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Film / The Santa Clause

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"In putting on the suit and entering the sleigh, the wearer waives any and all rights to any previous identity, real or implied, and fully accepts the duties and responsibilities of Santa Claus in perpetuity until such time that wearer becomes unable to do so by either accident or design."
— The stipulations of the titular clause

A trilogy of Disney Christmas movies starring Tim Allen.

The first film in the series, The Santa Clause (1994) is a modern take on the Scrooge story with a twist. Businessman Scott Calvin is divorced and cynical, and his ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) doesn't want him to have much contact with his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd). One fateful Christmas Eve, he startles a man who he believes is a burglar on his roof. The man falls off into the snow of their front yard, then vanishes, leaving his clothing behind- and a sleigh of flying reindeer on the roof. Scott, at Charlie's insistence, puts on the guy's red Santa coat and spends the night delivering gifts before being taken back to the North Pole, where he discovers that he inadvertently invoked a magical contract and must now take on the role of Santa permanently, being given until Thanksgiving to set his affairs in order. He tries to blow this off as a wild dream and returns to his life, but before he knows it, he finds himself craving cocoa with marshmallows and Christmas cookies, puts on weight at an alarming rate, and finds his hair whitening and a beard that grows back in five seconds. His ex thinks that he's gone crazy and tries to win sole custody of their son, and Scott has to attempt to both repair his damaged family relationships and keep Christmas going.


In The Santa Clause 2 (2002), Scott discovers that the fine print in the magical contract that gave him his Christmas powers requires him to find a wife, and he has only until next Christmas to find a Mrs. Claus. He gets a watch with a magical indicator on it that tells him how much Christmas magic he has left; if it runs out, he can't get back to the North Pole. In order to keep the elves in the dark about the problem, a toy Santa is created to take his place. When it goes wrong, the elves try to keep a lid on it so Scott can find a lady. He finds one in Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell), a principal at Charlie's school.

The third, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), features a North Pole visit from Carol's parents for Christmas. Mrs. Claus is about to have a baby, and Santa must contend with jealous Jack Frost played by Martin Short. The harbinger of winter is jealous that Santa gets all the winter attention and decides to exploit the escape clause of the Santa Clause in order to steal the job from an overwhelmed Scott. Scott is returned to his life as it was before becoming Santa, without Carol, but is made aware of what's gone wrong and has to set it all right before Christmas Eve.


The Santa Clauses was announced in January 2022 as a limited series on the Disney+ streaming service, with Tim Allen returning as a nearly 65-year-old Scott Calvin who's realized he can't stay Santa forever and is looking for a suitable replacement so he and his family can return to the regular world again.

This movie series provides examples of:

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  • All Myths Are True: American myths, at least: Santa Claus, Mother Nature, Father Time, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Jack Frost all exist, with the only apparent misunderstanding being that Santa is a job rather than a single person. However, adults still seem to generally believe these figures are myths, despite unexplained presents apparently appearing in their homes every year...
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: International versions use "Jingle Bells" by Yello as the end credits song instead of "Christmas Will Return".
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Council of Legendary Figures, consisting of Mother Nature, Father Time, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Cupid (and Jack Frost in the third film, who represents winter as a whole).
  • Bad Santa: Scott's a little rough around the edges, particularly on his first midnight run before actually transforming into Santa, but is never outright malicious. However, both of the sequels feature this. Scott takes the elves up on making a toy subsitute Santa so he can go search for a wife in the second film, but toy Santa takes a turn for the dictatorial. Jack Frost becomes a Corrupt Corporate Executive variety in the third film and turns the North Pole into a commercial theme park.
  • Big Eater: Scott becomes this after assuming the role of Santa. Comet is also this, overdoing it on chocolate in the sequel to the extent that he can't fly.
  • But Thou Must!: Whoever puts on the coat becomes Santa Claus. Once the coat goes on, their old life is effectively over, whether they like it or not.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Santa is a jolly Nice Guy, while Bernard the head elf is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Casting Gag: David Krumholtz is Jewish, but plays the Head Elf Bernard in the first two films.
  • Catching Some Z's: The Sandman's magic sleeping dust consists of various Zs.
  • Chimney Entry: Traditionally, Santa goes down the chimney. With houses that didn't have chimneys or fireplaces, but rather heating vents and pipes, Scott Calvin as Santa enters the house through there and a fireplace magically appears in the room where lands.
  • Christmas Elves: The trilogy features child-like elves who are Really 700 Years Old. (Bernard, Santa's second-in-command, is noticeably taller and played by a teenager.) After meeting them in his "dream," Scott objects to the more "dwarf-like" interpretation of Christmas elves that his advertising company was going to use in a commercial.
  • Christmas Town: The North Pole is a central location in all three films. It is a large metropolis populated by child-like elves and flying reindeer. It is all owned by the current Santa Claus (in the film's case, Scott Calvin) and acts as a meeting place for other iconic magical beings (Mother Nature, Father Time, Jack Frost, etc).
