Tim Allen starred in the hit movie, The Santa Clause, 20 years ago. Since then, it’s become one of the most important things in his acting career (as far as 90s kids are concerned, next to Home Improvement.) Two sequels spawned from this, giving America not one, but two Disney sequels that weren’t cheap, effortless ‘because why not.’
However, there’s something special about these movies. right at the center of them: it gave us what many of us know Santa to be today, through Tim Allen’s interpretation. Those who have grown up with these movies have known Santa to be many things, and I believe that this rendition of Santa in particular may be the best one for you to introduce your children to. Why? Well, here’s a list!
1. Human Aspect: When we meet Scott Calvin in the first movie, he is a workaholic who spends his free time arguing with his ex-wife over their son, Charlie. He’s pretty rude, sarcastic, and thinks he’s always right. Great choice for a Santa, right? Well, this is kind of the point. The transformation he experiences later shows that he has to learn to love through his encounters during the movie. Even during the rest of the movie and the sequels, he can still be his goofy, fun self with the kids and aloof but mannerly with the adults, all while being whatever people need him to be as Santa (or Scott…or a dad.) These things make him more relatable than any other Santa we know – because he wasn’t just sprung-from-the-ground perfect, tender, loving and caring with the heart of gold and all the answers. Sometimes he doesn’t know!
2. Process vs. Product: So many Christmas/Santa specials for kids just give you the figures we know and they’re either already perfect (Frosty, Elmo, Jack Frost), or they have some journey to go on (Rudolph, an Elf, Justin Bieber). With Santa, it’s usually the former – he’s the hero at the end, which is why we celebrate him and his charity. However, Scott Calvin’s story is just that – a story. It’s dedicated to showing that this job isn’t as easy as it sounds, it’s not just for everybody, and it can transform you into a person who cares for something better than himself. Now there were many routes to do that (I can personally think of a ton related to the Reason for the Season) but as a movie, we have to watch him get there. I think the main idea behind this is that, we as a people can transform into more caring, giving entity if we only so chose. Can we become Santa? I don’t think that’s the takeaway. But we can take a good, cold look at where our heart lies on these matters – look at what Scott did for his new wife during the second movie! From Ms. Angry Paws to Mrs. Claus! (Anyway.)
3. He Can Have Sequels That Don’t Suck. This is actually a pretty big deal. It’s debatable whether you think watching Charlie as a teenager is as interesting as watching Charlie as a child, and if the Scott go through It’s A Wonderful Life it considered fresh material. However, they kept the original actor in each movie, he never looks like he doesn’t want to be there, there’s always something new for him to do, and the sequels never seems like they’re desperately trying to bring the 1994 movie’s magic back. Scott Calvin’s Santa, more importantly, can now be enjoyed by different generations. Speaking of which…
4. For the Whole Family: 10-year-old Tommy can enjoy Scott Calvin’s Santa just like Grandma can. 13-year-old rebellious LaMarcus just might be able to find something in watching Santa deal with his teenage son Charlie in the first sequel, after realizing he may have neglected Charlie a bit. Your 42-year-old Principal Daquanetta Jones (sorry) can learn to love and empathize again from watching Santa get to know and comfort the future Mrs. Claus and give her the love she’s been missing.
5. Neil’s Sweaters – wouldn’t be Christmas without them!
This is truly a Christmas film series that I hope never stays out of the limelight as a family Christmas movie classic (in the sense that, “Oh it’s Christmas, I get to watch this again!”). I also hope that more and more of today’s kids see it as a glimmering hope of what Santa really represents – a person, just like them, capable of becoming kind and loving towards others. If they can embrace this at a young age in today’s world (as well as how to get good grades and get potty-trained and avoid passive-aggressive subtweeting), then I think we can have hope for the future of our world.