Starring: Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader, Billy Eichner, Ron Funches, Julie Hagerty, Shirley MacLaine, Brayan Brendle, Maceo Smedley, Michael Gross, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Chelah Horsdal, Anna Van Hooft, Anthony Konechny
OUR RATING: ★★½
Disney+’s fantasy adventure comedy written and directed by Marc Lawrence. After Santa prepares to retire and pass on the reins to his son Nick Claus (Bill Hader), Nick ends up getting cold feet prior to his first big Christmas Eve flight and abandons his job completely. The story then follows his sister, Noelle (Anna Kendrick), who is forced to face the world outside the North Pole for the first time to look for Nick and convince him to return to his duties. At the same time, their ill-prepared cousin, Gabriel Kringle (Billy Eichner), steps up and prepares to turn Santa’s workshop into an online delivery service.
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Noelle Kringle: When I was little girl, Christmas Eve was my favorite night of the year. I’d wait up with my brother for Santa. Sometimes we would fall asleep, but I’d be dreaming of presents. I really love presents.
[as young Noelle catches Santa delivering presents] Young Noelle: So, I see you have some presents… Kris Kringle: Oh, I do. Um, have you been naughty or nice this year? Young Noelle: In my personal opinion, very nice. Kris Kringle: Well, let me check my list. [he pulls open his scroll] Kris Kringle: Oh! Oh! I’m, checking it twice. Young Noelle: Dad! You know I’m nice. [Santa laughs] Kris Kringle: Give me a hug. [she gives Santa a hug]
[after Nick receives the Santa hat as a present from his father, Santa] Kris Kringle: Congratulations, my boy. It’s time to start your Santa training. Mrs. Claus: Try it on. [young Nick tries on the Santa hat and it’s too big for his head] Young Nick: I’m not sure this fits. Kris Kringle: It will fit you when you fit it.
Kris Kringle: Well, what do you want to do? Young Noelle: I would like to do what you do. Kris Kringle: You mean, be Santa? Young Noelle: No, Nick is Santa. But I would like to help decide what toys to make, and fly the sleigh, and do something really important. Kris Kringle: You do, Noelle. You make everyone jolly with your cards, and your Christmas cheer, and you know how much your brother depends on you. So you can help him, and always keep his Christmas spirit up. [Noelle looks a little disappointed] Young Noelle: Sure. I can do that. Kris Kringle: I’m counting on you.
Noelle Kringle: Now that I’m grown up, Christmas is still my favorite time of the year. Although, this Christmas is a sad one. Dad passed away five months ago, and I miss him every day. But Dad always told us that Christmas must go on, especially for us Kringles, because for two thousand years, our ancestors have been the Santas that bring joy to children all over the world. And now it’s my big brother’s turn, as Nick becomes the twenty-third Kringle to wear the red hat.
Noelle Kringle: And as for me, I’m still making my cards and spreading Christmas cheer, just like dad told me to. I don’t know what everyone would do without me.
Elf Polly: Morning, princess. Noelle Kringle: Thank you, but I don’t want breakfast. Elf Polly: Yes, you do. Noelle Kringle: I’m very busy. Elf Polly: I have been out in the forest, chopping firewood, carting it on my back, so that I could heat up the cottage and make your breakfast waffles, while I picked up all the dirty clothes, but none of that’s really been a problem. Noelle Kringle: I don’t need you to do any of that stuff. Honestly. Elf Polly: You would starve and die if it weren’t for me. Noelle Kringle: That’s what you think. [as she takes a bite of her breakfast] Noelle Kringle: Oh, my garland. This is delicious. Oh, my Partridge In a Pear Tree underwear needs washing. Elf Polly: Oh, well, then my Christmas wish has been granted.
Elf Carol: We know it’s been a whirlwind preparation since your father, and our dearly beloved Santa Nicholas, passed away. How is your brother doing? Noelle Kringle: So jolly. We’re all very proud of him. Elf Carol: And the big question is, will he be ready by Christmas? Noelle Kringle: Of course. He’s a Kringle.
