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The Ending Of The Santa Clauses Explained

This article contains spoilers for "The Santa Clauses."

Between 1994 and 2006, Tim Allen starred in three magical Christmas movies: "The Santa Clause," "The Santa Clause 2," and "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause." The premise of each film is based on a different clause. In the first film, it's the titular Santa Clause that turns Scott Calvin (Allen) into Santa. After sixteen years, Allen returned to his fan-favorite role for the sequel series "The Santa Clauses."

Prior to the premiere of the Disney+ show, viewers last saw Scott living in the North Pole with his wife Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell) and their first child, Buddy "Cal" Calvin-Claus (now played by Austin Kane). The six-part series continues to explore the magical clauses and introduces Scott and Carol's 13-year-old daughter Sandra (played by Allen's real-life daughter, Elizabeth Allen-Dick). When the series kicks off, Scott's Christmas spirit is unusually low, and that — coupled with his discovery of the Successus Clause — soon puts him on the path to retirement.

During the show's promotional run, Tim Allen praised the way the writers were able to pick up loose threads from the original films and connect them to the present. How did that play out on screen? A lot of stuff happens toward the end of the series — stuff that fundamentally changes what we know about the franchise — but we're here to explain it all.

Charlie grew up and had a family

As Scott Calvin's first-born son was around eight years old in the first film, Charlie (Eric Lloyd) was obviously delighted when his father became Santa Claus. The father-son duo would go on to spend many Christmas Eves together, delivering presents all over the world. But, as Charlie got older — and the film series progressed — his role became smaller, to the point where he became more of a supporting character in "The Santa Clause 3." He clearly carried on down that same path in the intervening years, because he's nowhere near the North Pole when "The Santa Clauses" kicks off.

It's not until Episode 2 that viewers learn where Charlie ended up. Now a thirty-something man, Charlie lives an independent life with his wife Marie (Sofia Gonzalez) and their two boys. Marie has no idea that Charlie's father is Santa Claus, so when Scott comes to ask him to take over the family business, she puts her foot down, thinking he works on a fishing trawler.

Scott expects Charlie to jump at the chance, so he's shocked when he tells him he's not interested because he doesn't think it's a good environment for raising a family. To back this up, he calls his half-siblings weird, and the scene suggests that he's not that involved in his dad's magical life anymore. This is all but confirmed when Charlie doesn't reappear in later episodes. It's a surprising twist for Charlie's character, but it does make room for the plot to play out in a different way.

Scott overlooks Sandra as a possible successor

When "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" concluded, it felt like Scott would remain at the North Pole forever, living happily with Carol and perhaps eventually passing on the Santa mantle to one of his sons. However, life had other plans for him. As the levels of Christmas spirit dwindle, Scott feels that the problem must be him. So, he decides that retiring and letting someone younger take over will fix the issue. Plus, he'll have more time to spend with his family, which is what they all want.

When Charlie passes on the big red coat, Scott asks Cal to take on the Santa legacy. That way, they can still keep it in the family. He couldn't be less interested, though, and even crashes the sleigh at one stage, putting Scott in quite a bind. For some reason, Scott overlooks his daughter Sandra as a possible successor. We can only assume it's because of her age, although she is only three years younger than Cal.

Throughout the series, Sanda shows much more interest in the family business than her brother, and there is a moment in Episode 6 when Cal concedes that she's much better at flying the sleigh than him. With this in mind, she probably would have made a great Santa-in-training. Apparently ignorant to this, Scott forges ahead with his retirement plans and opens worldwide interviews for potential replacements before he and his family leave the North Pole for a new life in Chicago.

Simon isn't meant to be Santa

When she realizes that Scott is serious about retiring as Santa, Betty hands him a binder full of potential replacements. First, he interviews Peyton Manning (and makes a crack about how Tom Brady would have been a better choice) before eventually settling on single father Simon Choksi (Kal Penn) as his Santa successor. What's interesting is that Scott's gut instinct is that Simon isn't right for the job. He initially laughs him out of the interview and doesn't even take him seriously until he sees how much he cares for his daughter Grace (Rupali Redd).

While Scott and his family are off (mostly) enjoying their new lives in Chicago, it isn't long before Simon makes a mess of things at the North Pole. His desire for progress, which manifests as a "Christmas Everyday" delivery system, zaps the world of Christmas spirit to dangerously low levels, causing elves to disappear (since that's what gives them life). However, all the blame isn't on "Fake Santa Simon," as Noel (Devin Bright) calls him: Scott shouldn't have retired the way he did. This storyline becomes a commentary on sticking it out when things get tough. The fact that the levels of Christmas spirit kept getting lower without him proved that Scott wasn't the problem, he just needed to try a different approach.

