Thought The Santa Clause looks like a merry Christmas story with elves, reindeer and the North Pole featured prominently, when we peel back its layers, we can clearly see The Santa Clause is a stark reminder of how brutal the holiday season can be, especially for parents.
Scott Calvin’s son Charlie expects the world from him. He not only covets toys from his father, but he also demands a type of absolute immersion in holiday spirit that no mortal could ever achieve. Though he tries to reason with Charlie, Clavin’s pleads for an equitable Christmas is completely rejected. Because of the substantial stress Charlie puts on his father, Calvin begins to totally self destruct. He puts on weight, his hair goes completely white, he disregards grooming himself and in the end, all of the work he puts in to give Charlie exactly what he wants ultimately pushes Charlie further away.
Looking at it as the children’s Disney movie that it’s meant to be, I love The Santa Clause because it explores the lore of Santa and adds elements to Santa cannon that gives the mythical character interesting depth. Rather than being one man through the ages, “Santa Claus” is a title passed on from generation to generation. The Santa Clause, from which the movie gets its title, is a contact a man signs when the old Santa dies or is no longer able to perform. It’s a morbid thought of putting on a dead man’s clothes in order to replace him, but that’s probably why Disney decided not to dwell on the “dead Santa fact” for too long.
My only wish is that The Santa Clause becomes a series of movies, chronicling each Santa through the years and where Santa got his start. We got Scott Calvin’s story, but what would a Depression era Santa be like, or an early 1800’s Santa in the antebellum South. My guess – Disney will keep making awful, uninspired sequels to the kid’s movie totally denying the beautiful holiday stories that could be told.