[after Nick has another disastrous Santa training] Noelle Kringle: Oh, Cousin Gabe, I’m sorry. Did you just refer to him as Cousin Nick? Shouldn’t you be calling my big brother Santa? Gabriel Kringle: Oh, I’m sorry. I just thought that since we are all family, that… Noelle Kringle: Well, he’s Santa to you, he’s Santa to everyone. He’s even Santa to himself. Nick Kringle: Well, actually, I’m pretty informal when I’m alone. I’m just Nick. Mrs. Claus: Alone. That’s a jolly idea. Why don’t we all just give Santa a moment.
Mrs. Kringle: [to Noelle; referring to Nick] This is not going well at all.
[to Noelle, who is helping him train to be Santa] Nick Kringle: How am I supposed to know which is the right present to give each child? If I haven’t determined who’s naughty or nice, how can I pick their present? You see, it’s kind of a vicious circle.
[as Noelle continues to train Nick to be Santa] Noelle Kringle: This is the list. It’s filled with names. Some are nice, and some are naughty. Some of the names haven’t been filled in yet, and that’s going to be your job, okay? Dad always said, “It’s not about what the kid looks like. It’s what’s on the inside that’s important. You need to connect with their heart.” Nick Kringle: Oh, I love that. How’s that done? Noelle Kringle: I have no idea. Just focus really hard, I guess?
[trying to help Nick determine what kids are naughty or nice, Noelle holds up a photo of a smiling girl] Nick Kringle: Uh, nice. Noelle Kringle: She cheated on every math test she ever took. [Noelle holds up a photo of an angry looking kid] Nick Kringle: That’s a stocking full of coal if ever I’ve seen one. Noelle Kringle: Yeah. He saved a kitten from a tree, after visiting his grandmother in the nursing home. Nick Kringle: So, nice?
[as Nick is practicing going through a chimney] Noelle Kringle: You’re almost in. Look how good you’re doing! Nick Kringle: I don’t want to do this. No! Noelle Kringle: This is great! This is great! Let it happen! Nick Kringle: No! No! [Nick falls through the chimney and we hear him crash landing] Noelle Kringle: Great job, buddy. That looked great. You okay? Nick Kringle: No!
Nick Kringle: I feel like I’ve been shivering my whole life, you know? Sometimes, I dream about getting out and finding someplace warm, where I can stretch, and relax, and just breathe, you know? Noelle Kringle: Then you should. Nick Kringle: How? I’m Santa. You know, I don’t get a vacation. I don’t even get Christmas off. Noelle Kringle: Well, you can’t be Santa if you’re having a nervous breakdown. Nobody wants you sliding into their fireplace crying and weeping. Nothing merry about that. Nick Kringle: I can’t go down chimneys. I’m claustrophobic.
Noelle Kringle: You remember those magazines dad used to bring me on Christmas? Nick Kringle: Yeah, like People? That’s how I found out Jennifer Aniston’s nice. Noelle Kringle: Yeah. Travel And Leisure had those sections about the perfect Christmas getaway. You know, warm weather, swimming pools, sun-kissed mountains. You need to look in that magazine, pick a place, get away for the weekend. And bring me back some issues while you’re down there.
Elder Elf Abe: For the first time in two thousand years, a Santa has disappeared, at the urging of his sister, Noelle. Noelle Kringle: I just said he should take the weekend off. Elder Elf Billy: You put Christmas in jeopardy, young lady.
Elder Elf Abe: As Christmas is just six days away, we must have a new Santa. Noelle Kringle: Wait. What about a rescue mission? My brother could be hurt. He might’ve fallen out of the sleigh. I’ve seen him do it. Elder Elf Abe: No one but Santa has ever left the Pole, and we have no idea where Santa is. We could lose the sleigh, or the reindeer. Then there would be no Christmas. No, a rescue attempt is far too dangerous. Leaving me no choice but to call upon Gabriel Kringle. Gabriel Kringle: Me? Elder Elf Abe: Please, approach the council. Gabriel Kringle: But I’m in the Tech department, and loving it! Elder Elf Billy: Nevertheless, you must approach, because we must select the next adult male Kringle as specified by the Christmas covenant. Elf Polly: That’s not exactly what it says… Noelle Kringle: Shh. They’re elder elves. They know what they’re talking about. Elf Polly: Please.
Mrs. Claus: Noelle, why did you tell your brother to leave? Noelle Kringle: I thought he would come back. Mrs. Claus: You didn’t think about how he listens to you, and how your advice affected Christmas and all the children in the world. Noelle Kringle: I just said, “Take the weekend.”
