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5 Awesome Animated Santas

Santa Clause. Father Christmas. Old Saint Nick. Chris Cringle. Whatever your preferred name is for the tubby fellow with the fluffy white beard and red ensemble, he is indelibly linked with the festive season. There have been countless different interpretations of this figure in popular culture over the years, and animation is no exception. So as his big day approaches, AFA takes a look at some of the most memorable takes on Santa to appear in animation. We made a list. We checked it twice.

North (Rise Of The Guardians)

In DreamWorks Animation's ace but underseen "Holiday Avengers" movie Rise Of The Guardians, (from director Peter Ramsey) Santa is a badass. A towering figure with "Naughty" and "Nice" tattooed on his arms, North is one Clause you don't want to mess with.  He is the leader of the Guardians- which also includes The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and The Sandman- who are tasked with protecting the world's children from the Boogie Man.  Voiced by an almost unrecognisable Alec Baldwin sporting a gruff Russian accent, North steals the show- which is no mean feat when you have Hugh Jackman playing the Easter Bunny.

Robot Santa (Futurama)

In the year 3000, Christmas Eve (now known simply as Xmas) is no joke. It's become infamous as the time when the robotic Santa goes on the rampage. Designed to dispense presents to good children, he went haywire and decided that everyone was on the naughty list, and decided to punish them. He even inspired a song sung to the tune of Santa Clause is coming to town: 
"You'd better not breathe, you'd better not move!
You're better off dead, I'm telling you dude!
Santa Clause is gunning you down"

Grandsanta (Arthur Christmas)

In Aardman's inspired version of Christmas, Santa Clause is a title passed down the generations, and currently held by Malcom Claus, voiced by Jim Broadbent and the father of the titular Arthur (James McAvoy). The film, therefore, has a whole family of Santas, also including Hugh Laurie's slick and business-like Steve Clause. Best of all though is the cranky old Grandsanta, who hung up his Santa hat many years ago. Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) doesn't have much truck with the modernised, slick delivery service employed by his successors, and ultimately he teams up with great grandson to save both the day and the family business itself, with nothing but his rickety old sleigh and the spirit of Christmas.

Father Christmas (Father Christmas)

This 1991 British TV special adapted is from the books written by Raymond Briggs, author of The Snowman. The story follows what Father Christmas (the traditional British name for Santa) does to occupy himself the rest of the year, when he's not delivering presents. This version of the big man is a down-to-earth, slightly grumpy old man, spending his off days in a normal suburban house in the UK. When the short was screened in the US it was redubbed and re-edited to make him more cheerful and to sand off the rough edges- scenes of the character getting drunk and going dancing were apparently considered too much for American children.

You can aslo actually see the whole thing in full on YouTube (completely legally) right here.

Noel (Santa Company)

Santa Company is a charming anime short from Kenji Itoso, set at the North Pole where the Santa Company works tirelessly to make every Christmas special. In this there are a large number of Santas, delivering presents. Noel is a trainee tonttu (elf) at the company, and she has been threatened with sacking if she doesn't graduate by Christmas. When a Christmas list comes in too late, Noel and her friends  "borrow" a leftover sleigh (pulled by a grumpy, human-hating reindeer called Rudolph III) to try and make sure that last child gets her present, proving that she is a true Santa at heart.