I love Santa Claus is all his incarnations but the version that Rankin & Bass brings to life in the TV special, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, is hands down my favorite. This was their take on the origins of Santa Claus and attempts to answer questions concerning many aspects of the Santa Claus legend.
The story begins in Sombertown, a depressing village where everything is grey and dark. Santa is introduced as a baby who is left at the door of Burgermeister Meisterburger, the ruler of the town. He quickly sends the foundling baby to the orphanage but a strong storm, and some helpful animals, sends the baby to the other side of the Mountains of the Whispering Winds instead. He is then found by a family of elves named Kringle and they adopt him and name him Kris.
Kris grows up to be a fine young man and vows to restore the Kringles as the toy makers to the king. Tante Kringle, the queen of the family, gives Kris his own Kringle suite (hence the red/white outfit) and sends Kris off with a bag of toys for the kids of Sombertown. Unknown to them however is the new rule by the Meisterburger outlawing all toys.
Kris quickly learns the lay of the land from the children and the school teacher, Miss Jessica. He quickly wins them over and fun begins anew. The rest of the movie tells the story of how the toys keep getting taken away and the new tricks Kris comes up with to deliver them to the children (chimneys and stockings to hide them in come into play).
Eventually Kris is named an outlaw and is forced to run away with Jessica, the Kringles, and a few other friends including his newly flying reindeer. He grows a beard to hide his appearance and the Tante informs Kris of the name tag around his neck when he was born that named him Claus. The find there way to the North Pole and set up shop there.
The rest is history.
I love this movie, when I watch it I feel like a kid again. It brings me back to that place where I believed in all the magic of Christmas, when Santa Claus was still real and I would stress about how he would deliver presents when we didn't have a chimney. Now I'm allowed to share this with my son and when we watch it together I can see the wonder and joy in Aidan's eyes and I find myself wondering if maybe Santa Claus is really real. He is in my heart and the heart of millions of children.