While driving to work this morning, I was thinking about how many movies and television specials there were dedicated to the concept of saving Christmas. The majority of them, like Santa Claus (1985), The Santa Clause (1994), Elf (2003), and Ernest Saves Christmas (1988), involve somehow rescuing Santa Claus. The Santa Clause, the Ernest movie, and an Amazing Stories episode all involve springing Santa from jail at some point.
As I thought about this, I realized that the point these movies and shows are pushing is that to "save" Christmas, Santa must be allowed to continue to ride his sliegh of "eight tiny reindeer" (well, nine if you count Rudolph) and deliver toys to all the boys and girls of the world. In fact, the story of Rudolph is yet another concerned with saving Christmas by helping Santa.
I know that the perennial legend of Santa Claus is a holiday staple and believing it adds to the fun of Christmas when you are a child (I, myself, was near traumatized when told the truth), but since when did saving the holiday in its entirety mean saving Santa? Elf, while a surprisingly funny movie, suggests that having the Christmas spirit revolves around believing in Santa Claus. Now I realize these are all light-hearted, whimsical confections of entertainment, but maybe there should be a movie with the phrase "saves Christmas" in the title that doesn't have anything to do with Santa Claus. How about a serious movie, well-written movie, as opposed to the multitude of sappy and crappy Lifetime or CBS made-for-tv movies, where Christmas is saved by somebody becoming popular for a simple, selfless act? Or maybe as an added twist, the movie is just about somebody trying to save Christmas, but fails and the selfishness and greed in the world is insurmountable. There wouldn't be a happy ending, I guess, but it'd be realistic.
I guess the main point I'm trying to make here, and maybe you can accuse me of saying something that's been said a thousand times before, is that I'd like to see more movies - more movies for kids - where saving Christmas doesn't involve saving Santa and involves good will and kindness and all that jazz.
Oh, and Christmas is also about the birth of Jesus. Well, actually it's not, but that's a different subject entirely...