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The Spirit of Christmas is the name of two different animated short films made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They are notable for being precursors to the animated series South Park. To differentiate the two, they are often referred to as Jesus vs. Frosty (1992) and Jesus vs. Santa (1995). Comedy Central presented The Spirit of Christmas.


Jesus vs. Frosty

Comedy Central's 1st South Park short film. In 1992 Trey Parker and Matt Stone were good friends, but, back then, as students at the University of Colorado, they made Jesus vs. Frosty, under the "Avenging Conscience Films" moniker. They animated the film using only construction paper, glue and a very old 8 mm film camera, and premiered it at the December 1992 student film screening. The film features four children very similar in appearance to the four main characters of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but called "Kenny", a hooded boy resembling Kenny and two other boys are named Stan and Kyle.

The story depicts the four building a snowman and, in the vein of Frosty the Snowman, putting a magic hat on it to make it come to life. Unfortunately, Frosty turns out to be evil and deranged, sprouting huge tentacles and killing the Kenny-named Cartman-resembling boy by throwing him. This leads one of the boys to utter the first version of a line which recurs in countless South Park episodes: "Oh my God! Frosty killed Kenny!"

The boys go to Santa for help, but he turns out merely to be Frosty in disguise. This time, he kills the Kenny-resembling boy, again by throwing him. The two remaining boys run away, and come across a nativity scene with a baby Jesus, who flies over to the evil snowman and defeats it by slicing off the magic hat with a hurl of his halo. One of the boys says another recurring line from the South Park series: "You know, I learned something today", and he and his friend realize the purported "true" meaning of Christmas: that is, presents. As a deer nibbles on Kenny's corpse, who resembles a modern Eric Cartman, they go to their homes to find presents hidden by their parents.

This video is later referenced in episode 607 of South Park. In the episode, "Simpsons Already Did It", Stan, Kyle and Tweek are building a snowman, and Tweek is reluctant to put the nose on the snowman because he thinks it will come to life. To which Stan replies, "When has that ever happened, except for that one time?".

Jesus vs. Santa

In 1995, after seeing the Jesus vs. Frosty film, Fox executive Brian Graden paid Stone and Parker $2,000 USD to make another animated short as a video Christmas card that he could send to friends.[1][2] In turn, the duo created Jesus vs. Santa.

This version of The Spirit of Christmas features an animation style very similar to that of the eventual South Park series, as well as more developed versions of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny (each of whom are referred to by name) living in South Park. Wendy Testaburger offers an unnamed and non-speaking cameo as a child sitting on Santa's lap. The film largely establishes the characters as they are used in South Park and contains elements that recur in the series, such as Kyle being a Jew, and rats eating Kenny's corpse. The film reportedly had a budget of $750, with Parker and Stone keeping the remainder of their commission.

The story differs significantly from Jesus vs. Frosty. It opens with the four boys singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", when suddenly Stan stops to tell Kyle he should sing Hanukkah songs instead, since "Jewish people don't celebrate Christmas!" Cartman insults the song ("I Have a Little Dreidel") that Kyle begins singing, and they start to argue. They are interrupted, however, when Jesus appears, asking them to take him to the mall, where they find Santa Claus.

Jesus is angry with "Kringle" because, in his opinion, he diminishes the memory of Jesus's birthday with his presents. Santa, insistent that Christmas is a time for giving, and not merely remembering Jesus's birthday, claims that "this time" they will "finish it", and that "there can be only one". They fight in a style reminiscent of such games as Mortal Kombat, accidentally killing various bystanders, including Kenny (thus eliciting Stan and Kyle's catchphrase), in the process. Jesus pins Santa down, and each of them asks the boys to help him. Stan hesitates: "What would Brian Boitano do?"[3] The figure skater miraculously appears and delivers a speech about how Christmas should be about being good to one another. The boys, enlightened, transmit the message to the fighters, who apologise to each other in shame. They thank the boys for helping and decide to bury the hatchet over an orange smoothie. As in Jesus vs. Frosty, the boys come to realise the "true" meaning of Christmas: that is, presents. Kyle remarks that, if one is Jewish, one receives presents for eight days rather than on only one. The others decide as a result to become Jewish, too, and, while rats gnaw on Kenny's corpse, leave the scene singing the Dreidel song.

