The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Nostalgialistic: Claymation at its finest

Exploring Christmas claymation movies of old
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Photo by Marisa Valdez

As the snow begins to fall and cover the sidewalks of campus, more days are spent inside staying warm and finding things to do.

Being someone who celebrates Christmas, a favorite activity of mine is watching old Christmas movies under a warm blanket. However, I’m not talking about the typical Hallmark movie, or even the “Home Alone” series.

The Christmas claymation movies were amazing movies to watch as a kid, that naivety helped cover up the lower budgets they had. These movies have become classics in their own right and I want to take a walk down memory lane as December creeps up on us. Beware of spoilers.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

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I had to start this deep dive with the most famous one. Rudolph, the reindeer with the shiny nose, tells the story of his rise to the top of the reindeer pyramid.

The story begins with Rudolph’s birth, where his parents discover his shiny, red nose. They cover it with mud to make him “fit in” with the rest of the young reindeer. 

Rudolph then goes out to a sort of reindeer training camp and meets with other young reindeer. There, his nose is exposed and he is ridiculed by his peers.

Rudolph decides to run away, feeling unfit to be with the other reindeer. He meets up with Hermey the Misfit Elf who isn’t good at making toys, he instead wants to be a dentist.

Did I mention these movies are musicals? They sing a song about being misfits and run away together. Soon they meet up with a prospector named Yukon Cornelius who is on the hunt for silver and gold, another classic bop.

The trio runs into the Abominable Snowman and escapes on a block of ice. The group, now on their own Odyssey adventure, floats to the Island of Misfit Toys. This island is the home to toys that were damaged or kids didn’t want. 

The group takes refuge there, being allowed to stay one night and in return needing to ask Santa for help finding the misfit toys’ good homes. 

Rudolph leaves the island alone, fearful that his nose will bring more harm and alert the Abominable Snowman of where they are. 

Rudolph ages off-scene, growing into a young stag and returns home. He learns that his parents and love interest from childhood have been kidnapped while searching for him. 

Rudolph finds them in the Abominable Snowman’s cave and tries to get them out, but fails. Then Hermey and Cornelius appear to help Rudolph. They help lure the snowman out of the cave and knock him out.

Hermey pulls out his teeth so he can’t bite anyone and Yukon pushes him to the cliff, eventually falling off alongside the snowman.

The rest of the group eventually heads home, where everyone apologizes to Rudolph. Then Yukon comes back with a domesticated snowman whose bouncing ability saved them both. 

Santa then comes and says he has to cancel Christmas because of a snowstorm until Rudolph’s nose gives him an idea.

Overall, this is a classic movie that is all fun and games. It’s wacky and corny and that’s what makes it perfect for a cozy night in.

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

This movie is the Santa Claus origin story that nobody knew they needed. This movie answers questions around Santa’s name, knowing who’s naughty or nice, the elves and why he lives in the North Pole. It all boils down to him being a criminal.

The movie opens in Sombertown, run by Mayor Burgermeister Meisterburger. A baby is left at his doorstep with the name Claus written on a tag. The mayor sends him away to the orphanage asylum. However, the sled the guard carries the baby in snaps free and flies into the forest.

The animals find the baby and bring it to the Kringles, a family of toymakers. They raise the baby as Kris Kringle. He learns how to make toys from his family and the animals teach him to jump, climb and laugh. 

As he becomes a man, he decides to take the toys the Kringles make across the mountain to Sombertown. However, the mayor has just banned toys as a result of tripping on one and breaking his leg. 

When Kris gets there, he is scolded by Jessica the schoolteacher. She tells him it is illegal, but is won over by Kris when he gives her a doll. Kris is then chased out of town for bringing toys.

Kris runs into the forest where he meets the Winter Warlock. Kris wins him over by giving him a toy train. The Warlock teaches Kris to use a magic snowball to watch over the children and tell if they are bad or good. 

Then, with the help of Jessica, Kris sneaks into the kid’s houses to give them toys. When the mayor finds out he creates mandatory searches and seizures each morning to look for toys. Kris gets around this by hiding the toys in the stocking hung by the fire to dry.

The mayor finally sets a trap for Kris, sending soldiers to arrest the Kringles and the Warlock while he waits in a house until Kris appears. They are all arrested and taken to jail.

Jessica, after having a Gabriella Monetz song about finding herself, goes to the Warlock for help to get them out. He tells her all he has is some magic feed corn. She feeds the corn to the reindeer to help them fly, and they all fly on the backs of the reindeer and escape to the North Pole.

Jessica and Kris are married and take the Claus name to be less suspicious. They build a home in the north pole and continue their work giving gifts to children everywhere.

This movie sets out to solve all of Santa’s mysteries, creating a wacky plotline that is fun to laugh at.

I recommend looking into more of these claymation Christmas movies. They are nostalgic from reruns every Christmas, but there is a certain magic to watching them as adults and making fun of the plotlines. A magical time.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Cade Fisher, News Editor
Cade Fisher is a third-year communications and creative writing student. This is his fourth semester at The Spectator and his second as news editor. In his free time, he enjoys rollerblading, reading and being anxious about anything that comes his way.
Marisa Valdez, Graphic Designer
Marisa Valdez is a second-year graphic design and multimedia communication student. This is her first semester on the Spectator team. She is active in the University Honors Program and UWEC InterVarsity. Additionally, she is employed at UW-Eau Claire's Learning Technology Services (LTS) as well as Printing Services. When she's not engaged in academic-related activities, she loves to crochet, watch movies, talk with close friends, hammock, hike, practice yoga, dance or read!

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