  • Cool Old Guy: Bernard when he's not working is very jovial and fun. He looks like a teenager or young adult, but he's really very old even by elf standards.
  • Cousin Oliver: The sequels introduce Lucy, presumably because Charlie's actor (Eric Lloyd) had become too old to be the cute little kid. Being Neal and Laura's daughter, born in the eight-year gap between the first and second movie, Lucy's introduction is less shoehorned than in many other examples.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Scott Calvin is easily the snarkiest character in the whole series, in typical Tim Allen fashion. Bernard and Charlie have their moments of this as well.
  • Dork in a Sweater: Neal wears goofy sweaters, one of which Bernard thinks was made at the North Pole.
  • Forced Sleep: The Sandman's can cause people to fall asleep. He uses it on Bud and Sylvia prior to taking them to the disguised North Pole.
  • Grumpy Old Man: When he's working, Bernard is very impatient and serious. He looks like a teenager or young adult, but he's really very old even by elf standards.
  • Hey, You!: Scott keeps misnaming Bernard, and Bernard only addresses Scott as Santa.
  • Honorary Uncle: Scott for Lucy, a sign that Scott made peace with the Millers after the first film.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Santa's bag is functionally empty until one reaches a qualifying house, at which time it produces the requested gift. This is Hand Waved to an extent with the mention of the bag's magical properties during Scott's orientation as Santa.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite how much of a Jerkass he is at the beginning, it's clear Scott loves his son Charlie and would do anything for him, which is proven when he puts on Santa Claus's suit and delivers the toys just to make him happy. The last movie indicates that he would have become even more cynical and wrapped up in his work if he hadn't.
  • Legacy Character: Santa Claus is not one set person or even an actual name (or at least hasn't been since the very first). It goes from person to person, with succession happening whenever Santa dies or retires. The next person to don the suit gets the job. Apparently, most Santas die instead of retiring and are usually lost through rooftop falls, as that's the first thing that Bernard (correctly) assumed happened to the previous Santa when he meets Scott.
  • Lighter and Softer: The first film is rated PG and the next two are both G. Although the first was just barely a PG thanks to a few raunchier bits from Allen, this trope is still present in that both sequels have a more child-friendly tone.
  • Marquee Alter Ego: Tim Allen spends a significant chunk of all three movies as Scott and only really becomes/reverts back to Santa in time for the Happy Ending.
  • Never Land: The elves are ancient but look mostly like preteen children.
  • Nice Guy: Scott after he loses his jerkass behaviors and accepts being the new Santa Claus.
  • Novelization: Junior Novelizations for the first and third films, at least. The third differs from the finished film in that Bernard's still around though.
  • Older than They Look: The elves are all but stated to be this. Curtis in particular, looks like he's no more than 12-14 years old, but Bernard points out he's at least 900.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Santa's workshop has become modernized, with the elves manufacturing toys in a factory. Santa's sleigh has been tricked out with gadgets like a cookie-cocoa dispenser, and even the literal North Pole has a keypad on the side.
  • Practical Effects: In all three movies, Comet is played by an animatronic whenever the reindeer aren't shown to be flying.
  • Pun-Based Title: The series' title is a pun on "Santa Claus" and "legal clause".
    • This is blatantly spelled out in the first movie:
      Bernard: ...So when you put on the suit, you fell subject to the Santa Clause.
      Scott: The Santa Claus? Oh, you mean the guy who fell off my roof.
      Bernard: No no, not Santa Claus the person, Santa Clause the clause.
      Scott: What?
      Bernard: (sigh) Look, you're a businessman, right?
      Scott: Yeah.
      Bernard: Okay, a clause as in the last line of a contract.
      Bernard: You got the card?!
    • And again in the second movie:
      Curtis: Santa, there's a clause.
      Scott: That would be me.
      Curtis: No, I mean there's another Santa clause.
      Scott: Curtis, in case you haven't noticed - this time of year, the malls are filled with other "Santa Clauses".
      Curtis: Yes, but there's another Santa clause. There was a first clause, but also a second clause.
      Puppets: Get on with it!
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: Although many of the elves dress in very old-fashioned clothing, they also take full advantage of the latest technological advancements and appear more technologically advanced in some areas than humans.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: Once the main character is destined to become the new Santa, his beard grows at an unbelievable rate.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The elves are very old but all look like adorable children who happen to have pointed ears. Bernard resembles a teenager or young adult and is older than a millennium according to some of 2's behind the scenes material. An elf who Scott runs into when he first arrives at the North Pole says that he has pointy shoes older than Scott after he was called a kid by Scott. When Judy made Scott a cup of hot cocoa, she says it took her 1,200 years to get the recipe just right.
  • The Sandman: In the second and third films, the Sandman is a respected member of the Council of Legendary Figures, along with Santa, Father Time, Mother Nature, Jack Frost, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
  • Santa Claus: The films' central premise is how someone transitions into becoming the new Santa Claus, which in this universe is a Legacy Character.
