Mr. Claus -- who must have been letting all the reindeer rest before their upcoming gig -- parked his sedan at a meter in downtown L.A. Thursday ... while he ran some last minute Xmas errands in his classic red suit.
Enter the Grinch -- a.k.a. parking-ticket-man -- who noticed Santa's meter was expired, and slapped him with a ticket soooo fast ... even the elves were stunned (and everyone knows elves are fast).
According to an eye-witness on scene ... Santa tried desperately to get out of the fine ... but no cigar.
Hope someone doesn't mind coal in their stocking!