At the North Pole, preparations for the upcoming Christmas are quickly taking place. After the current Santa Claus’s death five months prior, his son, Nick Kringle, is having difficulties trying to complete his training in order to become the next Santa. His younger sister, Noelle, who has been placed in charge of distributing and maintaining Christmas spirit, continues to support him, and even suggests taking the weekend off as to avoid the stress and relax before the big day. Complying, Nick takes off overnight with the reindeer, and does not return following the weekend.
When the reindeer return without Nick and Noelle admits to giving him controversial advice, the elves get angry at her. The elf elders forcibly appoint her cousin Gabriel, the Kringles’ tech support, to fill in as the new Santa. Guilt-stricken and forlorn, Noelle deduces that Nick fled to Phoenix, Arizona, and takes off with the Sleigh and reindeer with her childhood nanny Polly.
They set down in a mall. With the permission of manager Helen Rojas and the customers’ support and belief that it was a Christmas exhibit, Noelle sets out into the city to find Nick, leaving Polly to tend to the sleigh and reindeer. She meets and hires Jake Hapman, a private investigator as well as a recently divorced dad, to track down Nick. Noelle also interacts with Jake’s enthusiastic son Alex and several other people, discovering that she can understand and communicate in other languages (including American Sign Language), as well as tell the naughty from the nice.
Jake tracks Nick down to a yoga studio, where Nick is enthusiastic to see Noelle yet refuses to return north and become Santa. After a heated argument, Noelle leaves the building. She returns to the mall, where her reindeer friend Snowcone arrives with a letter from Mrs. Claus informing her about the situation back home and ordering her to find and bring Nick back home. During Noelle’s time away, Gabriel had used an algorithm to determine that there were only 2,837 “nice” children in the world, much to the horror of the elves and Mrs. Claus.
With help from Snowcone, Noelle tracks down Nick to a yoga retreat at the Desert Botanical Garden, and convinces him to return. Meeting up with her and Polly at the mall the next day, Noelle has him continue to train by being a mall Santa. While Nick sees the text message being sent to children from Gabriel, Jake discovers that Noelle told Alex about his Christmas wish, something that he finds awkward as his ex-wife remarried. Noelle reveals that she is Santa’s daughter, causing him to leave. When Nick is accosted by the actual mall Santa, Noelle intervenes and accidentally hurts a police officer, resulting in her arrest and later hospitalization for psychological evaluation.
After a visit from Polly, who reveals her identity as an elf, Jake removes Noelle from the hospital and she makes her way back to the North Pole with Nick, Polly, and the reindeer before Christmas Eve. Back home after a meeting with the elders, Nick nominates Noelle as the next Santa, which stirs up controversy throughout the town but unanimously gains agreement from the elders when they determine that there is no rule against a female Santa and they are convinced she naturally has the skills. After a few mishaps, Noelle successfully delivers the presents across the world and drops Jake off at his ex-wife’s house to spend time with Alex.
Noelle is celebrated at the North Pole as Gabriel happily returns to tech support while Nick opens up a yoga studio and Polly becomes an elf elder. Noelle admits that she is proud to continue her father’s legacy for being the 24th generational Santa and that Christmas will go on.
This film was released exclusively to Disney + streaming service on November 12th, 2019. It was the first film I watched on Disney + and stayed up late (or well early into the morning) to enjoy it. It was cute, funny, different than the typical Christmas films and enjoyable for the whole family. I couldn’t find a clip of the baby Reindeer but here is a real one that Coyote Peterson got to love on.