  • Saving Christmas: What Scott ends up doing in each movie, with the help of elves and his family.
  • Secret Identity: Scott has to keep his identity as Santa a secret as part of the "Secret of Santa" ordeal, otherwise the spirit of Christmas would cease to exist.
  • Secret-Keeper: Charlie and his mother and her new psychologist husband, and later their daughter Lucy. They all know Scott is Santa but can't tell anyone. Charlie takes this particularly hard for a while.
  • Significant Monogram: Scott Calvin.
  • Someone Has to Do It: The world needs Santa, so there must always be one.
  • Steam Never Dies: Steam trains show up all over the place at the North Pole.
  • Weirdness Censor: When you think about it, the fact that almost no adults believe in Santa is more than a little ridiculous in the face of a bunch of mysterious presents (including rather conspicuous items, like a freaking kayak) showing up en masse in everyone's houses on Christmas morning.

    The Santa Clause (1994) 
  • Accidental Misnaming: Scott's first attempt at saying Bernard's name consist of only repeating the first syllable, then calling him "Barabas" before setting on "Barnaby".
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Scott repeatedly grunts "Oh no!"
    • When Scott is first touring the North Pole, he picks up a tool belt and holds it to his waist.
    • When Scott reluctantly agrees to put on Santa's clothes, there's a Stealth Pun where he says the name of his character's last name on Home Improvement:
      Scott: Well I hope you're happy, Comet. I hope you're happy. But most importantly, I hope the guy that lives here IS A TAILOR!
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: 1-800-SPANK-ME, the phone number Scott invents for Neal's mother, is real. It got Disney in a heap of trouble when curious kids racked up huge phone bills for their parents. The scene was edited out starting with the first DVD release.
  • And a Diet Coke: Structurally inverted in the board meeting, where Scott orders an extremely light entrée of an undressed salad, then appends several desserts.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The televised version ends the doctor's office scene early, because the doctor uses his stethoscope, and the camera shows Scott's bare chest.
    • Likewise, Scott muttering that he's "freezing [his] nubs off out here" as he puts on the suit and goes down the first house's chimney is typically changed to him saying that he's freezing his butt off outside in most televised airings of the first film.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the beginning, the first Santa dies after falling off Scott's roof. Later in the film it seems Scott himself has developed a minor phobia of falling off roofs.
    • On one of his first visits, Scott sarcastically tells a little girl that he's lactose intolerant after she tells him to have the milk and cookies. A year later, he visits the same girl and she has put out soy milk for him.
    • Judy is the name of waitress who serves Scott and Charlie at Denny's. When Scott first arrives at Santa's workshop, the elf who gives him monogrammed pajamas also goes by Judy.
  • But Now I Must Go: Scott leaves Charlie forever, because a lot of kids are counting on him and he can't let them down, so Charlie lets him go, even though he will miss him. Before Scott actually leaves though, Bernard tells Charlie he can use his snow globe to summon Scott.
  • Butt-Monkey: Scott Calvin tries hard to do the right thing, but life keeps making him look like a fool.
  • The Cameo: Jimmy Labriola, who worked with Tim Allen on Home Improvement, has a cameo as a truck driver.
  • Cavalier Consumption: Scott spends a board meeting taking his time scooping a sundae dish clean, all to the tune of Think!.
  • Consummate Liar: Ties into Scott's cynicism and bitterness, which of course means that no one believes him when he says he's becoming Santa.
  • Crappy Holidays: At the beginning, Scott further strains his already tense relationship with Charlie, Laura, and Neal by not being home to receive Charlie, then treating them all less than politely when he does show up. Charlie is concerned that he won't have fun with his father, so he asks if he has to stay with him and requests that his mom pick him up first thing in the morning. Scott ruins his and Charlie's Christmas Eve dinner by burning their turkey, then takes Charlie out to eat. On his second try, he finds a Denny's, but they have to work that way past a crowd in the front room. Scott and Charlie don't get their first choice in anything to eat or drink, and then Santa falls off their roof. It proves to be a pivotal point in their Christmas, because although Scott's Subbing for Santa is the first thing he's done to make Charlie happy in a long time, it also leads to a lot more stress for him.
  • Description Cut: When Scott pulls into a Denny's, he describes it as "an American institution". When they get in, it's full of Japanese businessmen.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: Scott Calvin burnt the Christmas turkey to the ashes and has to take his son to a diner. Turn out he's not the only dad to have to do that.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Elves use one as a gag. Also, when the police go over their plan to trap Santa, one of the landmarks they list is the donut shop.
  • Doom Doors: When Charlie encounters the reindeer atop his house, one of them groans with the exact same sound effect that Doom uses as the zombie marines' death sound.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience (along with Charlie and Scott, of course) knows full well that the trip to the North Pole and Scott becoming the new Santa really happened and Scott can't really help the Santa-y things that keep happening to him or that he himself does, but to Laura, Neal, and everyone else, it looks like Charlie is becoming obsessively attached what sounds like just a crazy dream and Scott is fostering this behavior by acting more like Santa.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: The only thing left of Santa after he vanishes is his Santa suit.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Neal's influence on Charlie backfires when Charlie declares that Neal is denying his inner child.
