In 1994, I was fourteen and angry at the universe. I had started at a new school that year, my freshmen year. I had started high school without a single person that I knew at school. That was the year I really turned to movies to fill my time until I made a few new life long friends at my new school. It was also the year Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee and O.J. Simpson was put on trial for murdering two people. The year was a mess to say the least.
Then, one day in November of that year, I went begrudgingly to a movie with my family. The move to a new town had really put me in a foul teenager mood and a night with my parents wasn’t exactly to my liking. The movie we saw that night was, you guessed it, “The Santa Clause”. It brought a smile to my face in a way that not much else that year could. It’s had a special place in my heart ever since.
A work obsessed divorced father, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), gets his young son on Christmas Eve. In the night, he and his son are awoken by a noise on the roof. When they look outside, Scott finds Santa and his reindeer on the roof. He startles Santa and he falls to the ground, dead. Don’t worry though, the magic of Christmas just causes Santa to disappear leaving only his suit behind. Scott’s son, Charlie, convinces him to play Santa and he puts on the suit.
He and Charlie end up finishing Santa’s deliveries and are taken to the North Pole where the elves inform him that he is the new Santa. When Scott wakes in his own bed the next morning he assumes it was just a vivid dream until he realizes that Charlie remembers it too. Over the course of the next year, Scott gains weight and his hair turns gray. It isn’t until the following Christmas eve when everyone around Scott realizes that he is really the new Santa Clause.
Tim Allen brings a snarkyness to this film that only he can bring. The north pole sets are colorful, a sharp contrast to the main character’s corporate beige lifestyle that adds to his arc as he transitions into Santa, even though he really never asked for it in the first place. He never wanted it but it made him a better person so perhaps change isn’t so bad.
I look back on 1994 as a year of big change in my life, in my family’s life. Had it not been for that big move to a new town and school I might not have moved out of Michigan to go to college. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. I hated the move at the time but now I realize it was one of the best things to happen. It made me stronger. Better. So, I suppose, change really isn’t such a horrible thing.