“The Year Without a Santa Claus” delivers a fun and festive watch for the holidays



“The Year Without a Santa Claus” offers a fun holiday watch with elements like Snow Miser and Heat Miser.

During the holiday season, many will find themselves watching classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Behind these holiday staples was a company that a man named Jules Bass helped create. In memory of Bass, who passed away this October, we’ll look back at some of these famous works this December.

An ice man donning a sparkly blue outfit emerges, singing a self-indulgent song about how much he loves the cold. A few minutes later, another man appears, with fiery hair and a sparkling red outfit, to sing about his passion for the heat. No matter how many times I watch the Miser Brothers perform, these scenes will never get old.

“The Year Without a Santa Claus,” which Jules Bass co-directed along with Arthur Rankin Jr., was released in 1974. The television special tells the story of when Santa fell ill and decided that he would skip Christmas that year. Despite being released almost 50 years ago, it remains a staple of my holiday season.

The special follows two elves who, after Santa gets sick and has lost faith that people value him anymore, are sent by Mrs. Claus to find “Christmas spirit.” Along their journey, they encounter a number of problems. In the end, Santa discovers that “Christmas spirit” remains and decides to return from his break.

The highlight of the special is undoubtedly the Miser Brothers, Snow Miser and Heat Miser. Their appearances are stellar, with Snow Miser perfectly capturing the icy cold of winter and Heat Miser emitting fiery anger. But what makes this duo so great is their rivalry. They are polar opposites, with Snow Miser’s bubbly, eccentric personality and Heat Miser’s intense fury, which leads to many hilarious moments.

However, what makes the Miser Brothers so distinguishable are their individual songs. The songs are set to similar music with different lyrics and are endlessly catchy. Complemented by their ridiculous dance numbers, featuring mini versions of themselves as back-up singers, the songs are certainly the most memorable part of the special. Indeed, the musical numbers alone are enough to warrant a viewing.

But not only the Miser songs are amazing, as the entire soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. One of the standouts is the surprisingly emotional “I Believe in Santa Claus.” The song is sung by a boy’s family and Santa, masking his true identity, in an attempt to convince the boy that he hasn’t outgrown Santa. While the premise is childish, the song features an emotional message about maturity, which makes it a highlight.

The visuals are striking, matching the distinctive stop-motion style of other festive works by the company. In addition to the awe-inspiring Miser Brothers, Santa and Mrs. Claus stand out for their designs. Santa’s appearance manages to capture his warm and magical essence, while Mrs. Claus is able to convey a light-hearted sparkle, especially with her bright blue eyes.

“The Year Without a Santa Claus” makes for an enjoyable festive watch and, if you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend watching it this holiday season.