Scott Calvin was chosen to be Santa

While it is immediately evident to the audience, it takes a while for Scott to realize that he shouldn't have given up being Santa. It takes the return of his former head elf Bernard (David Krumholtz) in the penultimate episode to show him the error of his ways. He does this by taking Scott to another realm (which Scott quickly dubs the "Yuleverse") to see the Santas of years gone by. Scott gets the chance to meet one particularly important man, the 17th successor to Saint Nicholas, who he's actually met once before — he's Scott's predecessor, the Santa who fell from his room in Chicago back in 1994.

Since "The Santa Clause," Scott has believed that he became Santa by accident. However, his predecessor (played by Jim O'Heir) reveals that one human man shouting isn't enough to make him fall off a roof and die. It turns out that Scott was handpicked to be the next Santa, and we're shown why: A flashback to his childhood reveals that he was chosen because he's always cared more about giving gifts to other people than receiving them himself. This is, of course, the overall theme of the series, but what this scene actually does is highlight that Scott's true power as Santa has been inside him all along.

The Yuleverse revelation changes things

Scott's time in the Yuleverse isn't that dramatic. In fact, it's pretty comedic in tone. But, it provides "The Santa Clauses" with one of its biggest twists. Knowing that Scott was actually chosen for the job completely redefines the timeline which he and fans thought they knew. Scott truly believed that there was no rhyme or reason to why he became Santa, but Episode 5 reveals that is definitely not the case. As Bernard explains to Scott, all the Santas before him were ethereal beings made from magic, and Scott is the first human Santa. That was a choice his predecessor made.

Tim Allen was really focused on tying up unresolved plot lines from the film franchise (like revisiting Sara, the little girl from the first film). The Yuleverse revelation clears up one of the biggest question marks from the original movie, which was still stuck on Allen's mind — why did the elves not care that the previous Santa had died? Of course, they did care, but he chose that to be his ending and they had actually been preparing for Scott's arrival for a while. Along with confirming that Scott, Carol, Cal, and Sandra were the first human family to live at the North Pole, Bernard explains that all the clauses were created for him, to make his transition easier. None of it was random, like he always thought.

Carol steps out of Santa's shadow

Elizabeth Mitchell has a large character arc in "The Santa Clauses," which she noted she was very excited to explore. She has some funny moments in the show, and some serious ones, too. Some of her scenes see her focus on Mrs. Claus' identity as she goes on a mission to find out why she doesn't have a first name, calling Carol her "before name." Carol is unhappy with the stereotype of her that's been portrayed to the world, which she defines as "void of all personality and appeal and somehow humorless while still providing comic relief." She yearns for more and eventually debunks some of these stereotypes, like in the scene where she takes down all the nutcracker soldiers.

Upon learning that the "Mrs. Clause" title was created for Scott's reign, and that she is actually the first Mrs. Claus ever, Carol realizes that she can make the identity whatever she wants it to be. However, she isn't done calling out sexism in the patriarchal traditions of Christmas just yet. In a subtle moment, amidst all the chaos of the elves returning, she speaks to the Christmas Witch, La Befana. They debrief about Scott's trip to the Yuleverse and comment on the fact that all the Santas he met were men. Carol reclaiming Mrs. Claus' identity shows her starting to step out of Santa's shadow, and with such an impressive mom to look up to, Sandra's future looks bright.

Grace stops her dad from becoming the bad guy

Simon truly believes he is creating something great, but his quest for more starts to turn him into the bad guy. His initial sentiment was good with his desire to bring Christmas to the world every single day, but in doing so, he took away everything that was special about it, like family, love, and the joy of giving. Simon's storyline is an important message about doing the wrong things for the right reasons and how easy it is to lose sight of the things that are most important to you when money and power get in the way. Luckily, Grace is there to stop him from destroying everything, and she reminds him that all she ever needs him to be is her dad.

Although it might not be obvious, this is an incredibly full circle moment which links back to the original movie, since Grace is so reminiscent of Charlie. Their energy, joy, passion, and innocence is nearly identical. Grace has the same belief and blind faith that Charlie had. And, in the same way that Charlie helped Scott become such a great Santa, it's fitting that Grace is the one to show her dad the right path to take — even if that's not becoming Santa. Additionally, she uses the memory snow globe to show him her most special Christmas memories, which is what Charlie uses to convince Scott that he's meant to be Santa.