  • Gasshole:
    • Comet. When Scott Calvin meets him in the first film (and warns Charlie that the Reindeer might have "Key Lyme Disease"), Comet lets out a rather pungent blast of flatulence. Comet also farts after eating too much chocolate in the second movie, and several times again in the third film.
      Scott: Eat some roughage, will you?
    • The other reindeer seem to have gas issues too, with Scott mentioning in the second film that he doesn't want to take Prancer out because he can't stand when he "eats too many apples".
    • Scott himself ends up getting this during the first stages of his transformation into Santa — when he is getting up out of bed, you can distinctly hear a farting sound.
  • Hidden Depths: There are several scenes that show that, underneath his cynicism, Scott really is a good man at heart who deserves the role of Santa. Most of them are centered around his son, but there's a brief line of dialogue where he tells Charlie that he tried making things like the magic snowglobe when he first started working with toys, but no one bought them, with a definite note of sadness in his voice.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: Neal wears these and is mocked for it by Scott. The Santification process causes this to become Hypocritical Humor as Scott also starts wearing hideous sweaters far worse than anything Neal ever wears.
  • How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: Neal tries this with Charlie, pointing out that it's not logical for one man to be able to deliver toys to all the children of the world in one night. Charlie, having been on a Christmas delivery, has a number of counterarguments, such as pointing out that a lot of children don't celebrate Christmas.
  • Hide Your Otherness: Scott keeps shaving and dying his hair, as he doesn't want to look like Santa, only to have the beard grow back immediately and the hair to go back to white.
  • I Have Many Names: When arrested, Scott delays his interrogation significantly by supplying a different name for Saint Nicholas each time he is asked for his name. And then Topo Gigio.
  • Inconvenient Summons: At the end of the movie, Charlie summons Scott mere minutes after they part.
  • Jeopardy! Thinking Music: As Scott eats, his co-workers just watch while this plays.
  • Jerkass:
    • Neal is a watered-down one, portraying his logic as a bad thing when it means you shouldn't believe in magic and wonder.
    • Scott Calvin is this up until he transforms into Santa Claus, mainly because of his arrogant and cynical disposition.
  • Klingon Promotion: Scott gets the Santa job by accidentally killing his predecessor.
  • Last-Second Joke Problem: Scott embraces his role as Santa Claus, fixes his relationship with his son Charlie, and smooths things over with his ex-wife Laura. Things look rosy as he and Charlie take off in the sleigh to deliver presents when suddenly Laura starts worrying about how long they'll be gone. The film ends with her yelling at the top of her lungs while happy music plays in the background.
  • Leaving Food for Santa: Early in his tenure as Santa, when he's still refusing to get into the spirit of it, Scott doesn't touch the food. When a small child catches him not drinking the milk she's left out, he tells her it's because he's lactose intolerant. This becomes a Brick Joke when he returns to the house at the end of the film, and finds that she's remembered and left him a glass of soy milk instead.
  • Let There Be Snow: Happens near the end when a crowd is watching Santa fly off. Next, there's a Match Cut to the snow globe when Charlie uses it.
  • Men Can't Keep House: During the Denny's scene, there's a whole section of the restaurant filled with single dads who screwed up Christmas Eve dinner and are trying to make up for it.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Scott gradually takes on Santa's traits and kind demeanor.
  • Missing Child: Scott and Charlie disappear with no trace around Thanksgiving to work at the North Pole with no warning to Laura or Neal but also no malice or intent to hurt them. However, his mother spends an entire month believing her seemingly mentally ill ex-husband has abducted her son to parts unknown and only briefly hears from him on the phone once.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Charlie mishears the line "Arose such a clatter" as "a rose suchak ladder". Humorously, after accidentally knocking Santa off the roof, Tim runs into a ladder from the "Rose Suchak Ladder Company".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In order to set a good example for Charlie, Scott pushes himself to be kind to Neal at the end of the movie, referring to him as part of their family.
  • My Card: Neal gives his to Scott when the Santa issue reaches a fever pitch.
  • No Antagonist: The other characters' reactions to Scott becoming more and more like Santa are borne purely out of them not understanding what's really happening to him. The police in particular are simply doing their jobs in light of what, in all other respects, looks like a kidnapping when Scott and Charlie vanish together. Laura and Neal even apologize to Charlie once they realize the truth about Scott.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Inverted; when people refer to Neal as a doctor, Scott sarcastically replies "He's not a doctor, he's a psychiatrist." Psychiatrists actually are medical doctors; it's psychologists who are the Ph.D's.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • The movie's poster and everything based on it have the text of the titular clause printed along the edges, just as it is with Santa's business card in the film.
    • Some white sparks change the title from print to cursive, then linger on the E in Clause.
