The Santa Clauses

Santa and Mrs. Claus in pajamas - The Santa Clauses





Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

Twenty-eight years of working the same gig is enough to weigh down anyone’s sleigh. But that’s especially true for Scott Calvin, a.k.a. Santa Claus.

Don’t get me wrong, Scott still loves the job. Things are just…different.  Complicated. The children of the world are exponentially losing their belief in Santa in favor of corporate delivery services, and that lack of belief means Santa’s magical abilities aren’t working as well anymore (a disaster for anyone piloting a magic-powered sleigh 10,000 feet in the air). And nowadays, it’s apparently too problematic for him to say “Merry Christmas” or put anyone on the naughty list. Now, the politically correct term for that list is the “misunderstood list,” and those kids also still get gifts.

But it’s not just Scott who’s feeling the weight of Christmas on his shoulders. It’s his family, too. Believe it or not, raising kids at the North Pole just isn’t the most conducive environment for children—and the stigma around being Mrs. Claus (does anyone even know her first name?) is pressing on Carol, too. It’s been a good run, Scott thinks, but maybe it’s time to retire for the sake of his family.

But hanging up his sleigh bells necessitates finding a replacement—one that’ll be holly and jolly enough to take up the reins. And they’ll need to be a good enough Santa to help children worldwide to believe again—because if the belief-powered magic of Christmas disappears, then Christmas itself may disappear as we know—and the elves with it.

Naughty or Nice?

I have to wonder if the North Pole has a good 401(k) plan. Because now that Scott Calvin has finally decided to pass on his Santa cap to the next prospective candidate, it’ll be hard to retire on a lifetime supply of candy canes alone.

Disney+’s The Santa Clauses brings us back into the now decades-old universe of Scott Calvin—the man who once accidentally killed Santa by startling him off a roof before unintentionally taking on the big man’s role. But instead of making its movie trilogy a tetralogy, the streaming service has opted for a six-episode television series.

And 28 years after Scott magically dropped down his first chimney, he’s old enough to realize that his holly jolly job has required some sacrifices from his family that he hasn’t fully appreciated. (As it turns out, children raised in Santa’s Workshop away from normal human society tend to grow up a bit strange). Well, it’s better late than never, Scott decides.

An overarching motif of the miniseries centers around responsible parenting and familial bonding. At one point, Scott even dismisses the magic of Christmas, saying that the real magic is, in fact, family.

There’s a bit to note, including some references to alcohol and the occasional sensual theme that’ll likely slip past a young child’s head. But the content is kept generally mild. So despite the presence of some misuses of God’s name, slapstick violence and the general spiritual and magical themes that have typically been associated with previous Santa Clause films (and which are more fully explored in this series—see our episode five recap for details), the series seems to provide a relatively tame watch that families can enjoy this Christmas season.

Episode Reviews

Dec. 14, 2022 – Ep6: “Chapter Six: A Christmas to Remember”

The Calvins arrive at the North Pole to save Christmas.

Cal smacks his head on a doorframe twice. Carol fights giant tin soldiers. La Befana makes an appearance and uses magic. While it isn’t explicitly stated that two men are gay, we see two men celebrating Christmas together with a large rainbow ornament dominating their Christmas tree.

God’s name is said in vain twice. Someone is called a “nitwit.” Someone says “son of a biscotti,” and another person says that someone is “busting their snowballs.”

[Spoiler Warning] Cal and Riley kiss.

Dec. 7, 2022 – S1, Ep5: “Chapter Five: Across the Yule-Verse”

Scott believes his gig as Santa Claus was purely random chance, but when elf Bernard pulls Scott through time to show him how he was always meant to be Santa, he realizes that he needs to get back to the North Pole.

Bernard mentions being alive for the last 1,600 years. We see a Catholic bishop who was apparently in the role of Santa Claus at one point, causing Scott to utter “holy Santa.” Krampus, the goat-like demon juxtaposing St. Nick, makes a couple of appearances, too. A child version of Scott mentions a rosary.

