Part 1: Lessons Learned From Holiday Favorites

Heed the morals of these seminal holiday stories in your everyday life.

Share this article!

By Karnopp Petersen LLP

The Santa Clause – read the fine print before accepting a contract. Scott Calvin accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall off of his roof on Christmas Eve, unfortunately killing him. He reads a small card that essentially says “put on the suit and the reindeer will know what to do.” Well, he is freezing cold so that is exactly what he does. Off he and his son go, delivering toys on Christmas Eve. At the end of the night, Scott thinks he is done. BUT, Scott soon starts gaining a ton of weight, all in his belly, grows a beard he cannot shave off and his hair turns white. Shortly, Scott literally turns into Santa Claus. An elf at the North Pole finally points out the “fine print” on the card essentially saying that by putting on the suit, Scott agreed to actually become Santa Claus for the remainder of his eternity. He cannot believe it because he certainly did not mean for that to happen. What Scott did not know on that fateful Christmas Eve was that the card, inviting him to try on the suit, was an offer to enter into a contract. Scott then accepted the offer by performing, i.e., putting on the suit and delivering the toys. The offer and Scott’s performance created a binding contract, and if he did not want to be bound under the contract terms (namely, being Santa for life), he should have read the fine print. But, Scott goes on to embrace his new life, as we see in the two sequels to “The Santa Clause,” so sounds like it worked out just fine for him.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – it just is not right to discriminate on the basis of color, and it can be unlawful. In honor of this TV classic celebrating its 50 year anniversary, it must be included in our lessons. Who doesn’t love listening to Burl Ives sing holiday songs and learning that “Bumbles bounce?” But when you think about the fact that this movie is 50 years old, you realize that it was ahead of its time for the lessons it was teaching. Fundamentally, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” deals with discrimination and encourages viewers to not judge someone simply because they are different. From a “legal” point of view, Rudolph is discriminated against in his “workplace” based on the color of his nose. When Santa very first meets the baby fawn Rudolph and sees his bright, shiny red nose, he immediately announces that Rudolph cannot pull his sleigh (i.e., “work”) unless his nose is the same color as everyone else’s nose. Well, we all know that you cannot discriminate against someone in the workplace based on their color of his skin, or in this case, nose. This TV classic contains multiple examples of pre-judging others because they are different (the reindeer teasing Rudolph on the “playground,” Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist instead of building toys, and the Island of Misfit Toys). But it all ends well when Rudolph returns to the North Pole, just in time to save Christmas because of his bright, shiny nose. The others apologize to Rudolph (perhaps hoping to avoid a discrimination lawsuit?), then they shout out with glee, and as we all know, the rest goes down in history.

Part 2 will be released next week.