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Top Ten: Iconic Santas of Christmas

artwork by Stephanie Carreto

Jenna Harper, Features Editor

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Pop culture has managed to shape and influence the way we view the world, especially in terms of our significant and long-honored holidays and their traditions. Christmas, the king of holidays, and Santa Claus, the king of holiday icons, have been portrayed over the years by perhaps dozens of men, but how would you ever choose the best ones? Below we’ve narrowed it down to the top ten best iconic Santa Clauses.

10.) Coca Cola Santa– The only Santa on this list that has not been played by an actor, the Coca Cola Santa from the holiday commercials of the big brand soda company is one for the pop culture history books. Illustrated by Haddon Sundblom, this Santa has been an iconic holiday figure since 1958, and will always hold a special spot in our Christmas-loving hearts.

9.) Alec Baldwin The Santa from the 2012 Rise of the Guardians holiday film was a character heard of ‘round the US. Not only does Baldwin voice an archetypal hipster version of Santa, he’s also snarky, sassy, and unbelievably cheeky, bringing copious amount of laughter and a twist to the King of Christmas.

8.) Paul Frees Frosty the Snowman, was alive as he could be… as alive as this actor was jolly! Playing Santa in the 2001 Frosty The Snowman film (and the doctor in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town), we’ll never get over Frees’ jolly rendition of the classic character, especially when he lets Frosty live at the North Pole with him.

7.) Tom Hanks Ah, the beloved Polar Express. This story has been around since the mid – ‘80s, watched every Christmas since its movie release in 2004 …and as for the film’s Santa, never forgotten. The beloved (and somewhat unexpected) Tom Hanks voiced not only Santa, but also the conductor, narrator, hero boy, and the hero boy’s father. Iconography at its finest.

6.) David HuddlestonDavid Huddleston, in The 1985 Santa Claus: The Movie, which combines the plot of the first and second The Santa Claus films, is the spitting image of a stereotypical Santa Claus. From his fluffy white beard, his jolly red nose, and his big round tummy that shakes like a belly full of jelly, Huddleston sets the Santa bar real high.

5.) Stan FrancisRudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide his sleigh tonight? The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie has been around since our parents were children, 1968 to be exact. It’s safe to say that Stan Francis’ voice portrayal of Santa is something that no one has ever, or will ever, get tired of.

4.) Ed Asner What could there possibly be left to say of Asner’s performance of Santa in the 2003 Elf? Only the best of things. This Santa-centered story, and Asner’s elderly sense of humor and wisdom, really makes the movie the comedic masterpiece that it is.

3.) Billy Bob Thornton– Billy Bob Thornton is… Bad Santa. Playing a drunken and crotchety mall Santa, Thornton breathes new life and gives the utmost darkly comedic twist to the character. Thornton’s foul-mouthed, unkempt, and unruly execution of Santa Claus is exactly the comedic relief one needs during the stress of the holiday season.

2.) Edmund GwennGwenn is the icon to end all icons in terms of a classic Santa. The 1947 Miracle on 34th Street is without a doubt one of the most revered Christmas movies, and Gwenn’s rendition of Kris Kringle is one of  the reason why. One cannot put into words how his time-honorewd execution of the character is one to never be forgotten.

1.) Tim Allen– Tim Allen is the Santa Claus of our generation. He is witty, joyful, and somehow manages to be classic all while still bringing a new spin to the classic character. Portraying Santa in the 1994 film The Santa Claus and its two succeeding films, Allen will always be the Santa we remember. Whenever the Christmas season comes along, our minds will team with scenes of Allen morphing into Santa, with a jolly red nose and belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.

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Top Ten: Iconic Santas of Christmas