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Jolly Quotes From 13 of the Greatest Cinematic Santas

The image of Santa Claus as we know him today was established during the 19th century, with the help of the beloved 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and then, beginning in 1863, a series of images drawn by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly.

Just 35 years after Nast first drew him, Santa made his first appearance on film. The 1898 silent short film Santa Claus is the first known Christmas movie and contains the first on-screen appearance of jolly old St. Nick. In it, we see him going about his familiar festive duties: coming down a chimney, placing gifts in stockings, and then disappearing back through the fireplace — an extraordinary feat of technical movie wizardry at the time.

Since then, Santa Claus has played a key role in countless Christmas movies. We’ve seen him portrayed as a portly hero and a restorer of faith in magic. There have been movies based around Santa’s line of succession, and others in which he’s seemingly immortal. And in more recent years, filmmakers have tried to turn the standard Santa tropes on their head with movies such as Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Violent Night, and, of course, Bad Santa.

Here are 13 quotes from some of our favorite cinematic Santas through the years, from Christmas classics and modern masterpieces alike.

For the past 50 years or so I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.
Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) in “Miracle on 34th Street,” 1947

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From what I see now, that [nose] will cut through the murkiest storm they can dish up. What I'm trying to say is, Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?
Santa Claus (Stan Francis) in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 1964

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No, siree! We're going out the good ol’ fashioned way. Prancer and Dancer and Donder and Blitzen, and Vixen and Nixon ... oh, consarnit, I get those names mixed up, but the KIDS know their names.
Santa Claus (John Call) in “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” 1964

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’Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems, in a place perhaps you've seen in your dreams, for the story you're about to be told began with the holiday worlds of old. Now you’ve probably wondered where holidays come from. If you haven’t, I’d say it’s time you begun.
Santa (Edward Ivory) in “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” 1993

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Down the chimney? You want me to take the toys down the chimney into a strange house, in my underwear?
Scott Calvin/Santa Claus (Tim Allen) in “The Santa Clause,” 1994

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I'm not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor … I'm a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives.
Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) in “Miracle on 34th Street,” 1994

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Which is sillier? Trying to accomplish the ridiculously impossible or giving up without even trying?
Santa Claus (Edward Asner) in “The Story of Santa Claus,” 1996

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Well, there are some things you should know [about New York City]. First off, if you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn't free candy.
Santa (Edward Asner) in “Elf,” 2003

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Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.
Santa Claus (Tom Hanks) in “The Polar Express,” 2004

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What the blazes have you done? You marked every naughty child as nice! Are you out of your mind? ... We literally cannot make enough presents, with only three days left. We cannot deliver all of those presents! Do you see? It's over. Congratulations, Fred! You've cost Christmas for the whole planet!
Nick “Santa” Claus (Paul Giamatti) in “Fred Claus,” 2007

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The Santas always come through Canada. Nobody lives here. It's nice and quiet.
Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) in “Arthur Christmas,” 2011

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Christmas spirit is more powerful than you could ever imagine. People need Christmas to remind themselves of how good they can be.
Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) in “The Christmas Chronicles,” 2018

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A true selfless act always sparks another.
Klaus (J.K. Simmons) in “Klaus,” 2019

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Featured image credit: Maximum Film/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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