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'Falling for Christmas'
A review of Lindsay Lohan's 2022 holiday rom-com
What the hell happened to Santa Claus? Months after I watched Lindsay Lohan’s 2022 holiday rom-com, ‘Falling for Christmas,’ I still can’t stop thinking about the kind of calamity that befell St. Nick and drove him into a job selling roasted chestnuts at a ski resort for yuppies. On Christmas! I’m like:
If you haven’t seen the Netflix movie, ‘Falling for Christmas’ stars Lohan as Sierra Belmont, heiress to the Belmont hotel and spa fortune. She’s dating the wrong guy, and when he proposes to her on the ski slopes, disaster strikes: She tumbles down the mountain, hits her head and suffers amnesia. She’s rescued by Jake Russell (Chord Overstreet), the proprietor of the nearby cosy and family-run North Star Lodge, who takes her in. They fall in love, etc., etc., but a key scene is when Jake’s daughter, Avy (Olivia Perez), makes a wish at the big Christmas tree in town. She’s noticed by an older man selling roasted chestnuts who’s got a white beard, a red jacket and a big candy-cane striped scarf. He is also very jolly. Look at this guy:
As Avy is making her wish, the man, listed in the credits as ‘Chestnut Vendor’ (William ‘Bus’ Riley) touches his nose as magical music plays. Chestnut Vendor, indeed! It’s totally Santa. (Need further proof? Riley has played Santa in other movies, according to IMDB.) But what’s he doing there?
Could it be that the Island of Misfit Toys, under the leadership of King Moonracer, has risen up to overthrow Santa? Or maybe he was toppled by the elves after a coup? Perhaps Amazon has put him out of work, like many other mom-and-pop operations? Either way, his nomadic and anonymous existence that includes odd jobs, selling his possessions (like his sleigh, as we see in the film) and granting random wishes must have him thinking:
I felt badly for him, and for all the people in the ‘Falling for Christmas’ cinematic universe. No one there seemed to know of Santa Claus, and his absence from his station didn’t appear to have had any negative consequences. It strikes me that their world should feel out of sync, as if there’s been a great disturbance in whatever mystical and magical forces bind humanity together. Children should have been inconsolable with no one to leave toys under the tree. And there should have been someone who’s like:
But maybe I’m overthinking things or being needlessly dark. Maybe Santa is totally fine, and, after supporting an effort to unionize the workshop, he doesn’t need to be so hands-on at the North Pole anymore. He’s now free to perform little Christmas miracles for Lindsay Lohan:
Perhaps by including Santa as a chestnut vendor, ‘Falling for Christmas’ is trying to show there is benevolent magic all around us, just outside of our view. It manifests in people, like random chestnut vendors who we don’t expect will offer unexpected and essential guidance toward happiness. In this movie, the vendor pops up a few times to ensure the lovers’ paths intertwine. After the big tree scene, he appears at the Christmas market to offer Sierra a snow globe that jogs an important memory, and in the climactic moment of the film there he is again, with his chestnut cart in the valet parking area, ready with important directions. At the end, his work complete, he retreats, satisfied, into a glowing light, like:
Despite my Santa uncertainty, I enjoyed ‘Falling for Christmas.’ If you’ve seen it and have your own Santa theories, let me know in the comments.