Through a happy set of circumstances, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the elusive Japanese anime series, Shonen Santa no Daibouken, or, literally translated (according to Google), The Adventure of Santa Boy. This is a twenty-four episode adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, and I found it to be utterly charming. I'd love to see a subtitled version so that I can figure out exactly what's going on, but thanks to knowing the book I got the general idea. It opens with Claus as a boy in Burzee, but we do get some flashbacks throughout the series of him as a baby and how he was adopted by Necile. But this being a series, portions of the story were greatly expanded. Most of the animals appear to be immortal, as they're still there in the end when Santa looks more like how we expect to see him today. Blinkie the cat shows up much earlier, and he and Claus can talk to each other. However, none of the other mortals can understand what Blinkie is saying. Glossie and Flossie the reindeer also are there from the start, and they make for an amusing double act. Several other animals who weren't in the book also appear throughout the series. One of the biggest deviations, however, is the character of Mari, who appears to be a yellow ryl. She is pretty much the co-lead character, especially once Claus leaves Burzee and strikes out on his own. (Claus, by the way, is still a boy throughout the series, until the very end. He is never shown making or delivering toys as a young man, as he was in the book.) Mari is a great character, with lots of enthusiasm and a bit of a temper and probably a crush on Claus. She helps Claus on many of his adventures, and colors the toys. The battle with the Awgwas has been expanded, crossing over several episodes, and it appears to feature several different levels of bad guys, all of whom are very Japanese.
I hope someone can figure out a way that this can get wider distribution, with English subtitles or dubbing. I doubt it would ever become a hit, but I could see a small but devoted following popping up around this show.