Elf Polly: Princess, for once in your life, try cleaning up your own mess. Noelle Kringle: How do you suggest I do that? [reads from one of Noelle’s travel magazines] Elf Polly: “Take a journey to a better you.”
[taking out Santa’s sleigh] Elf Polly: Princess, do you mind telling me what you’re doing? Noelle Kringle: I’m going to get my brother, and you’re coming with me.
[after they end up in Phoenix in the middle of a mall] Mall Security Guard: What do you think you doing? Noelle Kringle: Hi, I’m Noelle. Mall Security Guard: Stay right where you are. Noelle Kringle: We are looking for Santa Claus.
Gabriel Kringle: What if not having the sleigh or the reindeer is a blessing in disguise? Mrs. Claus: I don’t think so. Gabriel Kringle: This could be the perfect time to start an online delivery platform. Mrs. Claus: I don’t think so. Gabriel Kringle: But what if the reindeer have Lyme disease? What if an asteroid crashes into the sleigh? These are real concerns, statistically speaking, and I think our customers deserve better. Mrs. Claus: We don’t have customers. We have children who need the magic of a Santa coming down the chimney, and arranging each present with love and care under the tree. Gabriel Kringle: Okay, well, now you sound like a crazy person. Mrs. Claus: Gabe, aren’t you even worried about your cousins, Nick and Noelle, and Polly? Who knows what terrible things have happened to them?
Noelle Kringle: Okay. Let’s go find my brother. Elf Polly: Hold on. Someone has to stay and keep an eye on Dasher and company. They’re used to a strict regimen of North Pole hay and training. So, who knows what will happen when they’re faced with temptation? Noelle Kringle: So, you want me to go out there alone? Elf Polly: No, you go out there and you be merry, and you don’t tell anybody who you are, or where you came from. And always be ready to run away.
[to the street Santa, who’s wearing shorts] Street Santa: Fifty percent off everything. The more you buy, the merrier you are. Noelle Kringle: Sir, it’s a privilege to wear that suit. Put some pants on. [the Santa just looks at her, pulls down his beard and takes a bite out of his pizza] Noelle Kringle: So naughty.
[Noelle goes to the Phoenix Santa School and shows a photo of Nick dressed in a Santa suit] Noelle Kringle: Have you seen this man? Omar: Mm-mm. Definitely not one of ours. Cheap suit, no one’s going to believe that.
[Noelle goes to see private investigator, Jake] Jake Hapman: Why are you so red? And why are you wearing a winter hat and mittens in Phoenix? Noelle Kringle: Because it’s an ensemble. But I’m here because I’m looking for my brother. I’m worried something might have happened to him. Jake Hapman: Like what? Noelle Kringle: Uh, well, my father ran a business, and after he passed, my brother was supposed to take over, but he left and came to Phoenix, because he said he needed to breathe, and stretch, and relax. But we have to find him because I know, in his heart, he wants to run the family business. Jake Hapman: I find most people, they don’t know what’s in their own hearts, let alone anyone else’s. That’s if they even have a heart in the first place. Noelle Kringle: Oh. That’s pretty stocking half empty. Jake Hapman: Yeah, well, I’m a private detective. You get “stocking half empty” pretty quick.
[after Noelle figures out that Matt is nice and he lets Jake borrow his phone] Noelle Kringle: Noelle Kringle. I hope you get what you want for Christmas this year. Matt Bautista: Matt Bautista. I’m actually a Buddhist. Noelle Kringle: Oh, jolly! My dad always said, “Christmas is like sushi, the Japanese invented it, but now everybody loves it.” Matt Bautista: Well, I do love sushi.
[watching Gabe’s ad on TV] Gabriel Kringle: Merry Christmas, Elf-folk, it’s Santa. Santa Gabe. As you may know, my cousin Nick, the ex-Santa, never completed the Nice or Naughty list, but that’s jolly. Because it allowed us to develop FALALA. Forensic Algorithm for Lateral Analysis of Latent Altruism. It’s a digitized metric which allows us to determine a child’s Nice or Naughty quotient. For instance… Mrs. Claus: Holy night. Gabriel Kringle: This is Kali from Brooklyn. Using his internet activity, school records, and satellite surveillance, FALALA was able to ascertain that he is Nice. And he wants a PlayStation. We’re now standardizing all packages in green, red, or the best of both, swirl.
