Every ‘South Park’ Christmas Character, Ranked
The first version of The Spirit of Christmas arrived in 1992, and it starred four vague approximations of what would eventually become Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. It begins with the boys building a snowman as they sing “Frosty the Snowman.” Much like the song says, the boys put a magic hat on the snowman, but when Frosty comes to life, he kills Kenny — though “Kenny” looked more like Cartman back then — as well as another of the unnamed boys (the one who actually looked like Kenny). Fortunately, Jesus soon shows up and slices Frosty in half with his halo, saving the two remaining boys.
The second version of The Spirit of Christmas debuted in 1995, and it starts with the four boys — who now looked like the kids from South Park — caroling on Christmas Eve. Soon after, Jesus comes down from the heavens to tell them that the meaning of Christmas has been lost; then he asks to be led to the South Park Mall. Once there, he picks a fight with Santa, and the two get into a brawl that claims the lives of several children who are in line to see Santa (Kenny, of course, dies too — the actual Kenny this time).
Somehow, though, the battle ends amicably, with Santa and Jesus receiving words of peace and love from Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano. This Spirit of Christmas is what led Matt Stone and Trey Parker to develop South Park into a series for Fox. But funny enough, the network decided pass on the show specifically because one of its characters was a singing piece of poop named Mr. Hankey. South Park obviously later got picked up by Comedy Central and premiered in 1997. Only nine episodes in, Stone and Parker returned to the subject of Christmas with the classic episode “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.”
Today, a quarter century later, Christmas is still a vital part of South Park’s DNA, with the most recent holiday episode airing in 2019. Along the way, a number of other Christmas-themed characters have joined the festivities, with some being a bit more merry than others. Which is why we decided to rank every South Park Christmas character by just how much holiday cheer they smear all over the small Colorado town. I can say with confidence that this is the only list ever to include Jesus Christ, Charles Manson and several pieces of talking poop.
First Appearance: “Woodland Critter Christmas,” Season 8, Episode 14
Their Christmas Story: A gang of adorable forest creatures created by the disturbed mind of Eric Cartman as part of a Christmas story he tells to his class. Seemingly innocent at first, we eventually discover that the critters are minions of the Antichrist.
How Much Cheer They Smear: Serving the Antichrist is about as far away from spreading Christmas joy as you can get. If you need more convincing, they also sacrifice one of their own before immediately engaging in a disgusting blood orgy and kidnapping Kyle as a host body for the Antichrist.
First Appearance: “Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!,” Season 2, Episode 16
His Christmas Story: At the beginning of the episode, Manson is the same evil psychopath he was IRL, but after getting busted out of prison and being inspired by a Christmas special, he becomes reformed and wants to repent for his sins.
How Much Cheer He Smears: Even though he’s a reformed Charles Manson, he’s still Charles Manson, who was responsible for nine murders back in 1969, which likely means he’s still on Santa’s naughty list.
First Appearance: “The Spirit of Christmas” (1992)
His Christmas Story: An evil snowman that kills proto-Kenny and proto-Cartman. Again, fortunately, he’s quickly slain by Jesus.
How Much Cheer He Smears: Although not quite as bad as the Christmas Critters or Charles Manson, Frosty is a pretty evil snowman, and could give a shit about making others happy at Christmas time.
First Appearance: “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics,” Season 3, Episode 15
His Christmas Story: This singing mailman puppet is a direct parody of S.D. Kluger from the Christmas special Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.
How Much Cheer He Smears: The Mailman introduces this musical episode. He clearly loves to sing about Christmas and Mr. Hankey, but he was only on the show for a few minutes, which means he didn’t have many opportunities to spread all that much cheer.
Mr. Hankey’s Family
First Appearance: “A Very Crappy Christmas,” Season 4, Episode 17
Their Christmas Story: During Mr. Hankey’s fourth Christmas episode, we meet his family, which includes his wife Autumn and their children Cornwallis, Amber and Simon.
How Much Cheer They Smear: During “A Very Crappy Christmas,” the spirit of Christmas is at an all-time low in South Park, and Mr. Hankey can’t help due to problems in his marriage. While Autumn Hankey only drinks booze and chastises Mr. Hankey about his erectile dysfunction, his children attempt to revitalize the Christmas spirit in South Park along with the boys. They’re not terribly successful, but they do give it their best shot.
First Appearance: “The Spirit of Christmas” (1995)
His Christmas Story: He’s the same jolly old Saint Nick that we all know and love.
How Much Cheer He Smears: Only in the world of South Park could Santa rank third in spreading Christmas cheer. He’s had many memorable appearances on South Park — “Red Sleigh Down” is particularly good — Santa is just less important to the show than some other holiday characters.
First Appearance: “The Spirit of Christmas” (1992)
His Christmas Story: Christmas is his birthday, and Carrie Underwood sang a song about him.
How Much Cheer He Smears: In the early years of South Park, Jesus made regular appearances as a voice of kindness, understanding and reason. He even had a cable access show called Jesus and Pals where he offered advice and prayers. Despite nothing being sacred on South Park, Jesus has generally been portrayed as a positive character doing his best to help people, which certainly falls under the umbrella of Christmas spirit. Plus, there’s that whole “dying for our sins” thing.
Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo
First Appearance: “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo,” Season 1, Episode 9
His Christmas Story: “Sometimes he’s nutty. Sometimes he’s corny. He can be brown or greenish brown. But if you eat fiber on Christmas Eve, he might come to your town! Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo. He loves me, I love you. Therefore, vicariously, he loves you.”
How Much Cheer He Smears: In South Park, no one is more committed to Christmas than Mr. Hankey, which is why nobody else could ever top this list. Did we just create this roundup so that we could have a singing piece of shit outrank the son of God? Well, we’re not saying that wasn’t at least part of our motivation.