Why Santa Claus Always Exists in Christmas Specials

by Alex Ungerman 5:45 PM PST, December 23, 2014
Photo: Getty Images

Kringle lives! (Almost always.)

Let's face it everybody, we live in a world where our childhood is constantly being ruined, we can't watch The Interview on Christmas (well, most of us can't), and there probably really ISN'T a jolly old man who brings presents to the whole world one night a year like all the Christmas specials promised. What a weird, dumb world.

Alright... that's a little harsh, and we do have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season (like adorable kids with British accents gushing over Princess Leia).

Still though, holiday TV shows and movies totally have us beat when it comes to making St. Nick real. This is the story of why that is, as told by the ghosts of Christmas Present, Past, and Future. If you're afraid of ghosts, sorry, but we can't even help you there.

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This week, Saturday Night Live featured a great homage to the massively popular Serial podcast (seriously watch it, Cecily Strong as Sarah Koenig is amazing) where the This American Life spinoff turns it's critical lens to the idea that one man can deliver packages to the whole world in one night.

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Of course the answer is yes (it's Christmas magic!), not just because it's pretend and we can, but because we already know it's not true in real life. We know who really eats the milk and cookies on Christmas eve, and yeah we got over it, but a small part of us is still really bummed we found out.

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How long has it been since you watched The Santa Clause? Parts of the movie don't hold up -- the laughable CGI, the grunty, lifeless reindeer, and the fact that Tim Allen seems completely unaffected by the fact that he's FLYING THROUGH THE SKY in a sleigh.

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

One thing that totally holds up however, is that this guy, Judge Reinhold, the stepdad, is the TOTAL WORST.

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

When you were a kid, you knew this guy was awful because what gives?! Why does this doctor guy want us not to believe in Santa so much? And if you rewatch it as an adult, you will realize that he is still awful, because this is a man who allegedly has a degree in counseling shouting into a child's face that Santa Claus doesn't exist.

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As it turns out (20-year-old spoiler alert!), Judge's character is just still a little bitter, because he asked Santa for a weeny whistle (yes, really, a weeny whistle) as a kid and never got it, and as soon as Tim Allen drops one into his hands from the sky, he stops huffing around everywhere.

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It's a classic Grinch Who Stole Christmas situation. In the real world, our hearts can't grow three sizes (and also if yours does it really shouldn't oh my God, see a doctor), and that little bit of innocence we lost when we found out Santa wasn't real sticks with us. But that's the thing -- these Christmas specials aren't about us. They're for the kids.


People growing up today have a lot to deal with, often at younger, and younger ages. Life is hard sometimes. This 30 to 90 minutes of holiday magic is not the time we have to deal with it. The kids can worry tomorrow. Right now, it’s Christmas (also, don’t forget Hanukkah!). Let the Grinch's heart grow today. Let him impossibly save Cindy Lou Who from careening off of a cliff with a sleigh full of gifts.

Photo: Universal Pictures

Santa... if you're out there, this was probably really existential for you, but it was also pretty nice, and warm-hearted. Please put us on your "nice" list this year (and dear God, get us something better than a weeny-whistle).

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Happy holidays! Check out some of the best Christmas movie lines of all time in the video below.