God’s name is used in vain twice. “D–n” is used once.

[Spoiler Warning for the Santa Clause franchise] Bernard takes Scott through what Scott calls the “Yule-Verse,” a magical plane of existence where Scott meets the previous Santas. It’s here that he meets the original Saint Nicholas of Myra (wearing Catholic garb), who informs Scott that elves and other magical Christmas beings are ethereal. In fact, Scott’s the first human (and thereby non-ethereal) Santa!

Nov. 30, 2022 – S1, Ep4: “Chapter Four: The Shoes Off the Bed Clause”

As the newly appointed Santa, Simon starts to get to work running the North Pole. However, his profit-centric mindset clashes with the whimsical approach of the elves. Meanwhile, Scott and family learn how to fit into normal life in Chicago.

We hear a reference to Buddhism, and a family conversation briefly centers around Cal learning how to kiss a girl. We also hear a reference to alcohol.

God’s name is abused three times. We also hear one instance of “h—.” The words “crud” and “heck” are also both used once.

Nov. 23, 2022 – S1, Ep3: “Chapter Three: Into the Wobbly Woods”

As Scott interviews potential candidates for the role of Santa Claus, Simon’s daughter gets lost at the North Pole. Meanwhile, not everyone in Scott’s family wants to leave.

A Santa shirt reads, “Sit on my lap and tell me what you want,” and Carol implies that the shirt might not be appropriate in the real world. Carol also mentions that it’s a miracle they ever had kids due to the presence of a puppet show in their bedroom. Scott and Carol share a kiss.

Someone calls Simon his “gaming lord and savior.” A woman is called the “Christmas witch.” She practices magic and lives in a “covenstead.” A message meant to say “Love you Santa” is accidently misspelled to say “Love you Satan.”

We hear a reference to a powder having the same name as a hardcore drug. An elf drinks maple syrup, and the surrounding context indicates that it’s like liquor to him. A reindeer is named “Vomit.” Simon teaches his daughter that “some rules are meant to be broken.”

God’s name is misused three times. An elf says that he’s “getting too old for that shift,” a reference to the s-word.

Nov. 16, 2022 – S1, Ep2: “Chapter Two: The Secessus Clause”

Considering retirement, Scott looks for a potential successor. Evidence of the Santa’s existence gives Simon a great business idea.

Cal has a premonition about Scott. We hear a reference to the Vatican. Scott and Carol kiss.

A drone breaks a window and rams into a few people. Scott’s sleigh crashes, sending him and his son flying out of it.

An elf makes a reference of having too much cider to drink, and we later hear a mention of “hard cider.” An elf is knocked out by a glass ball. Hairpins fly around a room like darts in an Indiana Jones temple, spiking into the wall and causing people to seek cover. An elf knocks people out with a magical powder.

God’s name is misused once. An elf yelps out “O holy fright.” An elf has a condition whose acronym spells out “a–.”

Nov. 16, 2022 – S1, Ep1: “Chapter One: Good to Ho”

While delivering presents for Christmas, Scott must deal with some trouble when his Santa magic begins failing. Meanwhile, Scott’s family reveal some long-festering feelings about life at the North Pole. Businessman Simon struggles to make his delivery company profitable.

Scott uses magic throughout. He prepares a live snake as a Christmas present for a child and tells an elf to not tell the boy’s parents. Scott falls off a roof. Scott’s son, Buddy, is stuck under a fallen bookshelf after a VR mishap. A woman throws a bottle of wine at Santa, thinking him a home intruder. A man is briefly electrocuted after cutting a wire.

An elf vomits a sparkly substance. Scott and wife Carol kiss.

God’s name is misused three times. The words “suck,” “soot” and “golly-darndest” are used as swears. An elf yells “O holy night” when something surprises him.

PluggedIn Podcast

Parents, get practical information from a biblical worldview to help guide media decisions for your kids!
Kennedy Unthank

Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”

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