Depending on whether you believe the box or the title screen, my favorite Christmas movie from my childhood is called “I Believe in Santa Claus” or “Here Comes Santa Claus”. I’m sure that’s part of why it took me so long to find it when I went searching as an adult.
Yes, that’s an affiliate link. Do I even have to say that? Anyway, it took me YEARS to find this movie as an adult, so I’m linking right to it on Amazon, which is where I got it.
First, let me start off by saying that if you want a high-quality fantastic movie that makes sense, this movie is not for you! I used to watch this as a kid in the 1980s on our video player and, let me tell you, this sure brings back that experience. I imagine the DVD was created from a tape sitting in somebody’s basement because the quality is just dreadful. This movie was made in 1984 and was a low budget French film called “J’ai Recontre Le Pere Noel” that has been dubbed into English. Badly. But I love it. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I think even today’s kids would love it.
My husband sat on the couch and kept going, “What? This makes no sense!” I asked him to describe it, “It’s like a play put on by a community center with a $5000 budget. I don’t know. It’s not bad. But it’s different. Very different. The only other thing I could say about that movie is that it is very European.”
This movie follows the story of Simon, whose parents are being held as political prisoners in Africa. Because it was the 80s, I assume. They never tell us why. As a child, I didn’t question it. Your kids probably won’t either. Just remember it was the 80s and go, “Okay. I accept it.” I’m not sure that Simon knows exactly where his parents are. That part is very fuzzy, but the important part is that all Simon wants for Christmas is for his parents to come home.
Simon’s school class goes on a field trip to the airport (yes, you heard that right) and Simon and one of his friends, Elodie, end up on a plane bound for Rovaniemi to see Santa Claus. (This made no sense to me – everyone knows Santa lives at the north pole! Not so in some places, I guess. That’s right, Santa lives in the Laplands in Finland.)
And it’s at this point that I must backtrack. There’s a mean janitor at Simon’s school (stay with me, this is relevant) who, at one point, locks Simon in the cupboard and says he’s going to eat him for Christmas dinner. But Simon’s teacher is nice. Very nice.
Okay, back to the Laplands. In the Laplands, the kids encounter an Ogre, played by the same actor as the guy who plays the Ogre. Is it meant to be Ogre? I’m still not sure. Likewise, there’s a good fairy. Played by the very nice teacher. Or maybe just the actress?
Also: there are songs! At weird and almost inappropriate times. And children being kidnapped. And Santa. And weirdness. Did I mention this film is weird? This film is weird.
I highly suspect this movie was MEANT to be a comedy in some ways. But I think it’s funny in ways it didn’t mean. It’s magically dreadfully funny, but still absolutely amazing. And you should watch it.
I leave you with two scenes from the movie:
The teacher sings on the bus:
The teacher as fairy or little red riding hood or whatever she’s supposed to be. Stay through it to the end, because you’ll see some “high-quality acting”: