Holidays

The 'Santa Clause' Series Is A Holiday Phantasmagoria 

Jessica Bedewi
Updated December 17, 2019 14 items

The Santa Clause series is a holiday classic. Ever since the first movie's release in 1994, families have tuned in year after year to revisit the convoluted story of Scott Calvin and his Santa Claus contract. 

The movie is filled with hilarious quotes and plenty of references to the spirit of the season, which conveniently allows the dark undertones of the plot to slip by unnoticed. Make no mistake - this movie is twisted. From untimely demises to intricate contract agreements to storylines that are just plain wild, this series is simultaneously horrifying, heartwarming, and laughable. 

Ready to relive all the ups and downs of this bewildering Christmas trilogy? Take a look at a few key moments that will prove just how weird this story really is.

The First Film Opens With Santa Falling Off A Roof And Crumbling To Dust
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Photo: The Santa Clause/Buena Vista Pictures

While The Santa Clause is presented as a fun, lighthearted holiday movie, it actually has some pretty dark undertones. Remember when the original Santa Claus falls off the roof to his untimely end within the first few scenes of the first movie?

When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) hears noises coming from the top of his house, he understandably runs outside to see what's going on. Since most of us are pretty sure that Santa doesn't exist, Scott freaks out when he sees the Claus-like figure on his roof, and yells up at him. The original Claus is frightened by Scott's yell and falls off the two-story house, landing in a snowbank. Then, he crumbles to dust, leaving only his suit behind. 

Not only does the series begin with a harrowing scene that's met with total nonchalance from the remaining characters, but the first Santa is also basically never mentioned again. Scott takes his clothes and that's the end of that. What a disappointing and dark event for the herald of the season.

Scott Is Forced To Become Santa Without Full Knowledge Of The Contract
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Photo: The Santa Clause/Buena Vista Pictures

After the first Santa fatally falls, Scott and his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) climb to the roof where they find his missing reindeer and sleigh. Scott tries to force Charlie to come back inside, but he accidentally prompts the reindeer into flying to the next house. At that point, Charlie emotionally manipulates his father into playing Santa for the night with a pitiful, "How come everything I want to do is stupid?" Playing the part of the guilty father, Scott agrees to put on the suit and play Santa for the night, just to make his son happy. 

Little does Scott know, the second he puts on the suit, he accepts all the duties of Santa Claus, even though he's totally unaware of that. The teeny-tiny card he pulls from the old Santa explains all his duties in fine print that's totally impossible to read without a magnifying glass. The unreadable fine print tells him that putting on the suit waives his right to his previous identity. He has to be Santa whether he wants to or not. It's quite the tricky contract.

The Elves Are Centuries-Old Beings That Look Like Children
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Photo: The Santa Clause/Buena Vista Pictures

Santa Claus and elves are irrevocably tied to each other in Christmas lore. However, each movie has their own take on what these mythical creatures actually look like. The interpretation in The Santa Clause is particularly disturbing. Instead of small people that look like fully grown adults or even fully grown adults with the addition of pointed ears, the elves in The Santa Clause are pointy-eared beings that have lived for centuries, but still look like children

This odd interpretation leads to tiny humans who behave like a mixture between children and adults. One minute, they're happily building toys and riding tiny trains through Santa's workshop, and the next, they're referencing their dating lives with that certain someone in wrapping. We're looking at you, Judy (Paige Tamada).

The First Movie Shames Laura And Neil For No Longer Believing In Santa Claus
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Photo: The Santa Clause/Buena Vista Pictures

It's safe to say that most adults in the world no longer believe in Santa Claus. However, for the entirety of the first movie, Scott's ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her new husband Neil (Judge Reinhold) are portrayed as the bad guys for not believing in Santa. When Charlie refuses to give up the idea that he actually went to the North Pole, his mother and stepfather understandably express concern. They fear that Charlie isn't developing as a normal child should, and is instead clinging to imaginary scenarios and presenting them as reality. That's a totally normal reaction for a set of committed parents.  

However, the film often pushes the idea that Laura and Neil are the ones who are off-base. The storyline leads the audience to believe that they're overreacting and that their attempts to separate Charlie from his father for his own health and well-being are simply mean-spirited. Let's be clear - Laura and Neil are the normal ones here. Their disbelief in Santa is totally logical, and they shouldn't be shamed for trying to take care of their child.