7 Most Popular On-Screen Santas: Ranked
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7 Most Popular On-Screen Santas: Ranked

From the least to the most jolly–who made the cut?

7 Most Popular On-Screen Santas: Ranked

The snow-white beard, the radiant red suit, and the ever-so-jolly big belly. We're all nostalgically familiar with the distinct features of Santa Claus–but how many men have truly embodied Santa's genuine character? We've all seen the sad beardless bell-ringing Santas outside stores and the mall Santas that are usually lacking in personality. But what about the on-screen Santas, the ones featured in our favorite Christmas movies? I decided to rank my least-to-most favorite on-screen Santas, from the jolly to the not-so-jolly.

7. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" Santa

First, I want to say I find it disturbing that a movie exists in which the public has not definitively decided whether it's considered a Christmas or a Halloween movie. That's a bad sign right off the bat. Now let's discuss the horror that is Jack Skellington. He has all the best intentions to be Santa Claus, but he's an absolute nightmare. He delivers the worst toys to innocent children and his terrifying physique in a Santa costume has probably been present in some of your worst never-ending dreams. He's the opposite of holly or jolly.

6. "The Year Without a Santa Claus" Santa

Let me just start this one off by saying I don't understand the claymation stop-motion trend in Christmas films that occurred in the 70s. Someone has to say it–the way the characters move is creepy and unsettling. That being said, I know this film is a classic and it's many people's favorite. But you can't ignore the fact that this Santa does not live up to his name. Canceling Christmas just because he feels a little stuffy and gets a little insecure? The real Santa would never. Also, this man can visit billions of houses in one night, eat countless cookies without getting obese or dying of malnutrition, but can't fight the bacteria of a cold? Where's the logic?

5. "Elf" Santa

Alright, I hate to say it, but I've never enjoyed the "Elf" Santa. I acknowledge the fact that this movie is a classic and I love it as much as the next guy, but c'mon. This guy is not jolly. Maybe the reason this man is so not-jolly is because he's struggling to keep the public's holiday spirit alive...but still. His job is to make kids happy and eat millions of cookies in one day. He has no excuse to be as grumpy as he is.

4. "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" Santa

Another stop motion Christmas special, another subpar Santa Claus. This guy wants to cancel Christmas because of a little bad weather? This man is supposed to be super human, delivering billions of the perfect gifts for each child around the world, and he feels defeated by fog? Don't get me wrong, I get that this is supposed to highlight Rudolph's ability to save Christmas, but I just can't accept a Santa that gives up so easily. Where's your Christmas spirit, big guy?

3. "The Polar Express" Santa

This film is a cinematic masterpiece, and not one Christmas season has passed where I haven't watched it at least twice. C'mon, Tom Hanks, featuring Tom Hanks, featuring Tom Hanks, etc, etc, etc. It's a classic. Tom Hanks as Santa is one of his smallest roles in the movie, however. He only appears for a brief time, even though the entire movie basically revolves around the kids wanting to see him. But I do appreciate the fact that his brief presence is absolutely magical, and that his absence is meant to show that even though he's not always visible, having faith in him is what's important.

2. "Miracle On 34th Street" Santa

How can you not love this guy? Apart from his facial hair (which is slightly lacking) he's a great Santa. He's so genuine and he really embodies the kindness and warmth of Santa. And if you tell me you didn't tear up during the scene of him signing to the little deaf girl that sits on his lap, you're probably lying.

1. "The Santa Clause" Santa

I may be a little biased in declaring Tim Allen as the best on-screen Santa, since this is my favorite Christmas movie of all time, but you can't deny the excellence of his Santa portrayal. First of all, this movie is a gem. Scott Calvin's initial dry humor and hilarious sarcasm in his scrooge-like pre-Santa character is gold. Then, watching him transform from that into the jolliest and most joyful Santa there ever was with the help of his adorable son (and watching the actors' characters develop in the sequels) is priceless. I will never get tired of watching the movies in this trilogy. Thank you, Tim Allen, for providing young me with an official face to the name of Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and don't forget to be mindful of which movie Santas are your favorite.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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