Well, Christmas just isn't complete without Santa Clause. He’s one of the most famous holiday icons of all time, and there have been countless interpretations of this character throughout various holiday movies and specials. So for a special holiday treat, here are my personal top ten favorite renditions of Santa Clause, portrayed in movies and television.
10. Santa Clause from “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
Here’s one of the more unique renditions of Santa. First of all, I like how his formal title is “Father Christmas” as opposed to one of his more common names. Second, I like how he’s from a mid-evil setting, with an original, mid-evil design to boot. This is a Santa who doesn’t shy away from weapons either, as long as their used for a good purpose.
9. Santa Clause from “The Polar Express”
Even though this Santa isn’t on screen for that long, he still leaves a subtle impact. This Santa has a genuinely magical presence, feeling less like a person in a suit, and more like a mystical being that was created from the joy and good tidings of the holiday. Tom Hanks delivers a subtle performance, I like how the character even glows and he delivers those speeches that are short but simple and to the point. It’s all you really need from a film rendition of Santa Clause.
8. Santa Clause from “Nicolas: The Boy Who Became Santa”
This is a half hour, holiday short from a company called CCC Entertainment and they specialized in developing animated, direct to video movies that always focused on a famous individual with a religious back story. In the case of this special, it’s Saint Nicolas, the boy who would grow up to become the embodiment of Santa Clause. Many people forget to connect Santa to religion, but he is in fact based on a Saint that indeed has a Christian background. This special is a great little reminder of that, and it’s an interesting take on his life, beginning as a humble child, and then growing up to be a charitable adult who thinks nothing of himself or his needs, just the needs of others. If you can find a copy of this special, then give it a watch and check out one of the most selfless and faithfully inspiring Santa’s you’ll ever see.
7. Santa Clause from “A Christmas Story”
Well, not every variation of Santa is kind and cheery, some are downright cruel (as seen in movies like “Bad Santa”). But of all the “jerk Santa’s”, my favorite by far is the one featured in “A Christmas Story”. The idea of Santa can warm any child’s heart around the holidays but when you meet him in a shopping mall, Santa starts getting a little scary. Speaking from personal experiences, I was never happy visiting Santa in a shopping mall, and this movie represents that perfectly. This Santa is so enjoyably over the top with his big bug eyes, overblown laugh and extremely uncomfortable close-up shots, that I couldn’t help but give his a spot on the list.
6. Santa Clause from “The Santa Clause”
Oh, this movie is such a treasured gem, and a lot of that stems from the films simplistic story of how an ordinary guy can become someone as special as Santa. Actually, Tim Allen’s character isn’t just an everyday, common guy, he’s also a complete jerk, and seeing him slowly become Santa, not just in physical form but also in spirit and tone, makes this flick all the more warm and joyful. Interestingly enough, he feels like a genuine Santa Clause, with a cheery personality and a high spirited performance from Tim Allen to boot.
5. Santa Clause from “Rise of the Guardians”
Okay, so, this is an unusual take on Santa because this one goes into battle swinging two swords, dresses up like a pirate, has a Russian accent and could put up one heck of a fight. Yet he still feels like a classic, cheery Santa Clause with wholesome morals, words of wisdom and nothing but sheer joy for what he does. I just love how energized and upbeat this guy is, even when he’s aiding the tooth fairy with a task that’s nothing like his own, he still enjoys every second of it and does the best he can at his job. He’s energetic, fun, loving and sure knows how to use a sword. That makes him one of the most unique, yet thoroughly enjoyable Santa Clauses.
4. Santa Clause from “The Twilight Zone: Night of the Meek”
I had this particular “Twilight Zone” Christmas episode on my top 25 Christmas specials list last year and a lot of that has to do with the Santa featured here. This is a very tragic and down beat Santa but he’s also one of the most thoughtful and charitable Santa’s I’ve ever seen. This guys determination to give to the need and destitute is just so admirable and joyful, despite coming from a unique source. I highly recommend looking up this fantastic episode from this even more fantastic TV series, so you can view one of the greatest Santa’s of all time.
3. Santa Clause from “Miracle on 34th Street” (The Original)
This is perhaps the most famous Santa on my list, which is no surprise, considering that he comes from the most famous Santa Clause themed movies. In this film, Edmund Gwenn plays Chris Cringle and the brilliance of this film is that we never know for sure if he’s the real Santa or just a kind old man who believes he’s Santa. However, when you see this guy do what he does, there’s absolutely no doubt in your mind that he’s the genuine article. This is the movie that made Santa feel the most human and relatable, and it’s Edmund Gwenn’s performance that makes the character feel all the more real. Even though this isn’t my absolute favorite portrayal of Santa, he’s still one of the absolute best and for all the right reasons.
2. Santa Clause from “Ernest Saves Christmas”
Now I’m not going to argue that this isn’t a stupid movie, it is for the most part. However, the Santa Clause in this film played by the late Douglas Seale is an absolute gem. This is perhaps the most joyful Santa Clause of all time, and by that, I mean he’s an instant joy to watch. Every time he’s on screen, you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Every time he chuckles, or gives a simplistic speech, it can make anyone’s small heart grow three sizes. It’s one of those performances where I never see an actor delivering memorized lines, it genuinely feels like Santa, right there in the flesh. If you think this movie is stupid, that’s perfectly understandable, if you think Ernest is stupid, that’s especially understandable, but if you think this portrayal of Santa Claus is stupid, then you just don’t know Christmas.
1. Santa Clause from “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994)
When it comes to different variations of Santa Clause, my personal favorite is this one, played by Sir Richard Attenborough. He is just the kindest, sweetest old man that just embodies the spirit of the holiday. He’s also very sophisticated and dignified, which balances off his magical charm and persona perfectly. I especially love his presentation, the design of his costume is beautifully detailed and his smile is simply contagious. He simply embodies everything jolly, wholesome and dignified that you’d expect to see in a rendition of Santa Clause and for that, he’s my personal favorite.