  • Peking Duck Christmas: Subverted — after Scott burns the Christmas Eve turkey, he tries to make use of this trope by taking his son to a Japanese restaurant. It's closed, so he takes him to a Denny's instead, which is filled with Japanese businessmen and fellow fathers who burned the turkey.
  • Phone Word: The movie got in a little bit of trouble by having Scott sarcastically identifies a phone number on a piece of paper as 1-800-SPANK-ME, which turned out to be an actual phone sex hotline.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "We're your worst nightmare. Elves. With. Attitude."
  • Product Placement:
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Used by the elves at the end of the movie, who declare themselves to be "Elves. With. Attitude."
  • Quizzical Tilt: Charlie does one when he sees an elf for the first time and has no idea what said elf is doing. He doesn't realize that he and his father are being let into Santa's Workshop.
  • Read the Fine Print: "The Santa Clause: In putting on the suit and entering the sleigh, the wearer waives any and all rights to any previous identity, real or implied, and fully accepts the duties and responsibilities of Santa Claus in perpetuity until such time that wearer becomes unable to do so by either accident or design." Scott needs a magnifying glass to read the clause, which is hidden on the business card.
  • Rewatch Bonus: At the start of the movie, a few of the children looking through the store window are elves.
  • Running Gag: Neal's ugly sweaters. This culminates when Bernard greatly admires one and wonders if it was produced by the elves.
  • Santa's Existence Clause: Scott pretends to believe in Santa for Charlie's sake, to the point of trying to explain how the reindeer fly, only to discover it is real. Later, Charlie's mother and stepfather get to discover for themselves that Santa is real.
  • Second Episode Morning: Scott tries desperately to dismiss his first night in the North Pole as a dream and hide the Santification process.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Scott mentioning the Disney Channel makes the film much easier to market and air on related networks.
    • When Scott Calvin has a smorgasboard of food before a meeting at the toy company that he works at while his coworkers wait for him to finish eating, the theme tune of Jeopardy! is playing in the background.
    • After Scott quickly escapes up the chimney from a guard dog, Charlie asks him what it felt like. Scott responds that "It felt like America's Most Wanted!"
  • Shown Their Work: When Scott and Charlie finish their first run, the sun has already begun to rise. When they land at the North Pole, it's dark. Why? It's polar night! Compare to almost every other Santa film, where the North Pole has "normal" day and night cycles.
  • Silent Running Mode: To avoid being detected by a passing plane, Santa has the elves shut everything down at the North Pole. Curtis almost ruins it, however, by listening to a musical dancing doll.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Scott and Laura engage in this at the beginning of the film. Justified since they went through an apparently nasty divorce.
  • Take You Aside Talk: These situations set up discussions about the effects of Scott's becoming Santa Claus; in the later two films, Scott is usually about to receive bad news.
  • Taking the Kids: Scott's wife thinks that Scott is an unfit father, starts thinking he's crazy once the Santa stuff begins happening, and ultimately wins sole custody of Charlie.
  • Theme Initials: Pointed out by Charlie with regards to Scott Calvin/Santa Claus.
  • Title Drop: When Bernard is explaining Scott's new status to him, he says that "When you put on the suit, you fell subject to the Santa Clause."
  • Understatement: In the first film, as soon as he is done shaving off his Santa beard and dying his hair dark, only for the beard to immediately grow back and his hair to turn white again, Scott exclaims, "I'm in big trouble, mm-hmm."
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Charlie's constant appraisals of his dad's new role as Santa Claus really don't go over well with his mother and stepfather, who think that Scott is emotionally manipulating Charlie. The same goes for the kids at the park who approach Scott of their own free will to share their Christmas wishes, which only alarms Laura and Neal that much more. Justified though as they're all just kids.
  • Visible to Believers: In the Workshop, Judy the elf says this to Scott, adding that "kids don't need to see this place to know that it's there. They just... know."
  • Wacky Cravings: As a side effect of the Santafication process, Scott has a much greater Sweet Tooth and taste for milk than he did prior.
  • What Are You in For?: The Denny's scene. The waitress asks if Scott and Charlie are part of the corporate group which is seated in the front room of the restaurant, then seats them among other people who are in the same situation as they are.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: When the current Santa becomes unable to fulfill their duties "by accident or design", the first person to put on the suit afterward becomes the new Santa. Over the course of the trilogy, this happens twice, both times when someone (Scott or Jack Frost) startles the current Santa, causing him to fall off a roof to his death.

    The Santa Clause 2 
  • Accidental Misnaming: The toy Santa doesn't get Bernard's name right.
  • Actor Allusion: While fighting the toy Santa in mid-air, the real Santa is told "You are a sad, strange little man."
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Even magical Christmas elves can't always get it right, and here they make a toy Santa that ends up becoming a tyrant.
  • Amicable Exes: After the events of the first film, Scott is now on friendly terms with Laura and Neil, with the three working together to parent Charlie.
