Santacize: The Ultimate Santa Battle FINAL Round

Noah Thornburgh

The final round begins with the final two contestants standing in the metaphorical ice rink: the joyfully animated Arthur Claus and the loveably rotund Scott Calvin. This round will be done differently from previously rounds, since another play-by-play analysis of the films in question would be needlessly repetitive. Instead, an analysis of the films’ Christmas spirit will be used to determine the most authentic Santacized Santa for this season.

“Arthur Christmas” and “The Santa Clause” start on uneven footing. Arthur is already entangled in the Santa mythos, being part of the family and all. His motivation for a successful Christmas most likely stems from an idealistic upbringing in the North Pole, surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts and affecting letters from children all over the world. It can’t be anything but an advantage over Mr. Calvin, who, although similarly surrounded by toys as a toy manufacturer, has murkier motivations.

Scott’s grounded realism keeps him on the fence with the whole seasonal merriment and joyful generosity thing. He clearly has a desire to make his son Charlie happy, but was doing a pretty poor job until he stumbled into the legal binding of the Santa Clause. From then on, making his son happy seems to be his primary reason for stumbling through Clausical responsibility.

Since both of the contenders Christmases were successfully, points must be given to Scott for having no previous experience. Arthur was, to use a college admissions analogy, a legacy pick for Santa duties. He was an establishment choice; a dynastic continuation; the 21st in a long line of Santas. Scott was chosen by cosmic chance.

On the other hand, for all his lineage, Arthur acted as an anti-establishment agent, working against the diminishing Christmas spirit at the Pole. Without his intervention, Christmas would have been ruined by a missed delivery which most certainly would have remained missed, in light of the older Claus’ apathy towards the one in two-billion child. Points must be given to Arthur for acting in true Christmas spirit over the heads of the establishment Clauses. The contestants remain at even.

Their ability to execute their film’s respective Santa Claus methods are obviously effective. In the epilogue of “Arthur Christmas,” Arthur has taken on the role of Santa with brother Steve continuing to act as the neuron of the operation, implying that under their joint abilities, whatever needs to get done gets done. “The Santa Clause” continues on into two sequels, in which, yes, Christmases are still successful. Points must stay at even.

A telling scene at the end of “Arthur Christmas” perhaps provides a way out of this dead heat. The three male Clauses are hiding in a closet after completing the almost-missed delivery, witnessing for the first time the joy of a child opening a Santa-given gift. Overwhelmed by the sight, Steven and Malcolm are instantly reconciled and turn to watch Arthur, entirely free of any ego that could easily come with being a legendary Claus. Arthur’s spirited drive comes from an entirely unselfish perspective; he is a Santa of service, free of pride. Scott takes pride in his position as Santa, perhaps with a little too much hubris. Not enough to lose points, but enough to fall behind Arthur’s selflessness.

Both films are worthwhile holiday viewings, lending a cheery atmosphere to any Christmas Eve night; But Arthur Claus pulls ahead as the victor with a blend of fighting spirit and selfless joy. Apologies to Scott, whose unexpected Santacization was heroic, but heroic enough to go a little to his head.