The Christmas Chronicles

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The Christmas Chronicles
The Christmas Chronicles.png
Official promotional poster
Directed byClay Kaytis
Produced by
Screenplay byMatt Lieberman
Story by
  • Matt Lieberman
  • David Guggenheim
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited byDan Zimmerman
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
November 22, 2018
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Christmas Chronicles is a 2018 American Christmas comedy film directed by Clay Kaytis from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman. The film stars Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, as well as Judah Lewis and Darby Camp, with Lamorne Morris, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson, Martin Roach, and Vella Lovell in supporting roles. The film was produced by 1492 Pictures and Wonder Worldwide, and was released on November 22, 2018 on Netflix.[1]

The plot follows two children, Kate and Teddy, who notice Santa Claus in their home and jump into his sleigh with his reindeer; however, the sleigh eventually malfunctions and crashes, and the Christmas presents are lost. As Christmas morning approaches, it is up to the children and Santa to save Christmas by correctly delivering all presents.

The Christmas Chronicles received mixed reviews from critics. A sequel titled The Christmas Chronicles 2, with much of the original cast returning, will be released in November 2020.


In Lowell, Massachusetts near Christmas, widowed mother Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) struggles to hold her family together after the death of her firefighter husband Doug (Oliver Hudson). Her son Teddy (Judah Lewis) has started stealing cars. Her younger daughter Kate (Darby Camp) nevertheless is trying to keep Christmas spirit alive.

On Christmas Eve, Claire is forced to fill in for a coworker, leaving Teddy to look after Kate. While watching old Christmas videos, Kate notices a strange arm appear out of the fireplace. Kate believes this is Santa Claus and blackmails Teddy to help her prove it is him. The two set up a makeshift trip wire and a hidden camera.

Kate is later woken up and sees Santa in the living room. However, he escapes to the roof. The two children follow. Kate decides to hide in his sleigh to get a closer look, and Teddy reluctantly follows her. Santa rides off with the kids in tow. When Kate decides to make her presence known, Santa and the reindeer are startled and he loses control of the sleigh. After teleporting to Chicago, Illinois, the sleigh breaks down, causing the reindeer to scatter and Santa’s hat and bag of presents to be lost.

Santa (Kurt Russell) introduces himself to the kids, and tells them that he has to get back to delivering presents as soon as possible or else Christmas Spirit will be gone. Without his hat, Santa can not move quickly or through tight spaces like he does. The kids are forced to help him after he threatens to list them as bad kids permanently. They stop at a bar where Santa tries to seek help from the patrons. When they get no assistance, they steal a car, which itself was already stolen by the bartender.

They locate the reindeer but encounter a police car driven by police officers Dave Poveda (Martin Roach) and Mikey Jameson (Lamorne Morris). Kate goes after the reindeer by herself while Teddy and Santa lure the police away. Santa is arrested, while Kate and Teddy escape with the reindeer. The kids find Santa’s bag, and Kate goes inside to find help. She is teleported to the North Pole where she encounters Santa’s elves, who agree to help her.

Meanwhile, Teddy is attacked by a group of thugs who take him and the bag to their hideout, but he is saved by Kate and the elves, who set out to repair Santa’s sleigh. At the police precinct, Santa tries to explain his situation to Officer Poveda. When Santa reveals his wish this year is to reconcile with his ex-wife Lisa, who also shares that wish, Poveda is taken aback, but still refuses to believe him. Poveda has Santa locked in the holding cell, though he becomes suspicious when he sees a larger number of arrests than usual on Christmas Eve. Seeing that Christmas Spirit has gotten too low, Santa gathers all the inmates to perform "Santa Claus Is Back in Town", which works amongst all the officers except Poveda. Poveda is finally convinced when he receives a call from Lisa, who invites him out for coffee in the morning, and agrees to let Santa go. One of the elves arrives through the air vent to give Santa a spare hat. Santa goes outside to find his sleigh repaired.

Santa sees that he only has an hour until morning to complete delivering presents, so the kids agree to help him. Santa is able to deliver all the presents, saving Christmas. Santa drops the kids off back at their home before their mother returns. Santa gives Teddy his hat as a memento, showing that he did not really need it. When he leaves, he gives Kate a "Ho, Ho, Ho", a saying he previously stated was an urban myth about him.

When Claire returns, they go inside to find the living room decorated like their father used to. They start opening presents, When they get to Santa's gifts, Kate gets the skateboard she asked for, while Teddy gets a magic ornament. When Teddy hangs it on the tree, he sees his dad magically appear in his reflection, and they both express pride in each other. Back in the North Pole, Santa reunites with Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn).


An enthusiastic 11-year-old girl who is Teddy's younger sister. Unlike Teddy, Kate has faith in Santa and decides to find Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve.
A 16-year-old boy and Kate's older brother, who became a rebel after the loss of his father.
A magical figure who brings presents for people at Christmas night, when they are asleep.
A police officer who lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Teddy and Kate's widowed mother. She is a nurse at a hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Teddy and Kate’s deceased father and Claire's deceased husband.
  • Martin Roach as Officer Dave Poveda
Another police officer who lives in Chicago, Illinois. He does not remember Santa Claus.
Hawn, partner of star Kurt Russell, appears in a cameo.


In December 2017, it was reported that Kurt Russell would star as Santa Claus in the film, for Netflix,[2] later given the title The Christmas Chronicles.

Principal photography began in January 2018 in Toronto, Ontario.[2] The film was set in Lowell, Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois.[3]


The film was released on November 22, 2018.[4]

Netflix reported the film was streamed by 20 million households over its first week of release.[5]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 5.97/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Viewers seeking a fresh holiday viewing option -- or those simply in the mood for Santa Kurt Russell -- should find The Christmas Chronicles well worth a yuletide stream."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[7]


On September 15, 2020, a sequel titled The Christmas Chronicles 2 was announced. Original director Clay Kaytis dropped out and was replaced by Chris Columbus, who produced the first installment. Stars Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Judah Lewis were all confirmed to reprise their roles, while Julian Dennison and Jahzir Bruno were cast to appear in the sequel.[8] The Christmas Chronicles 2 will be released on Netflix on November 25, 2020.[9]


  1. ^ "The Christmas Chronicles Teaser Netflix". Netflix YouTube channel. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  2. ^ a b Kit, Borys (2017-12-05). "Kurt Russell to Play Santa Claus in Netflix Christmas Movie (Exclusive)". TheHollywoodReporter. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  3. ^ "Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles introduces a Santa who can get it". Vox. November 26, 2018.
  4. ^ "Netflix Is Closing Out 2018 With One Hell of an Original Film Slate". Film School Rejects. August 12, 2018.
  5. ^ Sharf, Zack; Sharf, Zack (December 3, 2018). "Netflix's 'Christmas Chronicles' Breaks 20 Million Streams in One Week". IndieWire. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Christmas Chronicles (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Christmas Chronicles Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn Have a 'Tremendous Amount of Love' in The Christmas Chronicles 2". People Magazine.
  9. ^ @NetflixFilm (September 15, 2020). "It's time for Mrs. Claus to get her due. Kurt Russell & @GoldieHawn are back to save the holidays in THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES 2, only on Netflix 25 November" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]