At number 2, we have The Year Without a Santa Claus, and, the biggest evidence of my adoration of stop motion. Why is it evidence? Because while I like plenty of Christmas specials (not just the one’s listed in these posts), this is the second highest ranking one. And to be honest, I can see where this isn’t the best of all Christmas specials. But dangit, I love it. Mickey Rooney is the voice of Santa (PERFECT!) and Shirley Booth voices the narrator, who is none other than the most under-rated character, Mrs. Claus (after Krampus) Mrs. Claus tries to motivate a sick, tired, and under-appreciated Santa into going back out there, and not just giving out toys, but, spreading Christmas cheer! Mrs. Claus sends the number one elf Jingle, and his bumbling partner/brother/homeboy (not sure…) Jangle out into the world on the back of the reindeer Vixen who is just a baby at this point in time (apparently this story predates Rudolph) in search of Christmas spirit. On their way out, they fly through the major turf-wars going on between the brothers, Heat Miser and Snow Miser.
Heat Miser blinds Vixen, and Jingle and Jangle drop off in Southtown, USA, where it doesn’t snow (let’s just call this place: San Diego). In Southtown, nobody, seems to believe in Santa Claus, including young Ignacious “Iggy” Thistlewhite (cool name!). Iggy and his school yard chums confirm the North Pole’s worst fears about people and their disbelief. Jingle and Jangle lose Vixen, and Santa ends up asking Iggy and his parents for help, where we learn’s Iggy’s ‘rents confess to being believers in Santa.
After their song/discussion about Santa, Iggy tells the undercover Santa that Vixen has been taken to the pound, where, Santa hops on the reindeer he rode in on, and flies to the pound, revealing his true self. Santa springs Vixen, and flies the sick little deer back to the North Pole—but he doesn’t get a chance to tell the elves he has done so already. Jingle, Jangle and Iggy promised Southtown’s mayor snow in exchange for Vixen’s release. Unfortunately, the elves don’t really have a way of delivering this promise, and are unsure of how to proceed. They end up calling Mrs. Claus who has an idea. She takes them all to the palace of the Snow Miser. Snow has an amazing entrance as seen here:
Mrs. Claus asks for help in bringing snow to Southtown, and upon hearing the name of the town in question, Snow flatly refuses as San Diego Southtown is strictly the turf of Snow’s step-brother Heat Miser, and that they will need to talk to him to make that happen. Sooooo it’s off to Heat Miser’s Volcanic dominion where he too has a snazzy intro:
Heat says he would be willing to compromise for Southtown to have snow if he can bring Spring to the North Pole. However neither Snow, nor Heat, are willing to budge and compromise. And so Mrs. C goes straight to their boss; their mother: Mother Nature! Mother Nature doesn’t have time for the Miser’s crap, and orders her sons to work together, and work it out. So there will be snow and summer in their respective places. Meanwhile, Santa returns to the North Pole, and sees that Mrs. Claus went to pick up the elves. Upon their return, Mrs. Claus and the elves show Santa that he was given a vacation.
This actually leads into one of my favorite scenes (after the miser songs of course) where all the kids of the world come running on screen and wrap gifts to send to Santa. I enjoy that there are children from all over the world.
After receiving the letters and gifts from the children, Santa is touched, and decides he doesn’t need a vacation, but would rather bring joy and happiness to those that adore him.
This movie became my go to Christmas movie in high school. I remember that this is when they were selling bobble heads and ornaments for it, whereas before, I could only ever find Rudolph items. I’ll admit, a HUGE portion of my love for this film is in the misers. The misers are so cool and their banter just plain old makes me smile. I also like that the movie addresses that even the happiest of people can have times when they are down, and that sometimes we put too much pressure on them. But to counter those bits, there are people that do appreciate us, and what we do. Have you seen this? Any guesses as to what number one will be? What’s your favorite stop motion feature (Christmas or not)?
Check out titles 3-10: