Here’s why Santa matters to both the real and fictional versions of Candy Cane Lane

By Louie Fecou
Published: December 4, 2023
Santa in Candy Cane Lane Explained
Candy Cane Lane | Image via Prime Video

The holiday comedy adventure Candy Cane Lane stars Eddie Murphy as Chris Carver and Tracee Ellis Ross as Carol Carver, who take a competition to have the best-decorated house over the festive season very seriously. Determined to have the most Christmassy house on the street, Chris makes a deal with a mischievous Elf that, of course, ultimately backfires on him, resulting in chaos and danger for everyone involved. This is a family film, made to be enjoyed over the holidays, and designed to hit all the right beats for a movie of this nature, but would you believe that at the heart of the action, there is a true story that may surprise you? Now you know that I am not about to reveal that mischievous elves are real, but I will take a bit of a deep dive into the lore behind the film and explore the subject of Santa, his typically fantastical depiction in the movie, and how the “real” version plays into the real competition.

Who is Santa in Candy Cane Lane?

When the Carvers are struggling to complete the task set by Pepper the Elf, they have to collect golden rings to prevent being turned into glass ornaments. They realize too late that the task itself was a misdirection. The Twelve Days of Christmas refers to five golden rings, leading the family to believe that was how many they had to find, however, within the context of the song, the line is repeated, taking the total number of rings they should have collected up to forty. When it looks like all is lost, Santa appears and offers up a way to complete the task and break the Elf’s curse.

Santa is so perturbed by the situation that he decides that as far as Pepper is concerned, he will take steps to stop her actions, returning her to the North Pole as a glass figurine herself. You can find out more about how this all shakes out in the film in our detailed breakdown of the ending.

Who plays Santa in Candy Cane Lane?

David Alan Grier, who plays Santa in Candy Cane Lane

David Alan Grier | Rich Fury/FilmMagic

The part of Santa in Candy Cane Lane is played by David Alan Grier.

The talented actor has a long list of credits, but there is a chance you will recognize him from the remake of The Colour Purple, They Cloned Tyrone, and TV series’ The Patient, Central Park, The Resident, Crank Yankers, and The Cool Kids.

What role does Santa have in the real Candy Cane Lane?

Screenwriter Kelly Younger has explained how the film has its premise in a real-life house decorating competition. The writer would explain in an interview with Radio Times, that the competition is a real event that would take place in his hometown in the El Segundo neighborhood of LA, where he grew up.

The writer recalls how much of a big deal the yearly competition was, and how it still takes place today. As far as Santa goes, it is reported that on the night of the competition, Santa drives by the houses in the area, and when he points at a house, that is the cue for them to turn their lights on. Not as magical as Santa in Candy Cane Lane, but still as important.

RELATED: Where was Candy Cane Lane filmed?

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