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Forgotten Childhood: The Santa Clause

Forgotten Childhood: The Santa Clause


There is always a film tradition in every home during the Christmas season whether it be a family favourite, that one film that is on every year you cannot help but watch and then there is the festive favourites that just give off those festive feels you need. There is an abundance of festive themed films out there with quite a few having been released by Walt Disney Pictures, ranging from classics to newly released cash cows. Love them or hate them we all watched some derivative of them as a child and for me to this day I will happily sit and watch The Santa Clause.

Yes it not exactly a forgotten gem as it is wheeled out and pumped into the TV signals around the festive season but it has in a way been forgotten for the gem it was when it was first released especially for those like myself who watched it way back then at an earlier age. People often forget that the first instalment and the original Santa Clause of the trilogy was met with high reviews and was a festive favourite, what happened to kill it was the later released sequels which were complete cash cows released following the success of the original.


The Santa Clause was released way back in 1994, making those of us who watched it back then feel very old indeed. This would be first collaboration between already noted comedic actor Tim Allen and director John Pasquin since the two worked together on the Walt Disney television series Home Improvement which ran from 1991 to 1999.

The Santa Clause introduces us to Scott Calvin a divorced advertising executive who just so happens to work with a toy company, this Christmas he has his son Charlie and it is clear the two are not close from the beginning what with Charlie living with his mother Laura and new husband Neil. The night is a complete disaster down to Scott burning the turkey and the two end up at a Denny’s restaurant for Christmas dinner, they top off the night with Scott reading Charlie A Visit from St Nicholas as a bedtime story. Both are woken by noises up on the roof which Charlie still believing in Santa (because who doesn’t right?) thinks it is the jolly old soul.

Low and behold there is indeed a man on the roof but after Scott confronts him and he falls from the roof disappearing leaving only his Santa costume in the snow with reindeer still on the roof. Charlie convinces Scott to put on the suit and finish Santa’s job. Once morning arrives Scott and Charlie are whisked to North Pole where they meet Bernard the head elf who explains to Scott (using Santa’s business card might I add) that in putting on the suit he accepted the Santa Clause and in that has accepted to be the new Santa. Scott rejects the notion with Bernard explaining he must return to the North Pole by Thanksgiving. Needless to say things go back to what appears to be normal but through the year Scott begins his festive transformation but will he accept his new role or disappoint millions of children around the world?


This film is my Christmas, which I know is a loaded thing to say but it really is, every year without fail I will watch this at any point when it is on and I even own a physical copy of it yet I will watch the television version. The film is like a child in the way it is completely innocent and wants nothing but the viewers’ attention, for a child watching it is a magical adventure but there is also the message of love between family and friends in there which may seem cliché but it is done with such ease that for the child the message is not forced on them. Even rewatching it now as an adult it holds a new appeal because there was more adult humour in there that obviously a child would never understand.

The characters are truly what makes this film for me especially, Scott is the cliché distant father but yet he tries hard for his kid to like him even though he has no idea how to speak to him really, taking on the Santa role gave him a new way to communicate with his son but not only that to think of others and not only himself as he has tended to be selfish. Charlie is the typical confused and angry child of divorce, we see a sort of resent towards his dad at the beginning but in a way his dad becoming Santa and not being around as much, which is the usual result of divorce gave Charlie an idea of how to deal with it.


Something I find in modern and even some classic festive films is the lack of just that, they are not overly festive or they shove so much festivity in your face its overbearing but this film managed to have a nice balance of yuletide joy in it with a fantastic soundtrack of all the old and new Christmas favourites but what really made this film were the scenes set in the North Pole. It personified all that Christmas is for a child, from the elves to the reindeer to the hot cocoa. It gave children everywhere a film visual of what they have been dreaming about.

Unfortunately for this film it did fall victim to a sequel years after its release in 2002 and a third in 2006 which were panned by critiques all over and in that they original which was a light-hearted and good old fashioned holiday film was cast aside with them.

If you have never seen this film I would highly recommend it, curl in front of a warm fire with some cocoa and enjoy this piece of festive holiday spirit.