  • Ascended Extra: Bernard was only in a few scenes in the first movie but becomes a main character here.
  • Audible Gleam: Charlie sacrifices a tooth to summon the Tooth Fairy so he can get Carol to the North Pole. When Santa's powers return, so does Charlie's tooth, with a visible sparkle that you can also hear.
  • Awesome McCoolname: The Tooth Fairy wants a better name, so Scott joking calls him "the Molarnator".
  • Brought Down to Normal: After Scott hears of the Mrs. Clause and learns he has to get married by Christmas Eve, he undergoes a "De-Santafication" process where he gradually turns back into his former self.
  • Cassandra Truth: Scott confesses to Carol that he really is Santa Claus. She becomes angry with him, thinking he's mocking her hesitant confession about how much she loves Christmas. Charlie later attempts to vouch for his father, doing his first good deed since the previous christmas in that film, only for her to think the same for him.
  • Company Cross References: During Scott and Robo-Santa's fight, the latter shouts, as an Actor Allusion, "You're a sad, strange little man!".
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Toy Santa gets shrunk down to normal toy size after being defeated and is put into a toy store.
  • Defcon Five: The opening of the second film shows that the North Pole has the "ELFCON" system, which tracks the threat of the workshop being discovered by the outside world. It's surprisingly done correctly, with the number lowering from 5 to 1 as a plane passes closer and closer to the workshop and the threat of discovery rises.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Carol. Turns out she was an ice queen because being warm-hearted had gotten her hurt in the past.
  • Demoted to Extra: Neal and Laura play a considerably smaller role than they do in the first and third films. Aside from allowing Scott to crash at their place while he looks for a wife, they don’t do too much else in this film.
  • Disappeared Dad: Scott slips out of his son's life because of the workload involved in caring for all the children of the world.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Toy Santa is unfamiliar with the concept of proportion of any kind — as far as he's concerned, if a kid does anything naughty at all, all year, they count as naughty. Curtis and Bernard try to convince him this view is too harsh, but he doesn't listen.
  • DIY Dentistry: Having lost his magic, Scott needs a way to get back to the North Pole to stop Toy Santa's takeover. He and Curtis attempt to pull out one of his teeth to prompt a visit from the Tooth Fairy with both the "tie string to the doorknob" and "tie string to a toaster" tricks. Neither work on his adult teeth; thankfully, Lucy is an actual child who just naturally loses her tooth in time.
  • Everyone Knew Already: In the beginning, Lucy is the only one in the Miller family who is not in on Scott's secret, but she openly suspects he's Santa Claus just from all the obvious clues. They eventually confirm it to her at the end.
  • First Girl Wins: Principal Newman is the first woman Scott encounters after returning from the Pole and is the one he ends up marrying.
  • Food Porn: In one scene, the camera pans across a very appetizing Christmas dinner... and then pulls back to reveal that it's on a TV screen while Scott is busy extinguishing a burning turkey.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the beginning, Scott/Santa remarks that his pants feel looser before he finds out about the whole Mrs. Clause/Desantafication ordeal.
    • In the beginning, Curtis plays with a toy Santa. Later he creates a life-size toy Santa to take over the workshop for Scott.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: The plot is that Scott/Santa has to find a "Mrs. Claus" in one month or lose his powers.
  • Gilligan Cut: When told he has to convince the other elves that the Toy Santa is the real one, Bernard insists "I'm not gonna lie to all the elves!" Cut to Bernard telling him how much better "Santa" looks now to the other elves.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: When the tooth fairy thinks he's caught, he grunts "bicuspids!"
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: A de-Santafied Scott is forced to wear one of Neal's sweaters on his first date because it's the only thing that fits him; the prospective woman Scott dates turns out to be a Christmas freak with an even more hideous sweater.
  • Jump Cut: From Career Day in Charlie's class to the ensuing parent conference with his principal.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: The reason for Charlie acting out (and getting on the naughty list) is due to the stress of not being able to tell anyone the truth about what his dad really does, even though he considers it the greatest job in the world.
  • Large Ham: Robot Santa in is much hammier than regular Santa.
  • Let the Past Burn: When Laura finds out that Scott really is Santa, she burns the documents from the child custody ruling, effectively rescinding it.
  • Let There Be Snow: A variation. Their Chicago suburb is covered in ice, but Scott uses some of his dwindling Christmas magic to create a localized cloud of gentle snow fall while he's courting Carol.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Charlie drops through a skylight in the school gym with a harness and rope, so he can paint graffiti on the wall.
  • Mrs. Claus: The film is about Scott having to get a wife; apparently, having a Mrs. Clause is required for a Santa to keep his magic.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Curtis neglects to tell Santa about the Mrs. Clause until it's almost too late, nearly causes the Pole to be discoved by playing with a dancing Santa during lockdown, and creates a Toy Santa that almost ruins Chrismas because Curtis kept encouraging him to follow the rules.
