Things Everyone Ignores In Miracle On 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street — specifically, the 1994 film adaptation — has a lot to love. A remake of the original 1947 film — which was, in turn, based on a book by Valentine Davies (per Rotten Tomatoes) — 1994's Miracle on 34th Street is about a department store Santa Claus who believes he's really Santa. When he is accused of being insane and a court hearing is set to determine whether or not he should be institutionalized, a young lawyer sets out to prove that he is, in fact, Santa.


Part feel-good holiday film, part courtroom drama, and part romance, Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas movie that has something for everyone. Thanks to its status as a holiday classic, it seems like pretty much everyone has seen this film at least once in their lives, but just how closely were they paying attention? There's a lot going on in this beloved film, but there are some things that have us scratching our heads. There's a lot of stuff in Miracle on 34th Street that people just seem to ignore, and it's time to bring them out in the open.

Kris shouldn't have been put to work without a contract in Miracle on 34th Street

At the beginning of Miracle on 34th Street, the department store Cole's annual Thanksgiving parade is about to start and the regular Santa Claus for Cole's, a man named Tony, is found to be inebriated. He's replaced by a man found on the street, Kris Kringle. As Dorey, who runs the event, explains, there was no time to get him to sign a contract before the parade started. This means that Kris is working illegally for the entire parade.


Not only does this violate the law, but it's also a massive liability. What if something went wrong? What if Kris was injured on the job? What if he turned out to be a sociopath who screamed obscenities at the children? There are so many reasons a contract should have been signed before allowing him to be in the parade, and Miracle on 34th Street casually glosses over all of them. Fortunately, everything went well with the parade, but Cole's could have gotten into some serious trouble if it hadn't.

How does Dorey afford her apartment in Miracle on 34th Street?

Dorey's apartment in Miracle on 34th Street is huge. According to Business Insider (not to mention basically anyone who has ever apartment hunted in NYC), the city boasts one of the priciest rental markets in the country. Dorey isn't struggling to make ends meet as a single mother, though. She lives in a palatial apartment that even has a dining room.


While we don't know how much money Dorey makes, it's clear that she's not rolling in dough. She wants a house but can't afford one. According to Payscale, as of this writing, the average special events director salary in New York is around $87,000, and it certainly would have been lower in the 1990s when Miracle on 34th Street came out. That's not a paltry sum, but, considering that the median rent in Manhattan hit nearly $3,000 a month in 2019 (per Business Insider), it seems unlikely that Dorey would be able to afford a huge apartment while saving up for a house and raising a daughter on her own, even if rent was a little cheaper in the '90s than it currently is.

The owner of Shopper's Express in Miracle on 34th Street acts like a Mafia crime boss

Corporate espionage is one thing, but the owner of Shopper's Express in Miracle on 34th Street seriously seems like a comic book supervillain. He hatches an evil plot to take over Cole's which includes ruining an innocent man's reputation. Why does he hate Cole's so much? The company is clearly struggling for money, and it's established that Shopper's Express is wildly successful. We aren't buying that his animosity is fueled by mere ambition. This seems personal.


What happened to make the owner of Shopper's Express so angry in Miracle on 34th Street? Is there a feud between him and someone linked to Cole's? His obsession with destroying the store and buying them out is seriously unhealthy and, honestly, not really very believable unless there's some other ulterior motive in play. Yet, for some reason, most people watching Miracle on 34th Street completely ignore this part of the plot. 

Why would a store be selling things at half price during the holiday season in Miracle on 34th Street?

Yes, Shopper's Express is full of bargains, but how are they offering such steep discounts in Miracle on 34th Street? When a mom tells Kris that she can't buy her son the toy he asks for because it costs $70, Kris reveals that the rival store sells it for $34.99 plus a rebate. That's more than a 50 percent discount at the height of the holiday season.


How can a store get away with such massive discounts, especially on what looks like a pretty popular toy? According to The Balance, even on Black Friday, one of the biggest sale days of the year, discounts are only an average of 37 percent — that's a far cry from the bargains being offered by Shopper's Express in Miracle on 34th Street. Is such steep discounting affecting Shopper's Express profits? Is this the reason that the store's owner seems so desperate to buy out Cole's?

The romance between Dorey and Bryan in Miracle on 34th Street seems pretty unrealistic

What is the deal with Dorey and Bryan? At the beginning of Miracle on 34th Street, they seem friendly in the way that you get to know your neighbor and invite him over on Thanksgiving so he won't be alone. Dorey even has Susan call him Mr. Bedford, which sounds unnecessarily formal for a guy who is supposedly getting intimate with your mom.


