The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

year without a santa claus dvd 1974 review
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

The Heat and Snow Miser

Story doesn't make much sense and drags

TV Show Info

TV Show Name:  The Year Without a Santa Claus

Studio:  Rankin/Bass Productions

Genre(s):  Animated/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 10, 1974

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Don’t be sad that we serve no purpose except time filler, Vixen

When his doctor orders him to slow down, Santa decides to take Christmas off.  Now, Mrs. Claus and Jingle, Jangle, and Vixen must prove to Santa that he is needed by the world.  With the town of South Town as the battlefront, Jingle, Jangle, and Mrs. Claus learn that only by bringing snow to town will convince people of Santa’s power…and to do that, there must be an agreement between the Miser Brothers…Heat Miser and Snow Miser…to save Christmas.

Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, The Year Without a Santa Claus first aired on December 10, 1974 on ABC.  It is based on the 1957 story by Phyllis McGinley.  The movie followed up on other Rankin/Bass productions like Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.  It aired regularly until 1980 and is still seen on cable during the holiday season.  It features the voice work of Shirley Booth, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, and George S. Irving.


My sons are really the star of this show…Santa Whom?

I honestly never got onto the whole The Year Without a Santa Claus when I was young.  It already nearing its end run on regular television when I was getting into Rudolph and Charlie Brown, and we never had cable so the chances of seeing it were slim.  Watching it now, other than the Snow Miser and Heat Miser, I don’t enjoy it much.

The story of the film is pretty basic.  Santa doesn’t want to work and everyone must prove it is necessary…which they of course do.  The story gets kind of bogged down by Jingle and Jangle on a pointless mission (really, what did they accomplish) and only picks up again when Heat Miser and Snow Miser show up…but once again that point was moot because they were only needed to make snow in South Town to free Vixen…something that Santa already did…it was kind of non-story.  The only thing that saved Christmas was Santa’s guilt when other people started giving him presents.


Screw you guys…I’m going home!

I still would watch this Christmas special or even Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (which is far worse) just because I love Rankin/Bass animation.  It puts this special above other specials, but even though, I don’t know that I’d love the special is an hour long special…but it does make it watchable.

The Year Without a Santa Claus doesn’t hold a special place for some, but it doesn’t hold much for me.  If I had seen it yearly, I might be softer to it, but by itself, it is a bit dull.  The special does have a following and was remade in 2006 as a live-action special for NBC.  The Year Without a Santa Claus also had a sequel in 2008 called A Miser Brothers’ Christmas which aired on ABC Family.

Related Links:

The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)

Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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