  • Not Me This Time: A variation: when Bernard reveals that Charlie's on the naughty list, Santa/Scott initially thinks that he's referring to Charlie Sheen and remarks that he thought he straightened out. Abby then reveals that they weren't referring to Sheen, but to his son, Charlie Calvin.
  • Only Sane Man: Bernard is the only person in the know who thinks toy Santa is a bad idea. Scott realizes how unconvincing it looks but tells Bernard to convince the other elves it's him anyway, and when he does he sounds so sure of himself. Unfortunately, he admits that maybe Curtis was right that it was a good idea right before toy Santa goes completely bonkers.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Scott has to get married to fulfill the conditions of the Mrs. Clause. He falls in love with Carol... who also happens to be Charlie's hated principal. When Charlie first finds out they're dating, he's devastated, but later decides that his father's happiness is more important and tries to convince Carol to believe in Scott.
  • Product Placement:
    • The film features it in the sequence where Scott delivers the school staff all their favorite toys from childhood, including Toss Across and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
    • When Carol tells Scott that it would be difficult for the Secret Santa to find said toys, he sarcastically name-drops eBay.
    • The family is shown about to eat McDonald's when discussing the Mrs. Clause.
    • Comet gorges himself on a variety of Nestlé chocolate bars.
  • Protector Behind Bars: Curtis has to go warn Santa that Toy Santa has gone off the deep end in Bernard's place because Bernard has been placed under house arrest. Scott is incredulous about this news.
  • Race Against the Clock: Scott has to get married before midnight on Christmas Eve or he'll stop being Santa forever.
  • Read the Fine Print: The "Mrs. Clause" is so well hidden that Scott needs a gigantic magnifying glass to see it.
  • Rotten Robotic Replacement: When Scott is temporarily cast away from the North Pole until he can find a woman to be his wife, a toy Santa is created to take his place. This fake Santa lacked Scott's compassion and boundaries, proclaiming a kid naughty for not doing anything bad at all and places Head Elf Bernard under house arrest.
  • Second Year Protagonist: Charlie's being fifteen years old makes it easier to set up the scenario of his getting into trouble in high school and on the naughty list; he's used to his school, he knows his way around it, and because he hasn't just filed a college application, there's plenty of time for him to be set right again.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Comet eats so much chocolate that he becomes too fat to fly. The Tooth Fairy takes Scott to the North Pole to defeat the Toy Santa, and Chet takes Comet's place when they deliver the toys.
  • Tempting Fate: Bernard remains unconvinced that Toy Santa can be an effective replacement for Scott, much to Curtis's annoyance. Eventually, Curtis convinces him to admit nothing would go wrong... immediately before Toy Santa goes off the rails.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Left without any means to fly back to the North Pole on their own, everyone tries to pull one of Scott's teeth so that the Tooth Fairy will show up and they can ask him for a ride. Scott winds up repeatedly hurting himself and without any teeth to show for it. Thankfully, Lucy just happens to lose a tooth before going to bed.
  • Two-Timer Date: Scott has to spend most of December looking after Charlie and trying to find a wife. The problem is that that's exactly when he has to be at the North Pole doing his Santa duties. They create Toy Santa to get around this.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Toy Santa becomes a Literal Genie dictatorial monster who nearly ruins Christmas when he decides no children are good enough to get presents so they should all get coal.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Curtis neglects to notify Santa of the "Mrs. Clause" until Scott has all of four weeks to seek out a new wife if he wants to keep his job. He does eventually fess up to having let pride blind him on that one. And that's to say nothing of his creation of the Toy Santa...
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Scott has become close friends with Neal and Laura in the eight year time gap. However, Scott still likes to make fun of Neal but in a playful manner, rather than vicious.
  • Wedding Deadline: Santa has to be officially married before Christmas Eve turns Christmas Day at midnight or he'll lose his powers and there will be no Santa. Very surprising, considering the efforts the elves make to to ensure that there is always a Santa.

    The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 
  • Babies Ever After: Santa and Carol have a baby at the end of the film.
  • Back to the Early Installment: Jack tricks Scott into invoking the Escape Clause, which sends the two back in time to when the original Santa fell off the roof in the original movie. Jack makes the old Santa fall off the roof before the past Scott did, and steals the suit so he becomes Santa instead.
  • Bad Future: When Jack becomes Santa after igniting the Escape Clause, Scott is still a worker, Laura and Neil are divorced, Carol moved away, and Jack Frost has converted the North Pole into an amusement park, forcing people to come there to get their presents and having them pay to be put on the nice list.
  • Big "NO!": Jack Frost when Scott foils him. First when Scott is able to make him invoke the Escape Clause, and then again when he realizes Scott has prevented him from altering the timeline again as Scott's past self becomes Santa like in the first movie.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with Carol being rushed to the hospital. The beginning is a false alarm, but the ending has Carol finally giving birth.
  • Bland-Name Product: There are Christmas versions of human products, such as Red Deer (Red Bull) and North Pole Icy Treats.
