December 6, 2011

The secret life of Frosty the Snowman

Regular readers of Our Word know that I generally devote most of December to writing about Christmas, particularly from a nostalgic viewpoint. And since this year will probably be no exception, I thought I'd reprint one of my favorite pieces, which actually isn't by me at all, but by my friend Peter.

Now, Peter is a pretty bright guy, so when he told me about the allegorical implications of Frosty the Snowman, I had to sit up and take notice.

I’d always enjoyed the cartoon in something of a nostalgic way, as part of the memories of Christmases past. At that, I thought the plot was kind of thin. I mean, a kid thinking they can take a train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve? Without bringing any money? And then there’s the phony magician, the talking rabbit, and – well, you get the picture. You didn’t watch Frosty for the drama, you simply basked in its warm sepia glow.

But then Peter asked me if I’d ever noticed how the story of Frosty was an allegory for the life of Christ.

“What?” I think I said.

“Sure,” he replied, and proceeded to document the ways:
  • His birth occurs in the dead of winter, much as Christ's birth is symbolized with the evergreen in winter (and obviously suggests miraculous life from a dead or virginal womb).
  • Frosty always says, "Happy Birthday!" when he comes to life...strongly suggesting a birth... and the tradition of birthdays probably comes from the celebration of Christ's birth.
  • Frosty’s self-sacrifice, going into the greenhouse to save Karen’s life even though he risks melting in the heat, much as Christ the Savior suffers and dies on the Cross.
  • The resurrection – Santa opens the door to the greenhouse and the winter winds sweep into the room, bringing Frosty to life, in the same way that the Holy Spirit (often portrayed in the Bible as a wind) enters the Tomb.
  • Frosty goes to the North Pole with Santa in his sleigh, as Christ Ascends into Heaven.
  • Frosty returns every year with Santa (“I’ll be back again some day,” he sings in the song.) Christ, having been seated at the right hand of the Father, will come again in glory.
Interesting, hm? Of course, Peter added, “some folks will read that and think I'm making too much out of a tenuous connection. Those people may be right, but I only say that to be polite. It would be too much of a coincidence, otherwise. It's obviously magicked-up (or kid-story-ified) to make into a neat little story for children, but the inspiration is obvious. The producers might not have wanted to make a Christian story, and that's certainly possible... however, they clearly used the Christ story as inspiration."

All of a sudden, the story starts to make sense, and what until then had been a fairly one-dimensional cartoon (literally, given that the rest of the Rankin-Bass cartoons were done in that three-dimensional animation) has become, in fact, a much deeper and more complex parable. Now, maybe this is like Pink Floyd and the Wizard of Oz in that everyone in the world already knew about this and I’m just finding out. I’d be interested to hear if anyone out there has noticed a similar religious vein to the story. And I’d love to be able to ask Arthur Rankin, Jr., the producer, if either he or Romeo Muller, the writer of the story, had any intentions of this.If not, of course, it’s just another example of how the Lord works through even the most common and ordinary means. TV  


  1. Jesus has nothing to do with frosty the snowman. Frosty says Happy Birthday in regards of himself coming to life as in being born. Jesus was born in the month on June between the dates of 15th and 17th. The so called Star of Bethlaham that was present on the night of his birth only appears in the month of June. But if it is true that Frosty and Jesus have a symbology then that only proves that church is trying to control everything and take over.

    1. Your beliefs need to be redone because obviously you're just trying to put other people down for trying to make sense out of a Christmas movie so you need to shut up with being rude. At least this person answered people's questions about frosty the snowman it's a kids movie and if it does symbolize Jesus Christ then you just need to shut up and go to church and see if your beliefs about Christmas change...

    2. you seem like an ass and when do you celebrate Christmas i do it in winter

  2. Cartoons have TWO dimensions, not just one. One dimension would be a single line. Overall though, this posting makes an interesting point.

  3. Some people even see a connection in the candy canes to the Christian story. This writer, Mitchell Hadley, mentioned that the plot of the movie was kind of thin, but much children's literature has kind of thin plots. Having said that, the first anonymous responder above has a very thin point to make. the story line of Frosty the snow man is not about reality. It is strictly fictional. Nobody will mistake it for reality except those of us who have no concept of reality. People who see a connection between the fictional story and the story of Jesus Christ will have to understand that a fictional story can have anything written into it that the author wants. The story of Jesus Christ has things left out of it that are not important. The person originally writing the story of Frosty probably did not know all of the details of Jesus birth like what time of year He was born. I see a connection between the two stories, but I am a deeper thinking person than the first anonymous critic who responded above. If that thin thinking anonymous person wants to keep pointing out failures in other people's thinking, he or she needs to learn how to spell Bethlehem anyway. No, my writing is not about how to spell Bethlehem either. You're not invited to take over and control my thinking either.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!