Christmas movies are a staple of the film industry. Every year, we see a few new ones try desperately to shove themselves into the pop culture consciousness, with only the rare examples actually becoming noteworthy enough for people to remember. Despite a bad track record, the thing that bothers me the most about Christmas movies isn't that they're just generally piss poor to watch, but that they all have one big glaring problem nobody seems to ever acknowledge...
Wait a second, Tony, how can Santa be the problem of a genre of film dedicated to the fictional character? That would be like saying the reason Ghost Rider sucked wasn't because of it's bad script or the cheesy jokes or the bad acting or the lackluster action or the (ok you get the point, Ghost Rider sucked), but because the Ghost Rider character was in it. Not exactly. The problem comes in when you look not at the essence of Santa Claus but the purpose of Santa Claus.
Backstory for those that may not know it: Santa Claus flies around the world in one night's time, sneaks into your house, gives you gifts if you've been good and coal if you've been bad, and that's about it, we don't need to get bogged down in the details. The character is of course a whimsical fantasy that only kids and severely damaged adults believe in, and this transitions to the films as well. Frequently, a Christmas movie will tackle the subject that adults need to be more childlike and stop working at their office job because their ties are strangling them and what we really need in the world is the innocence of youth and to cherish family (and blah blah blah), and it'll do this through a war of beliefs in Santa Claus. Someone doesn't believe, others try to convince them, we find out that Santa was real all along (despite how, you know, he isn't).
The problem comes into play when you look at the time frame before the film starts. Let's say our protagonist is Phil and he doesn't believe in Santa but his stepson (or his biological son that he shares custody with, there's usually some divorce angle thrown in there) does and he's trying to convince him that he's real. The kid's got all the excuses in the world - he's a kid. Kids are dumb. You could tell a young enough kid that if lemonade is made from lemons, orangeade from oranges, and limeade from limes, that Gatorade is made from squeezing the juice out of alligators, and they'll probably believe you. The kid doesn't know that Phil's been buying the gifts all the time.
But what about Phil? What the fuck does Phil think when his kid suddenly has gifts all these years that he never bought and never placed under the tree? Did Phil, every single year, just think to himself that he must have completely forgotten buying all those toys, wrapping them, putting them out there when he was decorating, and so forth? What about every other person in the world? All of those people have been getting gifts from Santa for years and it isn't common knowledge that Santa exists? EVERYBODY either thinks they've got amnesia and they never bring it up to anybody else they know, or they do and Phil has just been utterly oblivious to this fact of life for a few decades? That's beyond living under a rock.
The only way that this proof of Santa's existence doesn't become common knowledge is if there are no gifts every year that confuse the parents. If the parents never see any gifts that they didn't buy, then of course they would think Santa doesn't exist - because Santa never gives people any gifts to show any bit of existence. That's even more clear cut than the God/miracle thing as those are open to interpretation but you damn well know whether or not you had an extra physical item you unwrapped. Thus, if Santa isn't giving out any of these gifts, to anybody, ever...well, Santa's kind of a pointless douche, now isn't he? That would by default mean either everyone in the world was naughty and Santa figured "fuck it, no coal, that's too much work for negative reinforcement" or Santa just decided to be lazy and ignore all the good people.
Which one is it - do all of the parents in the entire world always neglect and turn a blind eye to these magical gifts that continually show up every year in Santa Claus fashion that they then deny fitting the Santa Claus description, or is Santa not doing his job and therefore, these kids shouldn't be so excited about him existing in the first place because he's a dick?
See...this is why I watch Home Alone every year instead.
|Not pictured: Tim Allen|