Graden initially distributed the video to eighty friends in December 1995, one of whom is rumoured to have been George Clooney. Brian Boitano, too, is believed to have laid hands on the tape, and was apparently flattered by his depiction. After months' passing around on bootleg video and the internet, the film caught the attention of cable network Comedy Central, which hired the pair to develop the South Park series, which premièred in the USA on August 13, 1997.

That same year, Jesus vs. Santa received a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for best animation. The film can be found on the South Park The Hits: Volume 1 DVD. A short clip is visible in a drive-in movie screen in some openers of South Park. It was also included in AVI format on Tiger Woods '99 for PlayStation. It is accessible from the game disc by PC. Because of this, the game was recalled in January 1999 by Electronic Arts.[4]


  1. ^ "BRIAN GRADEN's Bio". Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
  2. ^ "Brian Graden Biography". Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
  3. ^ This joke is referenced in the 1999 feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut via the song "What Would Brian Boitano Do?".
  4. ^ IGN: Tiger Woods Game Pulled

External links

Preceded by
South Park episodes Followed by
Cartman Gets an Anal Probe

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers by Don Marquis
The Spirit of Christmas
[ 131]


ISN'T the Christmas festival just simply wonderful?

For days beforehand I feel so uplifted—so, well, other-worldly—if you know what I mean.

Isn't it just dreadful that any material considerations have to spoil such a sacred time?

It does seem to me that somehow we might free ourselves of worldliness and greediness and just rise to the spiritual significance of the day. If only we could!

And what a blessing it would be to the poor, tired shop girls if we could!

Though, of course, they, the shop girls, I mean, must be upheld even in their weariest moments by the thought that they are helping on the beautiful impulse of giving!

When they reflect that every article they sell is to be a gift from one thoughtful and loving heart to another they must forget the mere fatigue of the flesh and just feel the stimulus, the inspiration, the vibration!

There are gifts, I admit, that haven't the divine [ 132]spark of love to hallow them, but after all there aren't so many of that sort. Love one another is the spirit of Christmas—and it prevails, whatever the skeptics may say to the contrary. And though it's a pity there has to be a material side to Christmas at all, it's so comforting, so ennobling to realize that back of the material gifts is Brotherly Love.

It quite reassures one about the state of the world; it certainly isn't getting worse with Brotherly Love and the Spirit of Giving animating everybody.

Of course, Christmas giving is a problem sometimes. It is so embarrassing when somebody you'd forgotten entirely sends you a present.

I always buy several extra things just for that emergency. Then, when an unexpected gift arrives, I can rush off a return gift so promptly that nobody'd ever dream I hadn't meant to send it all along.

And I always buy things I'd like to have myself, so that if they aren't needed for unexpected people they're still not wasted.

With all my spirituality, I have a practical side, you see.

All well balanced natures have both the spiritual and the practical side. It's so essential, nowadays, to be well balanced, and it's a great relief to me to find I can be practical. It saves me a lot of trouble, [ 133]too, especially about this problem of Christmas giving.

I know the value of material things, for instance. And I never waste money giving moie expensive presents to my friends than I receive from them. That's one of the advantages of having a well balanced nature, a practical side.

And, anyway, the value of a gift is not in the cost of it. Quite cheap things, when they represent true thought and affection, are above rubies.

Mamma and Papa are going to get me a pearl necklace, just to circle the throat, but beautifully matched pearls. I wouldn't care for an ostentatiously long string of pearls anyway.

Poor, dear Papa says he really can't afford it—with times so hard, and those dear, pathetic Europeans on everybody's hands, you know—but Mamma made him understand how necessary beauty is to me, and he finally gave in.

Isn't it just wonderful how love rules us all at Christmas time?

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