Children wait all year to catch a glimpse of the kindly, big-bellied man in red, but instead they often end up stumbling across a spindly, miserable Santa smoking a cigarette round the back of Winter Wonderland.
For all the brilliant Father Christmasses out there, there are a lot of rubbish ones — especially when compared to the naturally festive appearance of many actors who aren’t even trying to be Santa. There are stars aplenty walking along LA boulevards and into film studios spreading Yuletide magic and joy without even meaning to.
So here are seven actors who look more like Father Christmas than people who have dressed up as Father Christmas…
Hopkins’ Santa rating:10/10 Perfect facial hair, right down to the whispy-but-not-creepy moustache. Jolly smile, shining eyes and a glow that could be from speedy sleigh travel.
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 7/10 No beard, which is a travesty, plus he seems to be shouting, which doesn’t have the same effect joyful effect as Hopkins’ radiant smile.
Sir Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen’ Santa rating:8/10 Wise eyes, reassuring smile, friendly eyes and all the correct facial hair. However, there could be more beard, and Sir Ian’s face could be rounder to give a more Santa-like impression.
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 6/10 Good outfit, with extra marks for the belt. But the lack of full beard coupled with the scowl loses him points. You wouldn’t want to sit on his knee, would you?
Crowe’s Santa rating:5/10 Like Sir Ian, Crowe has wise, kind Santa eyes and it’s a solid beard, but it could be a lot whiter and the cropped hair is not nearly luxuriant enough for Father Christmas.
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 2/10 Terrifying. Pink lips, very thin face and a cotton-wool beard do not a Father Christmas make.
Jeff Bridge’s Santa rating:7/10 Slightly wild-eyed, possibly this Santa has had one or two Christmas sherries, but if he came down your chimney in a red suit, you’d believe he was the real thing.
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 4/10 There’s something unnerving about this Santa. Perhaps it’s just the penetrating stare, but he just hasn’t got the festive essence.
Billy Connolly’s Santa rating:10/10 Excellent hair, beard and moustache, perfect colour. We’ve never seen Santa with such fashionable glasses but hey, it’s nearly 2015 and even the North Pole has hipsters.
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 3/10 What is this Santa wannabe thinking? Much too small a belly, skewed facial hair and an awkward, un-festive pose. Oh and would Santa wear office shoes? We think not.
Sean Connery’s Santa rating:7/10 If Santa had a beard-trimmer, this is what he’d look like. Kind eyes, a knowing face but perhaps a bit suave for Father Christmas…
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 5/10 Too cool for Yule. Go back to Vegas, Santa.
Mark Addy’s Santa rating:9/10 Top-notch Santa! Plenty of facial hair, reddish face and wise, crinkly eyes. If his hair was white, he’d score a perfect 10. He played a drunk, overly ambitious King in Game of Thrones but Robert Baratheon should have thought about a career change to full-time Father Christmas. It might have calmed him down a bit.
Dressed-up Santa’s rating: 1/10 Singer John Mayer as a a seductive Santa creeps us out. In fact, we’ve got to stop looking at him now.