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Western Animation / Christmas Cracker

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Christmas Cracker is a 1963 animated short film that despite being only nine minutes long needed four directors: Grant Munro, Jeff Hale, Gerald Potterton, and Norman Mc Laren. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It is three short bits of animation linked around the theme of Christmas. In the first, two cut-out animation figures dance to the tune of "Jingle Bells". (The characters as drawn rather strongly resemble how South Park drew Canadians 35 years or so later, which can't be a coincidence.) The second involves a bunch of Christmas toys (presumably they're Christmas toys, actually there isn't a clear connection to Christmas) running around fighting and racing and having a rodeo. The third, really the only one with a semblance of a plot, involves a man looking for a star for his Christmas tree. The three segments are linked by interludes where a cheerful clown introduces each in turn.


See it for yourself on the NFB's Youtube channel.


  • Art Shift: The three segments are done in three different styles—clip art, stop motion, and traditional 2-D cel. And the linking segments with the clown are live action.
  • Aside Glance: The man in the third segment succeeds in plucking the star from the sky, taking it back to earth, and bringing it to his home. But the moment he opens the box, the star flies out and shoots back up into space. The man looks right at the camera and shrugs.
  • Clip-Art Animation: How the first segment is done, with paper cut-outs animated.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: The happy clown who dances around and introduces each segment.
  • Steampunk: The man in the third segment builds quite the steam punk spaceship to go into space and get the star. It has gears, it has analog clock faces, it has steam vents. And his little shuttlecraft is somehow driven by a propeller.
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  • Star of Bethlehem: Well, there aren't three wise men following the star to Jesus. But the star does twinkle brightly in star of Bethlehem fashion, and it is a Christmas cartoon.
  • Stop Motion: The second segment has all the toys animated in stop motion.
  • White Void Room: In the third segment, the interior of the man's house is a white void.