The best Christmas characters of all time

A bold claim, we know. These fabulously festive figures from eight of our top winter stories spread Christmas cheer and embody yuletide magic.

Puffin team

Together, they’re basically the Avengers of Christmas – all bringing their own unique flavour. So, get acquainted with the crème de la crème of the season and brace yourselves, because each one of these characters comes with a Christmas adventure you won’t soon forget.

The Jolly Christmas Postman

Jolly Christmas Postman

Seen in: The Jolly Christmas Postman (1991)

The Jolly Christmas Postman is the ribbon and wrapping that holds Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s beautiful Christmas tale together perfectly. Like all the other brilliant postal workers out there (in real life), the Jolly Postman spreads Christmas cheer amongst his community at this time of year. The Jolly Postman has a responsibility to bring season’s greetings to everyone’s favourite fairy-tale characters on his rounds and he knows the job’s not done until every touching festive token has been delivered.

In a nutshell: The Jolly Christmas Postman is the best because of his infectious Christmas spirit. 

The Snowman

The Snowman

Seen in: The Snowman (1978)

Thanks to Raymond Briggs’ classic Christmas read, who hasn’t dreamed of their very own snowman coming to life and embarking on a magical airborne adventure with them? The Snowman is kind, fun-loving, and mischievous, and ultimately teaches his young friend a valuable life lesson. Only the best of the best storybook characters survive the test of time – and The Snowman is still delighting children and adults after more than 40 years.

In a nutshell: The Snowman is the best because he’ll live forever in your imagination. 

The Snowdog

The Snowdog

Seen in: The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012)

Readers were first enchanted by the ‘paw-some’ Snowdog in the 2012 follow-up to The Snowman. Christmas magic brings The Snowdog into young Billy’s life one difficult Christmas; the first since his own beloved dog passed. The ice-cool and faithful pooch joins Billy and The Snowman on the trip of a lifetime, staying right by Billy’s side just when he needs it the most – warming his heart and ours from beginning to end.

In a nutshell: This unsung hero is the best because he’s the very definition of man’s best friend. He just happens to be made of snow.

Father Christmas

Father Christmas

Seen in: Father Christmas (1973)

Some characters truly need no introduction. How could we not feature Raymond Briggs' grumpy Father Christmas on our all-stars list? To be honest, we wouldn’t want to risk ending up on the naughty list for leaving him out (and we have a fair few books on our Christmas list this year)! And despite his mumbles and grumbles, the big guy really loves what he does and represents the true magic of Christmas. It’s a tough old job facing the bitter cold every December to deliver presents to all the children on the planet – but he never lets us down.

In a nutshell: Father Christmas is the best because he holds the weight of Christmas on his shoulders for all of us. 

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present & Yet to Come

Seen in: A Christmas Carol (1843)

Name a more iconic literary trio. Go on, we’ll wait. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are the soul of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, one of the world’s most renowned and treasured yuletide tales. These three ghosts may be very different in their appearance and methods, but collectively they have a single purpose this Christmas Eve – to help the miserable Ebenezer Scrooge see the error of his nasty ways.

In a nutshell: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are the best because no matter how they are adapted and reworked, they remain three of the most haunting and impactful characters in the history of storytelling.

The Bear

The Bear

Seen in: The Bear (1994)

This cuddly character also comes from the magnificent mind of Raymond Briggs, so he’s up there with the greats already. Appearing at the window of a young girl called Tilly one night, a polar bear proceeds to make himself comfortable in her bed and generally cause chaos around the house. Bears, as it turns out, are quite a handful! But is he real or imaginary? As when Tilly tells her parents about him, they’re quite sure that he doesn’t really exist…

In a nutshell: The Bear is the best because – even though he’s a wild animal who cannot be tamed – he gives the most warming, big bear hugs! 

The Christmasaurus

The Christmasaurus

Seen in: The Christmasaurus (2021)

The Christmasaurus is a fairly new contender amongst this list of greats but with his unique credentials, we had to give him a special shout-out. Tom Fletcher's Christmas-obsessed dinosaur is the ULTIMATE modern-day yuletide character; he’s musical, magical, and super friendly. He longs for companionship and – as the only dinosaur left – he just wants to belong. Basically, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this fella.

In a nutshell: The Christmasaurus is the best because he’s a friend you can rely on all year round.

Jack Skellington

Jack Skellington

What’s this? What’s this? It’s Tim Burton's Jack Skellington – the unsung underdog of the festive faves. The patron spirit of Halloween, Jack is impulsive, enthusiastic, and inclusive, and unfortunately, these traits land him in a bit of trouble with Santa Claus and the rest of the world… But say what you want about this spooky chap – he certainly knows how to spread some holiday cheer; after all, he managed to bring Christmas to Halloweenland!

In a nutshell: Jack is the best because he shows that the magic of Christmas can cast a spell over the unlikeliest of candidates. 

Puffin Christmas gift guide

Find gift inspiration and ideas for children with our selection of festive books. Plus, we have a host of fun activities to get you in the Christmas spirit.

discover now

Sign up to the Puffin newsletter

Stories, ideas and giveaways to help you spark young imaginations