Comparing the Most Famous Santa Movie Beards
For centuries, Santa Claus has been easily identified by his bright red suit and snow white beard. Clement C. Moore’s poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,“ published in 1822, gives one of the earliest descriptions of Santa’s iconic beard: “And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.”
That image was reinforced by a series of drawings by cartoonist Thomas Nash in the 1860s and it became iconic thanks to Coca-Cola’s holiday advertisements throughout the mid-20th century.
The perfect Santa beard should be long, but not too crazy, snowy-white, and realistic. If it’s the beard that makes the man, which movie Santa Claus stands above the rest?
Most Famous Santa Movie Beards #1: David Huddleston, ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’ (1985)
Huddleston’s Santa Claus saves Christmas from the schemes of an evil toy maker but more importantly, he rocked a solid Santa beard. This beard is long and full, with a gently curving mustache. It gets points for realism, but it’s more of a light gray shade than Santa’s snow-white.
Check out Huddleston’s Santa beard here.
Most Famous Santa Movie Beards #2: Richard Attenborough, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1994)
It’s understandable that little Susan Walker (Mara Wilson) didn’t believe the man claiming to be Santa Claus was the real thing. His street clothes and cropped beard made him look more like anyone’s grandfather than the man from the North Pole. Portrayed by Richard Samuel Attenborough, this Santa Claus has a snowy white beard, but it’s trimmed far too close to his chin for true Santa standards.
For a better Santa beard, check out the original Miracle on 34th Street (1947). The film is in black and white so the beard color can’t be accurately judged, but Edmund Gwenn’s Kris Kringle has the length and the shaping on point. When Susan, played by a young Natalie Wood, tugs on his beard to see if it’s real, she gets a good handful to yank and is stunned to find that it’s not a costume. She also teaches Kringle to use bubble gum to blow a bubble – with disastrous effects on the realistic beard!
Most Famous Santa Movie Beards #3: Billy Bob Thornton, ‘Bad Santa’ (2003)
If Bad Santa sports a very bad fake beard, is that actually considered a good beard? Billy Bob Thornton’s beard is terrible by traditional Santa standards, but it’s perfectly fitting for this role. His natural facial hair is salt and pepper stubble, and his Santa beard is a blatant fake that often hangs down below his chin and off to the side. A terrible beard for a Bad Santa? That’s a job well done.
Check out the bad beard from this bad Santa here.
Most Famous Santa Movie Beards #4: Jeff Gillen, ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983)
The mall Santa in A Christmas Story isn’t the jolly Saint Nick Ralphie expected to meet, but his fake beard is straight from a Christmas card or a vintage Coke bottle. Jeff Gillen’s Santa Claus sports long flowing curls that cascade from under his hat all the way down his chest, and his thick eyebrows and swooping mustache match the white of his waist-length beard.
Check out Gillen’s beard here.
Most Famous Santa Movie Beards #5: Tim Allen, ‘The Santa Clause’ (1994)
When Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin acquires the sleigh and suit to turn into Santa Claus, he gets the belly and the beard to go with them. He tries to shave but the beard keeps growing back. What’s a Santa without a beard, after all? Of course, it’s not real – no one (except Santa, apparently) can grow a long, full beard that quickly – but it really transforms Allen into Santa Claus. It’s the snowy-white beard of lore, and it grows to perfect Santa softness and fullness, although in certain scenes it’s almost too wide, even for St. Nick.
Check out Allen’s growing beard here.
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