How Animated Movies Shaped Our Perception About Santa

23 December 2023    |   by Radhika Dhiman   |   Santa's Evolution

Santa Claus, the jolly old man with a white beard, red suit, and a sack full of gifts, has been a beloved figure in our hearts for generations. However, the modern image of Santa that we know and love today has undergone a fascinating evolution, largely influenced by animated movies. These films have not only entertained us but also played a crucial role in shaping and solidifying our perception of Santa Claus. In this blog, we'll take a journey through time and explore how animated movies have contributed to the evolution of Santa.

1. The Early Days (1922): Santa Claus Debuts on Film

A long time ago, around the early 1900s, people started making animated movies, and guess who made an appearance? Santa Claus! An animator named Winsor McCay was one of the first people to bring him to life. In 1922, McCay created a short film called "Santa Claus."

In this old-school animation, Santa looked like the classic, friendly grandpa we all know. He wasn't just a gift-giver; he was kind and generous like a superhero. Picture Santa Claus with a bright smile, a twinkle in his eyes, and a hearty chuckle who makes everyone feel warm and joyful. This animated Santa wasn't a one-time occurrence; he set the track for all of the animated Santas we see today.

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): A Shining Nose and a Heartwarming Story

Back in 1964, a time when really cool movie came out called "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and it showed us a Santa Claus that's stuck in our hearts. This Santa had red cheeks that looked like he just had a good laugh, a belly that jiggled like a bowl full of jelly, and a big, happy laugh that made everyone feel warm inside. Through this movie, an image of Santa has been created in our>
So now, when we think of Santa during the holidays, we think of this jolly guy with rosy cheeks and a big belly. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" helped make this traditional Santa the one we all know and love. It's like a warm and fuzzy memory that returns every Christmas, making us all feel the joy of the season.

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970): The Origin Story

In 1970, there was this awesome animated Christmas movie called "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" made by Rankin/Bass Productions. During the holidays, everyone gets excited about Santa Claus, and this is the story of how he became that famous figure.

So, there's this guy named Kris Kringle, and he starts as a really nice toymaker, making toys for kids. Then, as the story goes on, he turns into the Santa Claus we all know today, with the red suit, white beard, and all the jolly vibes. Everyone loves this show because it makes us happy and explains how Santa came to be the special part of Christmas that we all love. It makes people feel good, like a Christmas magic story.

4. The Polar Express (2004): A Magical Adventure of Belief

In 2004, there was this cool movie called "The Polar Express," which is based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg.It's about a magical train ride to the North Pole. Plus, they used cool tech to bring the figures to life, which makes it even cooler!

The narrative is told through the perspective of a young boy who travels on this strange train. As we watch, we can feel how strong it is to believe in something wonderful, like the magic of Christmas. The film tells us how important it is to believe in ourselves and use our imaginations, effectively capturing the spirit of the holiday season. It's like a magical, joyful journey!

5. Arthur Christmas (2011): The Modern Santa

In this Aardman Animations film, Santa is portrayed as a superhero in a high-tech operation run by the Claus family. The film shows a modern Santa who values family and understands how to deal with today's issues.

That's not all, "Arthur Christmas" is funny and sweet, and it gives us a new way to think about Santa in the modern world. It's like they updated Santa to be even cooler and more relatable. This movie will show you Santa in a whole new way.

6. Klaus (2019): The Cultural Santa

Now, let's look at "klaus" from 2019! A fresh take on Santa's origin myth, presenting an alternate scenario that goes into the tradition of gift-giving. The movie not only had beautiful 2D animation, but it also changed Santa's personality and gave him more meaning.

Storytelling can change how we think about a famous person, as the movie "Klaus" shows. His character becomes more real in the movie by giving him more depth. So, if you want to see Santa freshly and understand how stories can change how we see him, Klaus is the one to check out!


From hand-drawn animation to today's modern technology, animated movies have shaped our perception of Santa Claus. Each film adds a unique layer into the Santa's character and ensuring his place in the hearts of audiences of all ages. As we enjoy these timeless masterpieces, let us recall the enchantment and wonder they bring to the holiday season and Santa's joy and kindness. Whether you prefer the traditional animations or the more current adaptations, these films have left an everlasting imprint on how we see Santa Claus. As you snuggle up with loved ones this holiday season, view these animated masterpieces that shaped Santa.

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