Holiday Highway: Top 5 Christmas Movies Without Santa Claus

Written by Leo Panasyuk December 23, 2012

Santa_listAh, Christmas. That jolly time of the year when sleigh bells ring through the air, red and green lights turn streets into potential airplane runways and egg nog flies off the shelves as if it had wings. Perhaps one of the more notable parts of Christmas is the act of giving and receiving presents, with the giving coming from our friend from the North Pole, Santa Claus. But while we see Santa in almost every Christmas movie ever made, there are still those few that decide to shine the spotlight on someone other than the big guy in red. And so, here are my top five Christmas movies without Santa Claus.

5) “Die Hard” (1988)

Not exactly the Christmas John McClane expected.

Not exactly the Christmas John McClane expected.

While many viewers focus on the action of “Die Hard”, many overlook the fact that it’s set during the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas. Now while the movie has terrorists, douchey FBI agents named Johnson (clearly on the naughty list) and a sharply-dressed Alan Rickman squaring off against a bare-footed Bruce Willis, what it doesn’t have is Santa. I guess he got the memo that everyone in Nakatomi Plaza was on the naughty list. All in all, this is one Christmas movie that’s sure to replace the traditional jovial “ho-ho-ho” with a raucous “yipee-ki-yay!”

4) “This Christmas” (2007)

'I wonder what this'll be... maybe a script that'll win me an Oscar?...'

‘I wonder what this’ll be… maybe a script that’ll win me an Oscar?…’

With a cast as star-studded as the night sky on Christmas Eve, you’d think “This Christmas” would make some room for Santa. But no. Seems like Santa couldn’t even make a cameo appearance or send an elf emissary. But what this movie lacks in Santa it makes up for in warm, holiday cheer… and Idris Elba.

3) “Dr. Seuss’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas'” (2000)

That look is enough to steal anyone's Christmas.

That look is enough to steal anyone’s Christmas.

If there was any movie on this list that desperately needed Santa, it would be this one. But alas, Santa is nowhere to be seen while the mean Grinch parades around like Ebenezer Scrooge, ‘ba-humbug-ing’ up everyone’s Christmases because of his small heart. But I guess in the end what this movie shows is that you don’t always need Santa to make Christmas complete.

2) “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

The quintessential Christmas movie.

The quintessential Christmas movie.

One of the most beloved films of all time just so happens to be a Christmas film… without Santa! With a story that’s been parodied, re-enacted and created into satire numerous times, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a story that shows that Santa need not always be present during the yuletide season. Sometimes, it’s the people around us who make Christmas as special as it is.

1) “A Christmas Carol” (2009)

Why so bah-humbug?

Why so bah-humbug?

Some, if not many, may be surprised that Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – one of the most popular Christmas stories – doesn’t feature Santa! Instead, the story focuses on the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge who, when visited by three ghosts, changes his ways and becomes a bright, happy person. The story has been told and re-told countless times throughout the years since the very first film adaptation in 1901. And while St. Nick may be left out of this particular story, its conclusion nevertheless puts the ‘merry’ back in ‘merry Christmas’.

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About Leo Panasyuk

A fan of all things film, Leo never really lets himself get tied down to one specific genre. He's always interested in watching new and old films and especially loves the IMAX format. When he's not choosing which movie to watch next, he's studying Film and English at Western University.

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