Christmas Memories: Santa Claus the Movie

Everyone has a Christmas film that they watch every year without fail. Whether it is to get them into the Christmas spirit or on in the background while decorating the tree, it is not missed. My favourite Christmas film (apart from Die Hard) was one I used to watch most Christmas Day mornings. At around 4 or 5 am I would wake up and excitingly open my stocking. I would feel the heavy lump of presents on my foot and couldn’t wait. Then, after my room was covered in wrapping paper I would go downstairs, turn on the tree lights and watch the 1985 film, Santa Claus: The Movie.

Beginning in the 14th Century where Claus first becomes Santa after being caught in a blizzard after delivering wooden toys he made to children, the elves of the North Pole rescue Claus and his wife and together they start the tradition of Santa’s workshop and Claus delivers presents to all the children throughout the world. The decision to have a list of naughty and nice is given an origin as well the question of how the toys are made. Ambitious young elf Patch (Moore) tries to implement a factory production line that ultimately fails, so he goes out into the world and stumbles across disgraced toy maker B.Z, the fabulously evil John Lithgow who really is on top form here. Meanwhile Santa befriends homeless kid Joe, after he says he doesn’t believe in Christmas. There is a crazy plot involving special reindeer food that helps them fly which Patch uses to make a sweet that is given to everyone for free but due to some issues, Santa has to come to rescue. It feels like a B movie but its just so much to watch, mostly thanks to Lithgow.

When I was younger the film was a tradition. My sister and I had to watch it, sometimes multiple times. But I would also watch it in the early hours on the day. The first time I watched the film wasn’t even at Christmas. I believe it was a few months before and we had taped it off the TV onto a VHS tape (decades ago) and remember knowing who John Lithgow was only because my family loved Bigfoot and the Hendersons and I vaguely recognized Dudley Moore but otherwise this was a new film to devour and that was that. Who knew it would become a tradition that continued in adulthood? There is a slight difference, I don’t get up at 5am anymore, I need my sleep.

I hold Santa Claus: The Movie close to my heart not only because I aspire to be like Lithgow’s B.Z, a warehouse full of dangerous toys and an amazing mahogany desk with leather chair but mainly for nostalgic reasons. It reminds me of when I was young and really truly was excited about Christmas, plus I’m sure we all wanted to do the Super Duper Looper at least once. It is also a fantastic ridiculous story with memorable characters and for me, its Christmas.

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