The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Woeful Santa brings little holiday cheer.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some females are scantily clad.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. 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. 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.
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Videos and Photos
The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)
Based on 1 parent review
I've been watching this since i was a kid and its one of my favorite Christmas movies.
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
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?
Do you like stories like this with animated characters or live ones? Why?
- In theaters: December 8, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: December 8, 2006
- Cast: Chris Kattan, Delta Burke, John Goodman
- Director: Ron Underwood
- Inclusion Information: Middle Eastern/North African actors
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- MPAA explanation: not rated
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
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