This Hits Different

29 Years Later, The Mom From The Santa Clause Is The Movie’s Most Relatable Character

Honestly, this woman deserves to be sainted.

Written by Allison Kenien
In the classic Christmas movie 'The Santa Clause,' Laura Miller (Wendy Crewson) and Dr. Neil Miller ...
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

When I watched The Santa Clause as a kid, I thought the mom was a total Scrooge. Laura (Wendy Crewson) doesn't believe that her ex-husband Scott (Tim Allen) is Santa Claus. Throughout the movie, she cuts off his visitation with their son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), and she appears determined to crush Charlie's Christmas spirit. Super Grinchy, right?

Now I'm a parent myself, and well, the movie just hits different. In fact, I realize that I'd absolutely make the same choices as Laura. Sure, this is a nostalgic holiday classic, so you may not immediately agree with that assessment. But let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons The Santa Clause doesn’t sit nearly as well when you rewatch it as a mom.

Scott is a dreadful ex-husband.

The movie starts on Christmas Eve with Scott running late to meet Charlie after a work Christmas party. When he finally breezes in, he barely apologizes for keeping everyone waiting on a holiday. Instead, he insults Laura and her new husband, Neil (Judge Reinhold), at least 10 times in their three minutes together.

It's clear that Charlie likes his stepfather. He defends Neil, saying, "He's smart. He's a doctor." Charlie doesn't have the same warm feelings towards his dad and begs Laura not to leave him. Poor Charlie — of course an 8-year-old boy would fear spending the night with his absentee dad, especially after watching him sling insults.

Later that night, Charlie tries again to defend Neil, a psychiatrist. "He listens to me," Charlie tells his dad. "Yeah, and then he charges you for it," Scott jokes. He's relentless, and it's sad because his son's stepfather is actually a pretty decent guy.

Scott defies Laura's parenting.

When Charlie comes home from school upset that some older kids said Santa doesn't exist, Neil explains that Santa is more of an idea than a person. Scott is upset that he wasn't included in the situation, which is totally fair. But then, after spending Christmas night with Scott, Charlie returns home with a wild story about his dad being Santa and traveling to the North Pole.

Any reasonable person would think that Scott coached Charlie into telling a tall tale just to be contradictory. After all, flying sleighs are ridiculous, right?

When Charlie's Santa story shows up at school and the principal expresses concerns, Scott tells him, "I want to keep this a secret."

Folks, let me say, secrets are no fun. Secrets destroy custody agreements. When Laura finds out Scott's been quietly keeping the delusion alive, she suspends his visitation rights.

Scott's behavior is straight-up creepy.

It wasn't just the secret that caused Laura to cut off visitation. Scott seems to be legitimately insane.

Overnight, he magically gains tons of weight, his hair turns white, and he sprouts an impressive beard. He's a picture-perfect Father Christmas, and any adult would think the man had developed a personality disorder.

Unlike adults, kids don't see any signs of trouble. They see good ol' St. Nick, and they love him! This causes mega problems for Scott when he lets the children at Charlie's soccer game sit on his lap to whisper wishes into his ear.

I know this movie was released in the '90s, but even then, kids sitting on the lap of a random stranger would have raised a red flag. Just imagine catching your ex-husband at the park with a line of kids waiting to climb on his lap. My heart hurts for Laura!

Scott literally kidnaps their son.

Even though Scott has lost custody, he comes to visit Charlie on Christmas Eve. Laura very kindly lets him have a moment alone with Charlie, and when she returns, Charlie is gone.

So, let's recap. Her ex-hubby has been acting bonkers for a year and has disappeared with her son. Cue a mega freakout and alert the SWAT team. To be fair, Charlie does call his mom to say he's fine. It's not all that reassuring, though, because he says, "We're up at the North Pole… I'm helping the elves build a new sleigh."

Eventually, Scott brings Charlie back home, and it becomes clear that he's the real deal. Being an amazing person, Laura forgives everything. I applaud her strength because I'd be ready to commit myself to a psychiatric hospital at this point.

This year as we watch this classic Christmas movie, let's celebrate strong moms like Laura, and let's be thankful that the men in our lives are not living a secret double life as Santa Claus.