Noelle Kringle: [to the mall manager] Hi, Helen. Can I have a hundred and fifty dollars a day, please?
Helen Rojas: I can’t give you a hundred and fifty dollars in cash. But I can give you a hundred and fifty dollars in retail merchandise. What would you like? Bath Bar, Cinnabon, Chrysler Pacifica? Noelle Kringle: I don’t know what those things are, but I will take all of them. Also, can we stay here tonight?
Elder Elf Abe: Santa, we’re still not clear how you plan to deliver billions of presents with no sleigh or reindeer. Gabriel Kringle: First of all, there aren’t actually billions of presents, Elder Elf Abe. Our research indicates that there are only two thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven nice children in the world. Mrs. Claus: Gabe, how is that possible? Gabriel Kringle: Nearly every child fibbed, refused to eat their vegetables, or failed to practice proper dental hygiene. Elves: [singing] Joy to the world, except for you because you forgot to floss Mrs. Claus: Oh, no, you can’t measure a child like that. Everyone makes mistakes. Gabriel Kringle: Which is why each naughty child will be receiving an evaluation notice, explaining the decision and encouraging them to do better next year.
Noelle Kringle: So, Alex, are you excited about Christmas? Alex Hapman: I have mixed feelings, honestly. Noelle Kringle: About Christmas? How’s that possible? Alex Hapman: It’s complicated. Noelle Kringle: Maybe you’re just not eating enough. Alex Hapman: I can’t. It’s terrible. The eggs are rubbery, the bacon is burnt on the outside, and raw in the middle. Pancakes bounce, I don’t even know what that is, and there’s no seasoning. Noelle Kringle: Would you like a candy cane? Alex Hapman: No, I have to eat this. I don’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings, he worked hard on it.
Noelle Kringle: None of this make sense. What kind of world is this? This is awful. You have people without homes and food, and I’m so hot. God! Uh, do you have any ice in this town?
[after a shopper finds Noelle in the store’s freezer as she tries to cool herself] Noelle Kringle: I like your pants, they’re jolly. Yoga Pants Customer: Yeah. They’re yoga pants, like yours. Noelle Kringle: Yes. And these are my yogurt pants. [the shopper does a yoga pose] Yoga Pants Customer: No. Yoga pants. Noelle Kringle: Oh, yeah. I love yogurt pants. [Noelle imitates the shopper’s pose] Yoga Pants Customer: Never mind. Noelle Kringle: [giggles] Okay. Bye. [to Alex] Noelle Kringle: She was weird, right?
Alex Hapman: Where are you from? Noelle Kringle: Uh, a little town up north. Alex Hapman: You mean Canada? Noelle Kringle: Canada wishes.
[Noelle finds Nick teaching a yoga class] Nick Kringle: Now assume downward facing reindeer. Very good, Cindy. Pete? [Nick screams as he sees Noelle]
Nick Kringle: No, listen. I’m not going back. Noelle Kringle: I’m sorry, I must have cotton candy in my ears. Nick Kringle: No. I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not anymore. I could, but I start to break out in a rash, and my hair starts to… Noelle Kringle: Okay, Nick, I understand. You know, you’re under a lot of pressure, and I know what it’s like to be a Kringle, this family legacy we have to live up to. Nick Kringle: Not exactly the same thing. Noelle Kringle: Well, I am Santa’s daughter, so.
Nick Kringle: Well, no one’s ever expected anything of you, Noelle. I mean, I’ve been training to be Santa my whole life. While you’ve been, what? Cutting ribbon, and making your silly cards? Noelle Kringle: I thought you liked my cards. Nick Kringle: I do. I do. I’m sorry I said that. I do like your cards. They’re very creative. I admire your shakti. Noelle Kringle: My what? Nick Kringle: Your female energy.
