The Year Without a Santa Claus

  • Review Date: December 5, 2006
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006

Common Sense Media says

Woeful Santa brings little holiday cheer.
  • Review Date: December 5, 2006
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006

Age(i)

2
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
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15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show uses extreme examples to poke fun at the materialism of Christmas. Santa is stern and grumpy throughout most of the movie. The religious aspect of Christmas is absent from the plot.

Violence & scariness

Some mild comic fighting, including a playful boxing match between brothers where a few characters get knocked around, but there's no lasting injury.

Sexy stuff

Some females are scantily clad.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Many scenes include brandless toys (goth dolls, laser-shooting action figures); characters visit a video arcade at one point. One main character carries a hand-held TV much of the time.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An adult chugs a beer in front of a young boy, and a man in a Santa suit drinks from a flask while tending to a donation can on the street.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Santa Claus in this made-for-TV movie is discouraged by the increasing materialism of Christmas and his belief that no one believes in him anymore, which makes him awfully grumpy for most of the movie and causes him to lash out verbally at others a few times. The humor here is mostly based in the characters' quirky personalities (like a head elf just itching for his chance to step out of Santa's shadow), so little kids will probably miss a lot of it. Families looking for a show filled with jolly elves, Christmas tunes, festive decor, and lots of holiday spirit won't find much of that here.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In this live-action movie, Santa (John Goodman) is frustrated that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost forever. His head elf, Sparky (Chris Kattan), also seems sucked into materialism. Discouraged, Santa decides to take the year off. But while he's making plans to pack up and move with Mrs. Claus (Delta Burke) to Mythopolis -- a retirement community for mythological figures -- two of his elves set out to find someone who can convince Santa that the Christmas spirit is alive and well. They travel to South Town, U.S.A., to find young Iggy Thistlewhite (Dylan Minnette), who is trying to revive the true spirit of the season in his hometown.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Despite boasting such a stellar cast The Year without a Santa Claus is a disappointing mix of a slow plot, poor writing, and subpar visual effects. Chris Kattan's presence is definitely a high point, and his hysterical portrayal of a deviously ambitious elf looking to make his mark on Christmas often carries the scenes he's in.

Families with tweens and teens might enjoy the character-based humor this movie offers, but if your kids are little, they'll probably be turned off by the grumpy, sarcastic Santa and general lack of holiday spirit that exists for most of the show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of showing appreciation. Why is it important to get recognition for a job well done? When have your kids felt that their efforts haven't been appreciated? Kids, when do you think parents felt the same way? Families can also discuss how this movie compares to the book that inspired it, or the animated Rankin-Bass movie that first adapted it in 1974. What portions of the book were changed for the movie? Why do your kids think they made those changes? Did they make the story better or worse? How so? Do you like stories like this with animated characters or live ones?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 8, 2006
DVD release date:December 8, 2006
Cast:Chris Kattan, Delta Burke, John Goodman
Director:Ron Underwood
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:not rated

This review of The Year Without a Santa Claus was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old Written byanimefan November 29, 2008
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

The true magic of 'The Year Without a Santa Claus' is missing from this live-action remake.

Teen, 13 years old Written bymrbookworm01 December 8, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Fine for kids, but not really good

I've watched this on ABC Family and I got so bored, I didn't watch the whole thing. It's pretty boring, and doesn't have much appeal. From what I saw, I saw Santa was grumpy and complaining about his job, and doesn't show the personalities of the other Santas that are in other Christmas specials. It's fine for kids, but they probably won't like it. Violence: Some mild slapstick violence and peril, but nobody gets seriously hurt. Sex: Some women are apparently shown to be clad. Drinking: A character apparently drinks beer in front a young kid and a man in a Santa costume apparently drinks from a flask.

What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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