It’s December 6th and still no snow. I am very sad. But today is St. Nick’s Day! Of course, I didn’t get a chance to do anything special for Nate because the last couple of times I went to town, he was with me. Ah well.
In honor of St Nicholas’s Day, I am going to post my favorite books and movies about St. Nick or Santa Claus. Really, they are one and the same, but did you know that St. Nicholas was a real person? He was born in the city of Patara (in modern day Turkey) circa 270 AD and died on December 6th, 343 AD. So we commemorate his death day, which is typical of most saints in the church. You can read more about him here at Wikipedia. There are also many other resources such as Catholic websites with lists of saints. He was a fascinating figure. How he morphed into Santa Claus is a much more involved tale. There are many books which speculate on this subject, of course, in the form of a novel or biography. And that brings me to my list. (Each picture is linked to Amazon.com.)
1. The Legend of Holly Claus, by Brittany Ryan.
(This is one of my favorite feel-good Christmas novels of all time. Just read it. You’ll be so happy that you did.)
2. The Autobiography of Santa Claus, as told to Jeff Guinn.
(I actually just read this the other day. It’s probably one of the best (and magical) explanations of how Nicholas became Santa Claus.)
3. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)
(Stop-motion animation is some of the coolest around. Also, this heart-warming musical tale is fun for the whole family. Especially as it’s only an hour long! Granted, this particular legend of Santa Claus has absolutely nothing to do with the real St. Nicholas, but it’s awesome just the same.)
4. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
(I would guess this is essentially a sequel to the previous movie. At any rate, this one is definitely my favorite of all the stop-motion Christmas classics. Maybe it’s the Miser brothers; I don’t know. I grew up watching all of these films, and this one definitely stands out in my memory.)
5. Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas, by Hisako Aoki (Author) and Ivan Gantschev (Illustrator).
(Another childhood favorite. It’s very hazy in my memory at the moment, but I do recall being very happy that Santa’s favorite story was the greatest story of them all — and the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas in the first place. Even as a kid, I understood that Jesus Christ was more important than any of the legends of Santa Claus ever would be.)
6. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.
(One cannot forget the original picture book which inspired the beautiful film. I love them both.)
7. Letters from Father Christmas, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
(This really should be higher on the list. Like, at the top. Doesn’t really matter, but honestly this book is amazing. I’ve always loved Tolkien, ever since my parents read The Hobbit to me as a little girl.)
8. The Gift of Father Christmas, by D. Morgan.
(This is a rich book, if mostly for the paintings.)
9. The Santa Clause (3-movie collection).
(I wasn’t going to include these movies in my list, but then I realized I would be lying to myself about these not being some of my favorite movies about Santa! The original is, of course, the best, but all three are pretty spectacular! Oh, and hilarious.)
10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947).
(Yes, there is a newer version, but as always, I prefer the old one. This one is EXCELLENT. Just watch it. I don’t care if you have something against old movies. Watch. It.)
11. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964).
(It wouldn’t be a complete list if I didn’t include at least one totally kitschy and horrible holiday film! I’ve seen quite a few bad [and I don’t mean inappropriate, because that’s a whole different problem…eww] movies about Santa, but this one takes the cake. I was forced to watch it once, years ago, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve watched it again since and it’s hilarious because it’s so terrible. 😉 Just so you know, you might need a drink or two while watching. lol.)
So, there you have my (probably incomplete) list of favorite books and movies about Santa Claus. Note, I didn’t include Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” because everyone knows that one. 🙂
I think over the course of the next few days, I will be posting various lists. Favorite Christmas carols, favorite Christmas songs, favorite Christmas movies (unrelated to Santa, of course!), etc. I’ll try to keep them short, but you never know.
Have a Happy St. Nick’s Day and I’ll see you all tomorrow!