The 2002 Christmas event was an event that began with the "Merry Christmas" update on 25 December 2002. During this time, Santa hats would randomly fall on the ground in random time intervals, and players could pick them up and keep them. After a large influx of complaints from players not receiving a holiday drop, on 22 December 2003, Jagex announced the cancellation of Christmas item drops.
This is just a quick note to say that there aren't going to be any RuneScape items dropped at christmas[sic]. I really don't like having to say this, but I can't see any sensible alternative.
This is because the last few drops actually caused a lot of upset, and resulted in a *huge* number of complaints from players who didn't manage to get an item (or didn't get as many as their mates). Many players seemed to get really upset about the drop which is of course the exact opposite of the intended effect.
These drops used to be fun, when we started them - because they were a suprise[sic], and nobody took them too seriously. They were just a little bit of extra fun for people who were around at the time. However nowadays many players seem to expect the 'suprise[sic]' drop to happen, and so it just doesn't work the same.
Please don't go complaining to customer-support or moaning on the forums about the christmas[sic] drop. It won't change anything. Of course I'm expecting we'll get lots of complaints whatever we do :-( Which just goes to prove how horribly wrong the whole holiday-drop thing has become. The more complaints we get the more it proves to me that we really need to just stop the whole holiday-drop thing before the situation gets even worse.
On a more positive note, we are instead going to focus our time & efforts on improving the game in other exciting ways, and working on getting RS2 ready for launch early next year.
Initially Santa hats were fairly common and priced between 10,000 to 100,000 coins. But due to them becoming relatively rare over the years, they have increased tremendously in worth to well over 100 million coins.
In the past, Santa hats used to provide a +3 bonus to Magic when equipped. However, Jagex later decided that holiday items should be purely for fun; thus, removing this bonus. However, it still has the Magic bonus in RuneScape Classic. Today, Santa hats are worn by generally more experienced players as a display of decoration or wealth.