As the popular saying goes, “behind every great man is a great woman;” and that is just as true of Santa Claus, as it is any other man. She’s gone by many names over the years but these are some of our favorite Mrs. Clauses.
“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (1970)
While not the first representation of Mrs. Claus in film or television, this stop-motion Christmas classic features Miss Jessica (voiced by Robie Lester, “The Funny Company”), a school teacher in the town of Somberville, whom many consider to be the original Mrs. Claus. Although her role is fairly minimal, Miss Jessica is crucial to the film as the person who informs Kris Kringle (voiced by Mickey Rooney, “Night at the Museum,” 2006) that the evil Burgermeister (voiced by Paul Frees, “Frosty the Snowman,” 1969) has taken the children’s toys away and in helping the Winter Warlock (voiced by Keenan Wynn, “Call to Glory”) to come up with the idea of using his magic to make the reindeer fly.
“Mrs. Santa Claus” (1996)
The great Angela Lansbury (“Murder, She Wrote”) brings life to a much more rambunctious and feminist Mrs. Claus, named Anna, in this made-for-TV musical film. Despite Anna running operations in the workshops, the children of the world are only interested in Santa (Charles Durning, “The Muppet Movie,” 1979) while Santa himself is so buried in letters from children that he himself often neglects her unintentionally. When a week before Christmas she proposes a new route that will save him time on his Christmas Eve deliveries, Santa is too distracted to know what she’s talking about and brushes her off. So, to prove she’s right, she decides to hitch up the reindeer and take a trip around the world. Unfortunately, one of the reindeer gets hurt and she ends up stranded in New York City. Set in 1910, the film see’s Anna become involved in both a child labor protest and the women’s suffrage movement throughout her travels.
“The Santa Clause 2” (2002)
In 2002, the popular Tim Allen-led trilogy “The Santa Clause” dedicated its second film to a much-needed Mrs. Claus. The film saw Santa aka Scott Calvin (Allen) faced with an unexpected sub-clause in his Santa contract: he must find himself a wife by Christmas Eve or give up being Santa forever. Leaving the North Pole to try to find a wife while also handling a sudden streak of bad behavior from his now-teenage son, Scott meets Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell, “Lost”), the principal of his son’s high school. Their initial meeting is far from a love connection, as she comes off as a cold woman with no interest in anything related to Christmas. Carol’s cold exterior seems to thaw, however, as she reveals that Christmas was once her favorite time of year but that, after being mocked for her belief in Santa, she became disillusioned by the holiday. After a magical date (literally), Carol begins to believe in the spirit of Christmas once again.
“The Christmas Chronicles 2” (2020)
It may only be a brief appearance, but film-legend Goldie Hawn (“The First Wives Club,” 1993) gives a spunky portrayal of Mrs. Claus in the 2018 Netflix original film “The Christmas Chronicles,” starring alongside her real-life husband and on-screen Santa, Kurt Russell (“The Hateful Eight,” 2015). So, if she only has a brief appearance, why include her? The answer to that question is the promise of more sassy Mrs. Claus screen time in “The Christmas Chronicles 2,” which premieres on Netflix on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The trailer for the film made it clear that Mrs. Claus is about to get some long-overdue recognition when, after finding out Santa’s Village was actually created by Mrs. Claus, main-character Kate (Darby Camp, “Big Little Lies”) says: “If she designed this place, I think it should be called ‘Mrs. Claus’ Village.’”