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Filmotomy Christmas Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 14

Best Alternate Santa

We all know and love the endless parade of Christmas films that present us with the classic interpretation of Santa Claus. The jolly, old man with the big white beard and an even bigger belly has been seen on-screen dozens and dozens of times over the past few decades. Yawn. Back in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas presented a bold new incarnation of Father Christmas to shake the Christmas genre up and gift us with a deliciously alternative cinematic Santa.

Alright, alright. Jack Skellington technically isn’t Santa Claus, so declaring him the “best alternate Santa” might be a bit of a stretch, but he sure does try his darndest to steal the mantle from the big man himself. With his heart entirely in the right place, the beleaguered Pumpkin King of Halloween Town achingly wants a piece of the Christmas season for himself. And who could blame him?


After years of being surrounded by all the monsters and ghouls of your nightmares, the snow-covered delights of Christmas Town offer Jack the chance to experience something entirely different. Swept up by the infectious joy of Christmas, Jack can’t help but yearn to lead this bright celebration.

His plan to kidnap “Sandy Claws” and take over his duties may sound terribly dastardly, but Jack’s intentions are noble, albeit a little selfish. But his wide-eyed (well, wide-eyed sockets) expressions at discovering the magic of the Christmas season make him the perfect Santa substitute. Who better to pilot this holiday than someone who adores everything about it?


Reminding us of our earliest experiences with the festive season (you know, before it all became so horribly exhausting and stressful) when everything about Christmas provided nothing but endless delights, Jack Skellington is the eternal optimist we need this time of year.

So, this holiday season, forget watching It’s a Wonderful Life or A Miracle on 34th Street and instead embrace the deliciously macabre alternate Santa Claus found within The Nightmare Before Christmas.

by Doug Jamieson


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