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How well do you know your Santa films?

Santa has become a big screen star, featuring in numerous movies. Storylines vary, but the theme of Christmas happiness, of a genial present giving Santa always remains the same.

We take a look at the best Santa movies of all time

Miracle on 34th Street

There have two versions of this classic, poignant story. The original story was filmed back in 1947, and the second one in 1994. When a drunken Santa creates a disturbance, an old man takes his place in the grotto at Macy’s department store in New York. He proves to be extremely successful. Calling himself Kris Kringle, he claims to be the original Santa Claus, and is determined to focus on the real meaning of Christmas amid the rampant commercialisation found in the store. As a result of his beliefs, he is locked away. A young lawyer, aided by a little girl, sets out to defend him and prove that he really is Kris Kringle.

Polar Express

One of the most enchanting and memorable Christmas films, it is totally animated production. So popular has it become, that there are now special Christmas Santa train services running on heritage lines that set out to bring this enchanted world to life.

The story is based around the adventures of a young boy, who is struggling to believe in Santa. Invited to join a magical train headed to Santa home at the North Pole on Christmas Eve, it becomes a journey of self discovery. The little boy faces unexpected challenges as the train struggles on ice covered tracks, and he helps a child who has lost his ticket. On meeting Santa, he is given a reindeer bell by Santa only to lose on his way home. The next day, he finds it under the Christmas tree. Only those who believe in Santa can hear the bell ring – a magic that remains with him all his life as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

The Grinch who Stole Christmas

Based on the famous Dr Seuss story, this fantasy film is about The Grinch, a misanthropic, bad tempered creature who hates Christmas. Every year he has to endure the Christmas celebrations that can be seen in a town near his cave. One Christmas, he decides to destroy Christmas. Dressed as Santa, he goes on the rampage around the town stealing all the presents and even the decorations from the Christmas trees. Undaunted, children find a way to celebrate Christmas putting ornaments on a big tree in the town square. Trying to push his massive sack of presents and decorations off a cliff, the Grinch discovers what has happened and realises he has failed. He discovers the joy of Christmas and learns to celebrate it with the townsfolk.

Santa Claus: The Movie

Patch, an elf working in Santa’s North Pole workshop tries to automate toy production but fails, creating only shoddy toys. Leaving the workshop in disgrace, he heads to New York and finds himself caught up in the activities of an evil toy company executive wanting to turn Christmas into a profit making business purely for his own gain. Santa Claus has to come to the rescue of both Patch and Christmas.

These are films that possess an enduring image of Santa, the red coated, well meaning Santa who is determined to bring joy and happiness to everyone. Santa always wins in the end! They are the films that evoke the spirit of Christmas, and succeed brilliantly.