The time that Santa Claus: The Movie invented Christmas


In 1984, December 25th was a drab day. Cold and dark, people all over the world struggled through the weather to get to work or school with no hope of joy or fun until Spring.

However, in Hollywood a film was being made that would change winter for ever, because it was going to invent a wonderful new winter holiday called Christmas.

That film was Santa Claus: The Movie, and December 25th would never be the same again.

“I guess I just wanted something that would brighten up people’s view of winter,” said director Jeannot Szwarc in a 1989 Wogan interview.

“It’s like Star Wars. You know, before 1977, people just thought space was a dark airless void, and then, when George Lucas’ great movie came along, space became this tremendously fun place with robots and spaceships and really, really dramatic music.”

“I wanted to do the same thing for winter, but with less robots and spaceships and more elves and jolly fat men.”

So Jeannot and his team set about constructing a complex mythology based around a big toy factory in the North Pole .

“I genuinely thought it would just make for a fun, diverting little film to cheer up a boring winter’s day in December.”

“I had no idea it would catch on like this.”

Sure enough, Santa Claus: The Movie changed everything. The film was a phenomenon and so was the holiday of Christmas that it introduced.

“Yes, it was lovely to have invented Christmas,” said star Dudley Moore in a 1996 Wogan interview.

“I think it was 1987 I realised how big it had become when the actual Queen of England gave a special Christmas speech. All because of our film. That was really quite something.”

Since the film came out, Christmas has gone on to be a favourite time of year for old and young across the world.

So, remember, when you’re binge-drinking yourself into a stupor in front of a mediocre James Bond film, you wouldn’t be there at all if not for a little film called Santa Claus: The Movie.