Review: ‘The Santa Clauses’ Season 1 Finale

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As the holidays draw nearer, it sadly means that an end to the holiday cheer is approaching as well, and on Disney+ one Christmas series has already wrapped its initial season. The Santa Clauses season 1 finale, “A Christmas to Remember” aired earlier this week, bringing the latest chapter in this Tim Allen-led decades-old franchise to a close. But no need to worry, Disney+ has already announced a second season.

The first season of The Santa Clauses served as a fun holiday romp for both families of all ages and those who grew up on the original film trilogy. It is a sweet escape during a period of time when that is needed. However, the series also expanded the mythos of The Santa Clause franchise in ways I didn’t expect. The series provided plenty of room for the franchise to grow, with a clearer path of how Disney can continue this beloved Christmas franchise. So how exactly did The Santa Clauses wrap its first season? With tons of tinsel and the right amount of Christmas cheer. 

[Warning: Spoilers from The Santa Clauses season 1 finale are below!]

A return to the North Pole

After a trip across the Yule-Verse in the penultimate episode, led by the original head elf Bernard (David Krumholtz), Scott (Tim Allen) makes one of the most significant decisions of his and his family’s life. He has to go back to the North Pole and become Santa once again. At first Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell), Cal (Austin Kane), and Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick) are apprehensive to return, having just started their new life in Chicago. 

However, when the family discovers that Scott was the first human to take over as Santa, and the Clauses were designed specifically for them, they’re determined to go back. As the Calvin family prepares to return, Scott along with Noel (Devin Bright) ventures back to the North Pole leaving Carol, Sandra, and Cal behind.

It’s not long after this moment that “A Christmas to Remember” picks back up. Scott and slightly crazed elf Gary (Liam Kyle) are locked behind licorice bars in North Pole prison, as Simon Choski (Kal Penn)  enacts his misguided plan to save Christmas.

A humanized villain in The Santa Clauses season 1

Simon Choksi, who is definitely the antagonist of the series, slowly made his transition from distracted father to evil Santa as the series progressed. Earlier in the season, we see Simon attempting to fix his business, through easier delivery of products using drones. While it didn’t work for the company, he wants to use the same idea to bring Christmas every day instead of just one day a year.

The Santa Clauses season 1 finale Simon
Kal Penn as Simon from The Santa Clauses (Disney).

Unfortunately, the act of providing everyone with everything they want is slowly destroying the Christmas Spirit, which is making the magic of Christmas and the Elves disappear. Simon definitely gets caught up in the power and excitement of being Santa and providing happiness to the entire world. However, The Santa Clauses does well in humanizing this character, rooting this desire in trauma.

In a flashback, we see Grace (Rupali Redd) sleeping with her mother and father. It’s apparent that her mother is sick, a harsh reality that Simon and Grace have to deal with around the holiday season. Simon and his wife have a conversation about making sure to be there for Grace, with Simon promising to give her the world. 

With this piece of information, it seems that Simon’s reaction to becoming Santa is a trauma response, throwing himself into bringing happiness to everyone because he was suffering from loss. For this reason alone, I struggle to call him a villain, but instead a misguided individual who lost their way. Although Simon is partially responsible for the disappearing Christmas Spirit, the process had already begun prior to his assuming the role of Santa.

Becoming Santa once again

During the final confrontation between Scott and Simon, the former Santa takes responsibility for the entire situation, which was a big move. As stated above, Simon helped destroy the Christmas spirit, but it was during Scott’s time as Santa that the problem began. Scott admits that he got scared and ran away from his responsibilities as a result. But together with his family, he’s ready to make everything right. The final part of The Santa Clauses season 1 finale was perhaps the best part, as The Calvins embrace the roles they were given or born into and for the first time in the history of Christmas, the entire family went out and delivered presents together.

The Good and the bad of The Santa Clauses season 1

The cast of The Santa Clauses was absolutely exceptional. Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell continue to be the shining stars of this franchise, truly encompassing the Christmas spirit in their roles as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Allen proves once again that there is no one else that can replace him as our modern-day Santa and I’m thrilled that he’s returning in the role in a second season.

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Santa (Tim Allen) and Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell). The Santa Clauses (Disney+).

Mitchell’s Carol/Mrs. Claus has a fantastic journey of self-discovery throughout the season, giving her something more than just the typical love interest. At the beginning of the season, Carol has forgotten who she is, lost in the role that she took on almost two decades ago. Throughout her time in Chicago and getting a taste of normal life again. However, in the end, she found the balance between Carol and Mrs. Claus and kicked some major butt in the final fight for Christmas.

Austin Kane’s Cal and Elizabeth Allen-Dick’s Sandra grew on me as we learn more about them. In the premiere episodes, the two children were slightly two dimensional, but that changes as the Calvins prepare to leave the North Pole. By the time the family returns to the North Pole and become a more cohesive unit, they had completely won me over. Now that they are an integral part of the Santa Claus process, set up to take over from Scott, I can’t way to see where these two go in the future of this franchise.

Matilda Lawler continued to be amazing as the new head elf Betty, with such deadpan humor that always made me and my family laugh uncontrollably. Even Noel (Devin Bright), who was slightly annoying at the beginning of the series, grew on me by the end. Together, Betty and Noel are a fantastic couple and proof that opposites attract.

While I enjoyed the series for what it was, this is a silly Christmas show. It’s not as good as the first two films, though definitely better than the third. The Santa Clauses was made with the children who grew up with the films in mind, as well as those with families with young children. I think the silliness of the series might not appeal to all, but that’s okay. Personally, I think the silliness is fine, especially because The Santa Clauses captures the spirit of Christmas perfectly. 

Final thoughts on The Santa Clauses

The Santa Clauses was exactly the Christmas show I wanted and that I think we needed. After the past few years with the ongoing pandemic, the Christmas spirit has felt at an all-time low. This series reminded me of the reason to celebrate the season, give to others, and spend time with family. It may not be on the same level as the first two films, but it is still a great continuation of The Santa Clause franchise. It is the perfect series to turn on surrounded by the twinkling Christmas lights with a mug of hot chocolate. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you are definitely missing out.

The Santa Clauses is streaming on Disney+. Have you wanted it yet? Let us know on Twitter or in our Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you need a refresher from the premiere episodes, check out our review!

Review: The Santa Clauses Premiere

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