That headline is coming to you directly from the mouth of a once lone, renegade Christmas Eve cookie thief. I ate an entire plate of them after my parents had fallen asleep to prove a point one year. I understand they got the message loud and clear, that I was one stubborn, albeit clever, little dipshit.
In Becoming Santa, his second directorial effort in a little over a decade, Jeff Myers introduces us to Jack Sanderson (soon to be Santa Jack) and swiftly, we learn he’s no humdrum mall Santa in training. Instead, this man quite earnestly approaches the scheme of submerging himself deep into Santa culture in hopes of regaining some lost holiday spirit as he’s recently suffered the loss of his father just one Christmas ago.
Admittedly, I was surprised to find that we were witnessing here wasn’t just some Spurlockian experiment. It was a relief not to watch some schmuck myth bust his way down the chimneys of unsuspecting families or literally toss his cookies into a stocking after a poorly planned, fifteenth glass of cold milk.
Jack’s transformation begins where most generally do, at the salon, where he undergoes an EXTREME(ly painful) bleaching session in which his entire head of hair, as well as beard, and eyebrows are given the ivory treatment. Jingle bells of steel, that man. Anyone can strap on an alabaster, two dollar Party City beard and park it in front of Dillard’s, but they sure as hell won’t be inducted into the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas. In this moment, his gutsiness, sense of humor, and more impressively, his patience are palpable.
With the look down pat, we follow him to a bona fide Santa School where an exact replica of everyone’s favorite “out to lunch aunt” puts the hopefuls through the ringer. Sanderson admirably takes it all in stride, of course. Even when during a mock trial of the utmost important “What I Want for Christmas” lap chat she saddles up and asks in a creepy child’s voice if it’s anyway possible that he deliver the whereabouts of one Osama bin Laden for her this Christmas.
Sanderson isn’t the only Santa we meet along the way, either, although I do believe he could be the best man out there for the job. Their community is fascinating, vast, and those who elect to wear the suit don’t treat it like a novelty. It’s truly a Saint Nick lifestyle full of SANTA4U vanity license plates, exclusively crimson wardrobes, and the inevitable Post Christmas Depression each man feels when December 26th rears its ugly head.
I’m unabashedly behind them one hundred percent and have maybe even considered an Associate Membership through FORBS as an Elf. I’m pretty sure being born with a distinctive set of their ears means I’m automatically qualified. They should be worth more than feeble mind-meld jokes.
My only negative criticism is that it wasn’t screening at the Alamo Drafthouse where warm chocolate chip cookies and milk are on the menu.
*Devin, I don’t think my hos in different area codes joke fits anywhere in here. Probably for the best since it’s sort of DUUUURRRRRHHHHHHHHHHHH dumb.
[Editors note: I understand, April. Probably best to leave that one out. - Devin]