Kris embodies the spirit of the season in his warm ability to connect to children and help them feel happy, heard, and fulfilled. His instinctive compassion adapts to the unspoken needs of each child who sits on his lap. He speaks many different languages and knows how to get each to open up, he cares about all of them believing in him, and goes out of his way to ask Susan to ask him for something he can give her to Christmas. Though she asks for a “house, a brother, and a dad,” Kris believes it’s possible and sets about getting that for her, in his own special way (of arranging for Brian and Dorey to meet at the Cathedral to “get married”). He has specific ways he wants to do things, including wearing his own, ancient Santa suit, and having principled beliefs about how a Santa should conduct himself in public (since he is “an example to children all over the world”). Kris has a traditional value system and fears that he may no longer be ‘relevant’ because fewer people are believing in him; he is easily encouraged by Brian, who tells him that many people believe in him. Kris thinks he should be punished for having let down so many children, but perks up immediately when the entire city shows their support through the “we believe in Santa Claus” movement.

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Kris has a desperate need for others to believe in and validate him; he focuses on the one child (Susan) who does not believe in him rather than thinking about the hundreds of children who come, sit on his lap, and express their wishes. He helps their parents to find gifts for them cheaper than the ones sold at his own department store, out of a belief that “it’s all about the children, and not a profit.” Kris wants so much to make Susan and her mother happy, he takes on the difficult task of fulfilling her wish (for a family) through inadvertent methods. His line to 8 comes out under stress—confronted by the awful allegations of a heckler, who insults his sense of duty and dignity by inferring he might be a pedophiles, Kris becomes angry and threatens him with his cane, but the rest of the time is modest, good-natured, and generous.