  • Canada, Eh?: The North Pole is dressed up to look like Canada to trick Bud and Sylvia into thinking they've just landed there.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the alternate timeline, Curtis shows Scott a pen with voice recording capabilities. Scott uses this pen to trick Jack into getting caught unintentionally using the Escape Clause to stop being Santa Claus.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bernard is absent, and it's never explained why. In reality, his performer, David Krumholtz, was unable to reprise his role as Bernard due to contractual obligations working on NUMB3RS and having very visibly aged. Judy and Quinton are likewise absent from the later films, though Abby serves as a replacement in the second film.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jack Frost is this in the alternate timeline. He turns the North Pole into a theme park, makes people pay to get on the Nice List, and generally exploits his position as Santa for all its worth.
  • Demoted to Extra: Charlie appears only very briefly in a few scenes.
  • Disappeared Dad: When Frost rewrites history, Neal's attempt to bond with Charlie caused enough friction with Laura that they divorced as well.
  • First Father Wins: In a world where Jack Frost became Santa, Neal tried to be a father to Charlie while Scott was busy at the office. Charlie regardless preferred the absent Scott, which put pressure on Neal's relationship with Laura.
  • Foreshadowing: Scott asks Jack Frost (Santa Claus in the alternate continuity) to repeat the escape clause while arguing with him. Simultaneously, he gets out the microphone pen and records Jack saying the escape clause without him noticing, so that Scott could use it against him later on.
  • Framing Device: The events of the movie are bookended by Carol telling the events of the film to her elf students.
  • Good Costume Switch: When Jack Frost's heart is warmed by Lucy's hug, his suit changes from icy blue to pale gold, and his hair and brows lose the ice in them and become a more natural brunette.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Scott realizes that, without his becoming Santa, his entire family would end up as a bunch of greedy cynics.
  • Kick the Dog: Jack Frost does this several times. Aside from freezing Lucy's parents and exploiting the North Pole when he becomes Santa, there's this unforgettable quote:
    Santa!Jack Frost: Remember, kids. How much your parents love you depend on how much money they spend on your present!
  • Large Ham: Martin Short as Jack Frost hams it up the entire time.
  • Luminescent Blush: Jack Frost has one briefly when Lucy is giving him a hug to warm his heart.
  • Maintain the Lie: Scott is forced to disguise the North Pole as Canada so that he can keep the Secret of Santa in effect while the in-laws visit, and the elves and Millers help keep up the act.
  • Meeting-the-Parents Sequel: Scott and Carol invite her parents to the North Pole. Hilarity Ensues as they attempt to keep his identity a secret.
  • "Near and Dear" Baby Naming: Santa/Scott names his and Mrs. Claus/Carol's new baby son Buddy at the end of the third film, after Carol's father Bud.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Curtis is easily baited by Jack Frost to give away vital information on Santa's snow globe, enabling Jack to take over Christmas. Ironically, in the alternate world, he's actually unintentionally helps Scott defeat Frost.
  • Put on a Bus: Bernard doesn't appear at all, due to David Krumholtz having contractual obligations. Curtis, the Assistant Head Elf from the second movie, takes his place as the Head Elf.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Jack Frost is introduced as part of the Council of Legendary Figures despite being absent from the second film. This is justified by establishing that he doesn't attend the meetings, as noted by Father Time.
  • Rubber-Band History: Scott goes back in time to undo the Bad Future and manages to hold Jack Frost back, letting his past self put on Santa's coat exactly as he did in the original movie.
  • Sadistic Choice: After Lucy catches Jack with Scott's snowglobe and freezing Laura and Neil, he forces her with an ultimatum: either he freezes her as well, or she gets locked up in the closet with them without saying a word. With no choice, she chose the latter.
  • Shovel Strike: When the Escape Clause is invoked, Jack uses Scott's snow shovel to hit the latter in the face before he puts on Santa's coat. It's lampshaded by Scott, who says "You hit me with a shovel!"
  • Song Parody: In the Bad Future, Jack Frost performs a parody of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York".
  • Terminator Twosome: Scott and Jack Frost go back in time to the first movie to fight over the previous Santa's coat so they can become the new Santa.
  • Timeline-Altering MacGuffin: Santa's snowglobe, which is used in invoking an Escape Clause. Jack Frost takes it and convinces Scott to wish he'd never become Santa, which takes them both back to the night where Scott originally became Santa. Jack then steals the previous Santa's suit before Scott can, ultimately creating a Bad Future where he's a Bad Santa.
  • Usurping Santa: Jack Frost wants to take over as Santa rather than be a herald of the winter season.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Jack Frost experiences happiness and warm feelings when Lucy hugs him.
  • Wrote the Book: When Lucy tries to get Jack Frost to chill, he replies that he invented chill.
    Lucy: Okay, okay, chill!
    Jack Frost: I invented chill!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Santa Clause 2, The Santa Clause 3 The Escape Clause


North Pole, North Pole

Jack Frost performs his own version of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" at the North Pole Resort.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SongParody

Media sources: