In a resounding victory for the spirit of Christmas, Edmund Gwenn (Miracle on 34th Street) was voted the top pop culture Santa by Tampa’s TBO readers. I have to admit a certain amount of bias, as this is my favorite Christmas movie, but I could not agree more that Mr. Gwenn’s Santa is a perfect representation of the Christmas spirit. He has an innocence that is completely engaging, and yet also possesses a wisdom and understanding of the human condition that easily makes one believe he knows which list you belong on. What I love most about his character is his faith in people, even in the face of a multitude of evidence to the contrary. It is this unconditional faith that, for me, connects the idea of Santa with the Christian beliefs about Christmas which I hold near and dear. Even though I am watching a movie about Santa, his character very much reminds me of God’s ever-present love. Most Santa movies are about magic and gifts, childhood and imagination. While these things are all wonderful and worthwhile, Miracle on 34th Street reaches beyond the commonplace to touch on themes of disillusionment, disappointment, and the necessity of faith. It speaks to the need for faith – in Santa, in a higher power, or simply in each other – in all of us. Bravo, Mr. Gwenn.