Nick Kringle: Besides, you’re the one that told me to go. You said, you said, “Go! Take some time.” Noelle Kringle: I said take the weekend! Nobody listens to me! You know how hard this has been? Everybody at home is blaming me, and yelling at me, and nobody’s giving me my Kringle discount anymore. Nick Kringle: Okay, so it doesn’t matter that I’m finally happy, or that me leaving the Pole was the best thing that I could’ve done for Christmas. All that matters is what’s happening to you. Noelle Kringle: Oh, you better not pout, you better not cry. All I have ever done is try to help you. You know what you are? You’re a coward who’s too afraid to be Santa Claus! Nick Kringle: Exactly! Bingo! Partridge in a Pear Tree! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! Noelle Kringle: Then I guess, that’s all there is to say.
Nick Kringle: Wait, where are you going? Noelle Kringle: I’m going to the North Pole where nobody expects anything from me. Nick Kringle: Do you know what? If I wasn’t so enlightened, I’d be seething with anger right now. Noelle Kringle: Oh, ho! Nick Kringle: Yeah! Noelle Kringle: Oh, so now you don’t like my shakti? Nick Kringle: No. Noelle Kringle: You don’t like my female energy? Is this too much for you? Nick Kringle: Relax. Noelle Kringle: Oh, I’ll give you female energy. [starts looking around] Noelle Kringle: Oh! Get ready, because I… Nick Kringle: Don’t do that. Please. [Noelle blows out the candle next to the Buddha statue] Nick Kringle: Wow. That’s a big deal in here.
Elf Polly: Who are these people? Noelle Kringle: Oh, Jake, Alex. This is Elf… This is my aunt, Polly. She plays an elf in the show. A grumpy, bitter, miserable elf. Jake Hapman: I thought elves were supposed to be like, uh… Elf Polly: Cute? That’s a common misconception.
[after saying goodbye to Jake and Alex] Noelle Kringle: Oh, I hope their Christmas works out. Elf Polly: Oh, well, look at you. Worrying about someone else’s Christmas and not your own. Now that is very mature. Noelle Kringle: Thank you, Polly.
[as she’s walking with Snowcone, a young flying reindeer, in order to find Nick again] Noelle Kringle: Just walking my dog. Just walking my dog, you know. His name is Rover. Which is a dog’s name.That’s why I named him that. It’s a very rare breed. He’s a white Polar Poodle.
[after Nick comes to see her at the mall] Nick Kringle: Look, what’s happening at the Pole is very naughty. I can’t be Santa. Noelle Kringle: Listen, the Santa that they hired isn’t here yet. Just sit with a couple of kids, you’ll feel The Twinkle. I know you will. And if you don’t, no more pressure. I will leave you alone. I almost promise. Nick Kringle: I can’t, Ellie. Noelle Kringle: Nick Kringle, this is in your blood. It’s in your stars. It’s in your destiny. Nick Kringle: I left the suit in the North Pole. Noelle Kringle: Well, that’s a problem, Nick. Come on.
[Nick and Noelle are dressed in a mall Santa and elf suit] Noelle Kringle: This costume is ridiculous. Nick Kringle: I don’t see any difference from what you usually wear. Noelle Kringle: Excuse me? Nick Kringle: Or… Noelle Kringle: You think I look like this all the time? That’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said to me.
[as Noelle is helping Nick train by being a mall Santa] Nick Kringle: And have you been a good girl? Tonya: I really don’t see how that’s your business. Nick Kringle: You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. That was over the line. Um, let’s say you were a good girl, what do you want for Christmas? Tonya: Why? You’re going to get it for me? A pathetic mall Santa? Noelle Kringle: You’re right. He’s not going to get it for you. Because you were so mean to Jennie Stalts just because she has a lisp.
[referring to Noelle’s correct statement about Tonya’s naughty behavior to her friend] Nick Kringle: How did you know about Jennie Stalts? Noelle Kringle: She had a Jennie Stalts vibe, I don’t know. Nick Kringle: Usually, it takes people years of yoga to get that kind of awareness.
[opening up to Jake] Noelle Kringle: My dad was Santa Claus, he was great. Every Christmas Eve, he would slide down the chimney. He could’ve come in the front door, but he wanted to give us the full treatment. And Nick and I would peek out from our rooms, and I would always say I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus. And then dad would sit with us, and tell us about his night, and that was my favorite present. And then, Elf Polly, now Aunt Polly, she would take us to bed. Six months ago, dad died, so, Nick became Santa, and he was feeling overwhelmed, so I told him that he should take some time off, get away for a while. And he wound up here, and now he wants to stay and do yoga. And, um, everybody in the North Pole is really mad at me. So, I took the sleigh and the reindeer to bring him back. [Jake looks at her skeptically] Jake Hapman: Alright, thank you for being so nice to Alex. [he gets up to leave] Jake Hapman: Good luck, Kringle. Merry Christmas.
