The “Mrs. Santa Claus” character page on IMDb has 102 entries. 102 different times someone has played the wife to Santa on screen, with first names including “Annette” (2007’s Fred Claus), “Gretchen” (1996’s The Story of Santa Claus), “Sara” (2005’s Santa and Sons & Daughter) and “Mother Christmas” (1979’s Give Us a Clue). She’s been played by Phyllis Diller (Robot Chicken), Shelley Long (Merry In-Laws), Delta Burke (The Year Without a Santa Claus) and the voices of Nell Carter and Debbie Reynolds. But just who is she?
If you’re thinking that Mrs. Claus is just a stagnant stereotype of an rosy-cheeked older lady, often white, and often at the service of her jelly-bellied husband, you would be pretty much correct. It’s not the role of a lifetime, sure, but if you’re an older lady looking to “nice-it-up” a little, Mrs. Claus might be your ticket to Betty White-dom. But first: do you research. Here are history’s most notable Mrs. Santas, and perhaps one day we’ll find out if she has a first name other than “Mrs.”
Santa Claus: The Movie
Who: Judy Cornwell
Weird: Santa is played by David Huddleston, who is also the “Big” Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.
In 1985’s Santa Claus: The Movie, Mrs. Claus (first name “Anya”) is merely the wife of a woodcutter in the 14th century until the two come across some magical elves. You can guess what happens next: yep, it’s the beginning of Santa Claus. Anya suggests improvements on the iconic Santa outfit, suggests that only good little boys and girls get gifts and laughs at an offended Santa after his belly is called “jelly” in “Twas The Night Before Christmas.” LOL.
Mrs. Santa Claus
Who: Angela Lansbury
Weird: It featured costumes by designer Bob Mackie (the dude who dresses Cher.)
A musical that featured a song called both “Suffragette March” and “He Needs Me,” Angela Lansbury played a conflicted Mrs. Claus (first name “Anna”) who, after attempting to convince her husband to take a new route, grabs the sleigh herself. She ends up stranded in New York City (don’t you know that women can’t drive?) after a reindeer gets injured. She ends up staying in the tenements with a Jewish family. It is 1910 after all! There, she learns about women’s rights, child labor (all those toys) and what a Menorah is. And sings about it.
The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause
Who: Elizabeth Mitchell
Weird: Aisha Tyler plays “Mother Nature”.
In Tim Allen’s jolly sequel, he has to find himself a wife or according to “The Santa Clause,” Christmas will be lost forever. Apparently Santa can’t be single. Guess it’s time for a Christmas meet cute! Because old dudes in white beards can’t get laid, he undergoes a “de-Santafication process” and charms (literally, with Santa magic) the principal of his son’s school (first name “Carol”) into marrying him. In The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Carol gets pregnant and gives birth on Christmas Day. Poor kid.
Who: Miranda Richardson
Weird: Fred Claus’ DVD includes a music video for “Ludacrismas” by Ludacris.
In this Christmastime comedy vehicle for Vince Vaughn, he plays Fred, the brother to St. Nicholas. Both of them are the sons to “Mother Claus,” the first-nameless Claus matriarch played by Kathy Bates. Miranda Richardson plays St. Nick’s significant other (first name “Annette”) whose small role includes encouraging her husband to force his brother to engage in North Pole servitude in exchange for bail.
Finding Mrs. Claus
Who: Mira Sorvino
Weird: Uh, everything. This is a Lifetime movie.
Santa might be a good gift-giver, but he’s not really a great spouse. In this Lifetime movie, Mira Sorvino plays a Mrs. Claus (first name “Jessica”) whose neglectful Santa causes her to escape to Las Vegas to “help a little girl with a Christmas wish.” Sure you are, Jessica. As soon as she gets to Vegas, a comically fake grey wig slides off and Sorvino basically becomes the hooker she played in Mighty Aphrodite. Who cares how it ends (but you’ll probably watch the whole thing anyway).