The Year Without a Santa Claus: A Stop-Motion Classic

Released in 1974, “The Year Without a Santa Claus” is a fairly old stop motion movie. When the viewers approach Mrs. Claus, she begins to recount the year Santa Claus almost took a year off to them. She tells them that a few days before Christmas, Santa Claus was diagnosed with pneumonia by the North Pole doctor. While receiving treatment, Santa was told by the doctor that nobody cares about Christmas anymore, and that he should stay home. Feeling dejected, Santa decided to take the doctor’s advice and take the year off. Mrs. Claus decided to send two elves, Jingle and Jangle, into the world to prove people still care about him. After deciding that having it snow would raise Christmas cheer in the town they went to, Mrs. Claus and the elves go to the Miser brothers. The Miser brothers are Snow Miser, who controls Earth’s cold weather, and Heat Miser, who controls Earth’s warm weather, to ask them to make it snow in Southtown.

The movie only shows two elves, Jingle and Jangle, working on making presents for children. The movie is made in stop motion, so it would be a lot harder for animators if they had to show more elves. However, it seems strange that there were only two elves shown.

Jingle and Jangle have no common sense. They took the youngest reindeer, and the only reindeer that they were falling off of, Vixen, and rode on her back as she flew to Southtown. After finding out that Jingle and Jangle took Vixen into the world, Santa went after her because he knew that she couldn’t handle the temperature outside of the North Pole. Obviously, for the story, they needed a reason to drag Santa out into the world so that he could see that some people did believe in him. However, it’s annoying to have such an obvious descision to avoid making be the reason why Santa had to follow them.

The reindeer are different ages in the movie. Vixen was extremely young when Jingle and Jangle rode her to Southtown, practically a baby. It’s not that strange that the ages are so different, considering that the reindeer must eventually pass away or get too old to pull his sleigh. It is jarring, however, to imagine a full-grown, healthy reindeer and a baby reindeer pulling a sleigh together.

Mrs. Claus could have delivered the presents for Santa. She had an entire musical number about making sure people only saw her from behind. If she had decided to deliver the presents, her plan could have worked if she had just been cautious. During her musical number she dressed up in Santa’s outfit, and it was shown that Jingle and Jangle thought she was Santa until she turned to face them, which further proves her plan could have worked.

The Miser brothers are some of the best characters in “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” They are incredibly dramatic, seeing as both Heat Miser and Snow Miser sang a song to introduce themselves. Mrs. Claus seemed to find them and their songs endearing, while Jingle and Jangle found them terrifying. The Miser brothers also have an incredibly realistic sibling dynamic, with them having petty feuds every time they interact.

While many aspects of “The Year Without a Santa Claus” are annoying, it isn’t all bad. It was enjoyable to see the story unfold, and the songs sung in the movie sound fantastic. It’s also enjoyable to see a stop-motion movie, as the animation styles are always so different. Overall, it is a fun movie, but I doubt it would become anyone’s favorite.