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The biggest plot hole in every Christmas movie

Christmas movies have one major plot hole. But there might be a lesson for that

Tim Allen as Santa Claus in “The Santa Clause.”
Tim Allen, right, stars as Santa Claus in “The Santa Clause.”
Walt Disney Co.

In “The Santa Clause,” a young boy named Charlie Calvin has a problem — he still believes in Santa Claus, even though all of his childhood peers don’t anymore. So his dad, Scott Calvin, tries to convince him that Santa Claus is real — even though Scott believes Santa is a fictional character.

But, as we all know, this is not the case. Scott and Charlie watch the real Santa Claus fall off their roof. Santa’s reindeer whisk the father and son off to the North Pole where Scott Calvin begrudgingly and passively takes on the duties of Santa Claus.

Charlie — now knowing that the North Pole is real — totally leans into the idea. He pretends to drive Santa’s sleigh one day in his room. He strategizes about Christmas Eve with his father, who he believes to be the real Santa Claus.

Scott, meanwhile, denies it. He thinks the North Pole experience was a dream. And Scott’s not alone. Charlie’s mother and stepfather — Laura and Neil — believe Scott is using the Santa Claus delusion to manipulate Charlie.

Well, time goes by, and soon enough (spoilers), Scott proves to Laura, Neil, the neighborhood kids, the police and, yes, even himself, that Santa Claus is and always has been real.

Thus, we’re privy to one of the biggest plot holes in Christmas cinematic history, one that reverberates through all types of holiday classics. And it begs the question — does Santa Claus exist in movies? Or is it something more?

In “The Santa Clause,” the rules of the world are simple. The world at large does not believe in Santa Claus. But children do. This is a common trope in Christmas movies.

But Santa does exist in the “The Santa Clause” universe. We see him. Scott watches Santa fall off a roof and then becomes him. That implies there have been generations of Santas.

So, all at once, Santa does and does not exist in this world.

How can that be? How can Santa not exist to adults but then be real to children? And if he is real, flying through the sky, wouldn’t someone notice?

OK — let’s pause for a second and review the case of Scott’s ex-wife, Laura Miller. She explains how she stopped believing in Santa when she didn’t receive the Mystery Date board game as a child. It broke her heart so much that she stopped believing in him. And yes, if I were Laura, and I didn’t get my Mystery Date game, too, I, too, would wonder about the existence of Santa Claus. But Santa does exist in this world. So why didn’t she get her Mystery Date that year? Why did Santa neglect her biggest wish? We know he exists, so why didn’t he deliver her gifts?

For sake of argument, let’s say Santa didn’t bring her the Mystery Date as a test to see if Laura was truly faithful to Santa. That’s fine. She failed the test and maybe that’s why she didn’t receive presents anymore. She stopped believing, so the rewards weren’t there.

But this doesn’t tell us anything about the bigger picture. If children are receiving gifts from Santa, why don’t parents believe?

Santa exists in this world and gives gifts to children all over the world in one night. This is a fact of “The Santa Clause” universe that we know to be true since we see Scott do it and the pre-Scott Santa did it, too. We see Scott Calvin carry a canoe down a chimney for a family. One child can’t use a canoe alone. But parents and adults don’t believe Santa is real. So who else do you think brought the canoe?!

I can just picture the summer camp trip now. “Oh, hey, Timmy, remember when this canoe showed up under our Christmas tree and we didn’t think anything of it?”

This is one of the biggest plot holes in Christmas movies — and it spans plenty of them. Adults don’t believe in Santa Claus even though someone is clearly bringing their children gifts. In most of these movies, the third act shows Santa Claus on his delivery run, bringing gifts everywhere (and usually under a deadline created by the film’s villain). Children then wake up and see plenty of gifts under the tree from Santa. They believe. Adults — even though they’re seeing random presents under the tree that they did not order, buy or wrap — don’t think there’s anything amiss. They don’t think anything of it. Again — who do these parents think is bringing their children gifts?

If Santa delivers his gifts, why do all of these parents deny his existence? It. Makes. No. Sense.

But we have to remember — these are often children’s movies (although I would consider not showing “The Santa Clause” to children since it pretty much spoils the whole Santa thing). So maybe the parents don’t see these gifts at all. Maybe adults and parents — basically anyone who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus — don’t see those extra gifts under the tree. Maybe Laura didn’t get an Easy-Bake Oven because she stopped believing. Children will only see their gifts as long as they celebrate Santa Claus.

Maybe the power of Santa comes from our ability to believe. If we have faith in him, then all the magic of the holiday season will be ours to behold.

Maybe it isn’t a plot hole at all — but a message to always believe, for the rewards of belief are worth more than any wrapped gift under the tree.