[after Noelle is arrested accidentally hurts a police officer] Nick Kringle: Look, my sister didn’t mean any harm, okay? She just, she used to beat me up for fun all the time. She’s just having fun, okay? She’s fun-loving. Desk Sargeant: Well, I guess that’s why she assaulted a cop. And she’s talking about crazy things like the North Pole and elves. Elf Polly: What’s so crazy about elves? Desk Sargeant: They’re holding her for psychiatric evaluation. Nick Kringle: But tomorrow is Christmas Eve though. Desk Sargeant: Thanks for the reminder. I still got to shop. Nick Kringle: You still need to shop? Well, you know, I can get you whatever you want. You know, straight from the workshop. You want a My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle playset? Done. I’ll get it for you, with accessories. Desk Sargeant: I don’t have any kids. Elf Polly: What a shock.
[Polly goes to visit Jake] Elf Polly: Now, I see she told you, and I see that you don’t believe her. Jake Hapman: That she lives in the North Pole? No. I tend to believe what I can see. Elf Polly: Well, if that’s the only problem. [Polly pulls her head scarf back from one ear to reveal her elf shaped ear] Jake Hapman: Oh! You should get that looked at. Elf Polly: Let me ask you a question, Detective. Can you see love? Can you see sorrow? Can you see joy? Is there anything realer than that? Like what you feel for your boy? [Jake looks over the Alex packing his bag] Jake Hapman: How can I help? Elf Polly: Get her out of that hospital, and I will take care of the rest.
[as Noelle is have a psyche evaluation at the hospital] Dr. Shelley Sussman: And where are you from? Noelle Kringle: The North Pole, and my dad is Santa Claus, and now my brother is Santa Claus. You can start laughing now. Dr. Shelley Sussman: Well, I’m not going to laugh, Noelle. I’ve dealt with many patients who have unusual identities. I treat a man who believes he’s the tooth fairy. Noelle Kringle: Well, that’s ridiculous. Dr. Shelley Sussman: And a woman who’s certain she’s Mother Nature. Noelle Kringle: Wow. Some real nuts out there. Dr. Shelley Sussman: And I have another patient who’s convinced he’s Frosty the Snowman. Noelle Kringle: Frosty’s here? No, no. Come on. Nice try. Frosty couldn’t survive in Phoenix. At home, he doesn’t even go indoors. He’s terrified of fireplaces. He’s a drama queen. I miss that guy.
Noelle Kringle: You know, the thing is, I just thought this was my chance to do something right. You know, I wanted to prove I’m not some spoiled princess who just thinks about herself, and writes her silly cards all day, you know? I always thought, eventually, I’d do something important.
[as Jake comes to help break her out of the hospital] Noelle Kringle: Wait, so you believe what I told you? Jake Hapman: I believe that you believe. But if we’re going to get you out of here, you got to stop talking about the North Pole, and Santa Claus. Noelle Kringle: Yeah, and sleighs. Jake Hapman: And sleighs. [he looks over to the window and sees Polly and Nick in the sleigh hovering outside the window] Jake Hapman: Oh! Noelle Kringle: What? What? Oh, the sleigh. Well, you’ve seen the sleigh before. You saw the sleigh at the mall. You haven’t seen it hovering eleven stories up, that’s the only difference.
[after they return to the North Pole and face the council] Nick Kringle: Uh, I know I let you all down, but while I was away, I learned what it takes to be Santa. It’s about understanding people, and, uh, and really listening to what they have to say. And just making everyone feel jolly. Which is why I know that we have a real Santa right here in the Pole. My sister, Noelle. Noelle Kringle: What?
Elder Elf Abe: I rechecked the Christmas covenant. And it turns out there’s nothing there that says a woman can’t be Santa. It’s just a tradition we’ve been blindly following for thousands of years. These things happen. Elder Elf Billy: Oh, man! Elder Elf Abe: The question is, what really makes a Santa? Ultimately, the one thing all Santas share is the ability to inspire us with the Christmas spirit. Noelle, can you inspire us? What does Christmas mean to you?
