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Saying “Merry Christmas” is problematic in The Santa Clauses


The Santa Clauses: Apparently, saying

Matilda Lawler, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, Austin Kane, Tim Allen, and Elizabeth Mitchell in The Santa Clauses
Photo: Disney/James Clark (Getty Images)

Ah, the imaginary War on Christmas. It’s a battle conservatives have been fighting for years now, despite the fact that the Christian holiday is alive and well. Mariah Carey is still singing, Hallmark is still churning out movies, and there’s even a new The Santa Clause series on the horizon. Unfortunately, in that parallel universe, Christmas is in some real trouble.

And no, this trouble is not of the fun, goofy, “If we don’t get to the North Pole in time, Christmas is canceled!” variety—at least, not canceled in the traditional sense. In fact, the concerns of Santa in The Santa Clauses seem suspiciously similar to something that anti-woke activist Tim Allen might say. In one scene, his character reportedly complains that “Saying ‘Merry Christmas to all’ has suddenly become problematic.”

Look, we can’t speak for the Santa Clauses cinematic universe. We can only point out that it’s an interesting thing to air on Disney+, the streaming service of a company that is historically pretty friendly to Christmas. What was going on in the minds of the writers as they penned this semi-political one-liner? Deadline asked showrunner Jack Burditt, who also created Allen’s (somewhat polarizing) sitcom Last Man Standing, if the writers went “back and forth” on the “lighting rod” remark.

“Yeah, we did,” Burditt said. “This is something that I just think is silly but then I’m like, I don’t know.” How illuminating! This is the kind of inside baseball talk that really invites you into the mind of a writer.

“I mean, look, we also had a joke at one point where Santa is on his rounds, they’re going in for a landing and somebody’s shooting something up at him,” he adds. “And Noel the elf [who rides with Santa], says something like, ‘A war on Christmas!’ I’m like, yeah, I don’t wanna go that far.”

Didn’t want to go so far as to… actually be kind of funny? That pitch is at least a step up from Santa’s woe-is-me whining. Perhaps the big man needs a “cute yet safe playpen somewhere” to deal with the anxiety that not everyone celebrates his favorite holiday….



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