penelope has no choice but to sign hers as well. Suddenly, Pup arrives in the Palace and the guards chases after him while looking for Eugene. Eugene & Pup get cornered by the guards, and realizes that the compass he gave to Crystal as a sign of Crystal's existence. Agonysia claims that Crystal was eaten by a leopard seal, but Eugene is "no marine biologist, but this seal is a Pup." Agonysia holds the document that has one signature away by Penelope, and Pup leads every penguin in the rookery to the Thinkers' hideout.

That night, the TDTs are banished from Royal Rookery Rock forever... or so they fought. Mortmottimes looks to the night sky. It's Santa Claus, riding in his sleigh, powered by Magic Flying Dust for the eight tiny reindeer against the moon backdrop. Agonysia says "Merry Christmas indeed," right before another sleigh bell falls and bonks her in her noggin. The Thinkers has established the plan what Crystal and Lucinda ventured before... to go to the North Pole.

Approximately one year (4 penguin years) later (the Princesses are now 16), it's Christmas Day. Lucinda mentions that Santa was here, meaning the Thinkers' Kingdom-wide Christmas ban has ended. Crystal opens her gifts to reveal a brand-new pair of ice skates and a single serving of Santa's Magic Flying Dust. In the Frozen Pond, Crystal feels proud to try her ice skates. Lucy tries to skate but falls down. Philip picks her up and they skate together. Eugene has troubles with his new ice skates, as Crystal skates in to him, he still stops. Crystal is ready for the Christmas present as she spreads the Magic Flying Dust around them. Eugene is shockingly excited to see him and Crystal floating in the air. The final shot shows Crystal and Eugene soaring away into the clouds with the trail of the Magic Flying Dust behind them, which disappears above the ocean. The story ends here... until the next Christmas season.


The original score is 100% Electronically-Performed by Michael Lloyd [who also supervised it] and Keith Heffner

Title Music Lyrics by
"Happy Hatchday" Michael Lloyd
Keith Heffner
Michael Lloyd [credit]
Michael Aschner
"Terribly Deep Thinkers Song"
"Cap'n Cragg's Pirate Song"
"Poem from 'The Book of Santa Claus'" Michael Lloyd
Keith Heffner
Michael Aschner
"Santa's Reindeer Chant"
"Jolly Old St. Nicholas" (instrumental)


Domestic releases[]

International releases[]


  • In Spain, it was titled Las Princesas Pingüinas ("The Penguin Princesses"), referring to the main characters Crystal and Lucinda.


  • On the scanning shot of 5 of the Wing Maidens in the court scene, the transparent purple-black rectangle with 3½ circles at the bottom appears on the near-bottom-right side for a couple frames in the middle of the shot, and reappears (on the far-bottom-right side) when the camera stops scanning.


The original voices of Princess Crystal and Princess Lucinda in the original version is currently unknown.

Voice actor/actress Character(s)
Kathleen Barr Agonysia
Mrs. Claus
Queen Penelope
Scott McNeil Mortmottimes
Bubkus Bill
Timebomb Tom
Garry Chalk Derridommis
Cap'n Cragg
French Tickner Santa Claus
Dale Wilson King Calvin
Nicole Bouma Princess Crystal (Baby)
Wing Maidens #1 & #5
Additional characters
Tabitha St. Germain Princess Lucinda (Baby)
Additional characters
Lee Tockar Max
Jason Michas Eugene
Gardener Elf
Cathy Weseluck Emma
Wing Maidens #4 & #6
Richard Newman Narrator
2004 Recasted Version
Hilary Duff Princess Crystal
Haylie Duff Princess Lucinda


Early Production[]


External links[]

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