My favorite Christmas special is, and has always been, the 1974 stop motion The Year Without a Santa Claus. The story, basically a classic at this point, follows the story of Santa Claus discovering that the spirit of Christmas is eternal. Along the way, Santa and his elves come across two supernatural weather-controlling beings by the names of Snow Miser and Heat Miser. These miser brothers control the weather, the snow and heat respectively.
The miser brothers act as the antagonists of the movie, indirectly placing Santa’s reindeer Vixen, the North Pole, and even the spirit of Christmas in danger. However, through the power of their fear-inducing mother, Mother Nature, they are able to resolve their differences and save Christmas.
For some reason, I really enjoy these two characters. There’s something about them that is so evil yet genuinely funny. They are villains whose response to ruining a holiday is to perform a song and dance. Along with that, I think they both portray the double sided nature of evil. Heat Miser is loud and angry. He is short and hot, and he emits a bright color. Everything about him screams. He is typical “heavy metal” in-your-face evil. Snow Miser, on the other hand, is a totally different type of evil. Instead of being loud and in-your-face, he is mild and somber. However, like a James Bond villain, he talks with a certain suave and charm that seems to be polite. If you just listened to his tone, you’d think he was being a charming hero. However, when you actually listen to the content of what he says, you realize he’s actually being quite devilish.
Although I identify both of these characters as the antagonists of the film, the film almost treats them differently. After all, it is a Christmas movie, and as a result, coldness is held on a pedestal whereas heat is almost associated with evil. It is the cold that ends up saving the day after all. As a child watching this film, I think I even misunderstood that Heat Miser was against everyone whereas Snow Miser was trying to help everyone. Today now, I understand that they are both antagonistic characters. With all of that said though, I don’t think the two of them are meant to represent raw evil. Rather, they actually are simply symbols of conflict, and their mother represents resolution. In a way, it’s a simple message, but it is nice to know that all Christmas stories end up with resolution.