The Santa Clause has long been a Christmas staple in my household. Along with A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I never make it through the holiday season without watching it at least once. While admittedly not on the same level as those two classics, I can’t help but revisist the Tim Allen film year after year. It’s got a definite charm (one that is sorely lacking in its sequels. Or at least what I’ve caught of the the second film) that reels me in every December. Also: Judge Reinhold. While I’ve always liked the movie for its own merits, it has definitely become even more enjoyable as I’ve gotten older for certain elements of the film that are likely unintentional.
We come to understand early on that Santa Claus is an inherited role, possibly generational. One man serves as Santa Claus until his untimely death. He then passes on his magic powers and red suit to a worthy successor. It’s pretty much a fat, bearded version of The Flash.
What I love about the movie though is how cavalier everyone is about the previous Santa’s death. He falls off the roof, disappears onto the wind and everyone proceeds to not give a shit. Tim Allen gets to the North Pole and finds that nobody is all that concerned for previous Santa’s wellbeing. This stands to reason, I suppose, as it becomes clear his workshop is full of child laborers. They say they’re elves, but enough mental conditioning could have easily forced them to believe as such.
Also worth considering are the little speeches given by Wendy Crewson and Judge Reinhold about how they stopped believing in Santa when they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas as children. She seems like a decent person, and he’s Judge Reinhold – so what good Santa would deny them gifts? It’s becoming more and more clear. Previous Santa was an asshole.
You start to wonder. Was this set up? Had some of the elves been planning a coup for some time? Were they simply big Home Improvment fans? These are the questions worth asking as you sit watching the film with your loved ones.
Another point of discussion would of course be Bernard. While Santa is the figurehead for Christmas and makes the toy run, it is very clear that the entire operation is run by Bernard. What makes this interesting? Perhaps the fact that Bernard is clearly Jewish. There’s a plethora of interesting discussions to be had, about the film and the holiday it celebrates, based on that fact alone. Just what was this movie hinting at here?
So the next time you catch The Santa Clause, watch it with a keen eye. Because it’s more than just a fun, holiday romp; it’s a possibly anti-semitic endorsement of murder.