Scott's love for his family reignites the Christmas spirit

In the season finale, Scott gives an impassioned speech about the importance of family when he believes he has failed to save Christmas. Ironically, the passion, love, and belief found in his speech are exactly what saves Christmas. After his trip to the Yuleverse, Scott's priorities have been clarified and the giving spirit is restored in him. It's a big moment that Tim Allen says touched everybody behind the scenes, too.

This scene links back to one of the earlier Yuleverse scenes, too, when Bernard speaks to all the predecessors who are questioning whether having a human Santa was a good idea. The former head elf explains that even though he didn't think so at first, Scott has been the best Santa he's seen in a thousand years, and it's because he always chooses to be the embodiment of Christmas ideals.

In Episode 6, Scott chooses to live by those ideals again. Even though they'd all but lost hope with the orb looking so dark, in that moment, Scott still chooses to be Santa. That desire never really left him, and he acts generously as he embraces his family, friends, and his former adversary Simon, which restores the orb's Christmas spirit.

Scott finally spends Christmas with his family

One of the main plot lines in "The Santa Clauses" involves the fact that Scott has never spent a proper Christmas with his family since he became Santa, as the job keeps him pretty busy at that time of the year. That's one of the main reasons he wanted to retire, so he could spend more time with them. But after everything that happens, they all agree together that Scott will put the coat back on and they will stay at the North Pole, where they are meant to be. However, this decision is not an agreement to go back to the way things were before — it probably wouldn't even be possible if they tried, since all the characters have changed so much by this point.

Most of all, Scott has a different appreciation for how to approach his role as Santa, and that's what allows them all to spend Christmas together. Even though he chose to retire so he could be a better husband and father, he's since discovered new things about himself that have taught him he doesn't have to give up part of who he is — or do it alone. As he notes, he has "his team" around him. Cal even calls himself Santa-in-training while they're delivering presents on Christmas Eve, bringing his arc full circle.

The Santa Clauses has a moral message for viewers

On the surface, "The Santa Clauses" is little more than a fun tale about Santa's ill-timed retirement, but it's actually so much more than that. The series has strong overarching themes about morality, the importance of giving and not taking, family, and commitment. These themes are present throughout, and most of them are a continuation of the lessons the original film series tried to teach. However, the conversation about consumerism through Simon's arc is especially timely. "I think it's connecting this awesome franchise and character journey to what's happening in the world around us right now," executive producer Jason Winer explained to Screen Rant. "Consumerism is at an all-time high, there's a spirit of 'What can I get?' rather than 'What can I give?'"

By calling Simon's company "Everything Now!" and having him profit from Santa's legacy and delivery system, the series shines a light on overconsumption. This is particularly apparent in the scene where Cal's girlfriend Riley (Ruby Jay) sees, buys, and receives a t-shirt in less than two minutes. It oversimplifies the real-life process, of course, but this is nevertheless an important observation about how the world has changed since "The Santa Clause" hit cineplexes in November 1994. Amazon wasn't even six months old at the time, and buying Christmas gifts for people meant actually going out into the world to handpick something from a store yourself.

The Santa Clauses Season 2 is coming to Disney+

On the same day that the finale was released, Disney+ confirmed that "The Santa Clauses" would be returning for a second season. The show was initially billed as a limited series, but that has since changed. Prior to the announcement, showrunner Jack Burditt was hopeful, telling Deadline, "We did not make it impossible to make a second season. I do think we give a good beginning, middle and end to the season, but we did not close any doors."

In the second season viewers can expect all the main cast to reprise their roles, and we can certainly hope for more guest appearances from the likes of Eric Lloyd and David Krumholtz. Kal Penn, who plays Simon, has already told Collider that he's "super down" to star in the series for as long as possible. His storyline in Season 2 might see him working to amplify the values of giving, making amends for his misplaced enthusiasm in Season 1. It's very possible he'll be back at the North Pole, too. Other visitors to the North Pole might include Cal's girlfriend Riley, assuming she still has her memories of the debut season's events.

Because there are three films for the series to draw on, there are a lot of previous characters to revisit, such as the Council of Legendary Figures, who played an important role in "The Santa Clause 3." There's no confirmed release date yet, but fans will be hoping that Season 2 arrives in time for Christmas 2023.