Noelle Kringle: I used to think Christmas was the best day of the year. Presents and caroling. But I met people for whom it isn’t the best day, because it reminds them they don’t have enough food to eat, or a place to live. Or maybe even someone to share the day with. And it got me thinking. For thousands of years, we’ve jingled bells and delivered toys, and the world just gets more awful and miserable. So what’s the point? But I also met a girl at a shelter who drew these beautiful pictures, and her Christmas wish wasn’t for herself. It was for her mother to be able to find a job. And I met a woman at a marketplace who worked so hard to fill Christmas with fun and music, even though she knew she might not have anyone to spend it with herself. And I met this sweet, wonderful boy, who has this big heart. And his father, who doesn’t even believe in Christmas, but made sure we could be home for it.
Noelle Kringle: We have this list of nice people from Hong Kong to Houston doing wonderful selfless things. And I know Christmas can’t solve all our problems. But it gives us hope. It inspires us to be nice. That might not seem like much, but when someone’s sad, or just lonely, it can be the biggest thing in the world. And presents are part of it. I like presents as much as anybody. [Polly looks at her knowingly] Noelle Kringle: Okay, more. But now, I think it’s not just about the presents we get. It’s about the presents we give. The presents of love and understanding.
[referring to the large Santa suit she’s wearing] Noelle Kringle: I’m not sure about this. Mrs. Claus: You know how it works. It fits you when you fit it. Sweetie, you have nothing to be nervous about.
[as she’s about to take off to deliver presents] Noelle Kringle: I don’t know if I’m ready, Polly. You know what I’m really scared of? Some kid’s going to wake up, and look at me, and say, “You’re not Santa.” Elf Polly: From the first moment that I held you in my arms, I could see something in your eyes, and I said to myself, “This girl has The Twinkle.” You’re ready. [Noelle hugs Polly]
[as Noelle is finishing her route of delivering presents and her too big Santa suit now fitting her] Noelle Kringle: Sometimes, all you need is a nice word from a friend to make you feel comfortable in your own boots. But once that happened, I was ready to go to work. I went back to Greece, and visited a few other places I’d missed, and then I made sure to keep a promise I’d made to Alex.
[we see Noelle delivering Jake to Alex by giving him a ride in her sleigh] Noelle Kringle: Your stop, I believe. Jake Hapman: Yeah. Aren’t you supposed to bring Alex a Christmas present or something? Noelle Kringle: I did. He’s sitting right next to me. Jake Hapman: I don’t know if this is a great idea. I mean, I don’t want my ex and her husband to feel weird. Noelle Kringle: Traditions change. Right? The new ones are scary. But they might be great. And if you know what Christmas means to you, the tradition is just the wrapping. Jake Hapman:Christmas means spending time with Alex. Noelle Kringle: There you go. That’s jolly! Okay! Now get in there. I’m serious. You get one ride. Get out. Out, out, out. Go. Jake Hapman: Okay. Noelle Kringle: I’m very busy. A very busy woman. Jake Hapman: Pushy Santa.
Jake Hapman: So, will I see you again? Noelle Kringle: Every December 24th. [he extends his hand to her for a fist pump] Noelle Kringle: I don’t know what that is. Jake Hapman: It’s what you do when you think someone’s awesome. Noelle Kringle: Aw. Well… [she sticks out her fist to imitate him] Jake Hapman: Alright. [he fists pumps her] Noelle Kringle: Oh, right. Got it. Okay.
Noelle Kringle: Dad always said you never forget your first Christmas as Santa. Okay, he said it to Nick, but I overheard it, and, oh, my garland, was he right! I hoped he’d be proud of me. And I hoped everyone at home had come around to the idea of a girl Santa. [as she returns to the North Pole the town cheers for her] Noelle Kringle: It turns out, I didn’t have to worry.
Noelle Kringle: And now that I was the twenty-fourth Kringle to wear the red hat, I had a couple small changes that I wanted to make. We opened the first yoga studio in the Pole. I made Polly the first female elder elf. Which I slightly regret.
Noelle Kringle: When I was a little girl, Christmas Eve was always the best night of the year. But this time, it was better than ever. Because instead of getting the presents, I was giving them.
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