It's not even clear that Dorey and Bryan are dating at the beginning of the film, and, when we finally do see them kiss, it seems like it's for the first time. Surely it couldn't have been their first kiss, though, because a couple minutes later Bryan whips out a massive diamond ring and proposes. What? 

Either Dorey and Bryan have an incredibly cold relationship or this is the world's most rushed courtship. Either way, their romance is far from convincing, making their eventual elopement towards the end of Miracle on 34th Street truly bizarre.

Why was Kris hired without a background check in Miracle on 34th Street

Kris starts working at Cole's the day after Thanksgiving. He finally gets all of his paperwork in order, but it doesn't seem like anyone pays too much attention to it. If they had, they might have been a little suspicious of the fact that he puts down his name as Kris Kringle and claims he was born at the North Pole. The fact that Kris didn't undergo a background check when his job requires children to sit on his lap isn't just strange but highly disturbing. Sadly, there are a lot of untrustworthy people in the world, and anyone who is working with small children should have a thorough background check done in order to protect the kids. 


It seems highly unlikely that Kris would have started working without anyone digging into his background, at least a little bit. Sure, he looks an awful lot like Santa Claus, but Miracle on 34th Street is set in NYC. There are probably thousands of people who look like Santa Claus in the city.

Why is there no photographer at the mall in Miracle on 34th Street?

It's established in Miracle on 34th Street that at Cole's, like in stores and malls all over the country, kids seeing Santa at Christmastime is a big deal. A big part of the tradition of going to see Santa Claus at Christmas is getting a picture taken with the jolly man in red. So why is there no photographer at Cole's? Kids are lined up all around the store to see Kris, but there's no one waiting to snap pics of him with the children.


Not only is the lack of a photographer strange considering that selling pictures would help Cole's bring in some much-needed cash, but Miracle on 34th Street takes place in a time before smartphones. While some of the parents no doubt have cameras and are snapping their own pics of their children with Santa, it's unlikely that they all have cameras with them. We just aren't buying that a mall wouldn't have a photographer on hand.

Bryan is weirdly obsessed with getting Susan to believe in Santa in Miracle on 34th Street

It's all well and good to want a child to believe in the magic of Christmas, but Bryan's obsession with getting his girlfriend's daughter to believe in Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street is... weird. Why is this so important to him? He not only brings Susan to see Kris without her mother's permission but also has him babysit her when he and Dorey go out on a date.


Aside from the fact that this is crossing a major line, we can't figure out why he's so determined to get Susan to believe in Santa. It's pretty clear that Bryan himself doesn't believe in Santa Claus, so why would he jeopardize his relationship with Dorey in order to get her daughter to believe in something that he doesn't believe to be true himself? What is Bryan's deal? Even if he does get Susan to believe in Santa (which does happen by the end of Miracle on 34th Street), she's still going to find out the truth one day.

Why would Bryan just give away a Cartier engagement ring in Miracle on 34th Street?!

Was anyone watching Miracle on 34th Street actually surprised when Dorey turned down Bryan's proposal? She was completely sidelined by the whole thing, and, honestly, so were we. Instead of reacting like an adult and saying, "Gee Dorey, you're right, I should have asked for your thoughts on marriage instead of expecting to win you over with this very sparkly and very expensive diamond ring," Bryan gets mad at her and gives the ring to Kris, telling him to find someone to give the ring to.


First of all, gross. Bryan is super toxic. Second of all, uh, how rich is Bryan that he can just afford to give away an incredibly expensive ring? Massive engagement rings like the one Bryan proposed to Dorey with in Miracle on 34th Street are expensive to begin with, but, according to Beyond 4Cs, Cartier is one of those brands known for inflating already expensive prices.

Why would Tony have this big of a grudge in Miracle on 34th Street

It's understandable that Tony was upset after being fired from his Santa gig in Miracle on 34th Street, but the grudge he maintains is truly disturbing. Who gets so angry at losing a job that they go out of their way to sabotage the person who replaced them? And it's not like this was an exceptionally prestigious or well-paying job. We're talking about a seasonal Santa gig here. The job only runs for a few weeks, so it's not like Tony has lost his only means of income (hopefully).


It's clear that Tony is suffering from untreated alcoholism, which might be fueling some of his resentment, but most of his rage seems pretty misguided. Hopefully, Tony realizes the error of his ways after the events of Miracle on 34th Street wrap up and gets some help.

Where is Mrs. Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street?

Kris Kringle's employee records in Miracle on 34th Street say that he's married. Whether or not you believe that Kris is actually Santa Claus, it's a fact that at no point in the film do we see his wife. Did something happen to her? Is her absence the reason that Kris seems so unhinged? 


If Kris isn't Santa Claus, it's easy to see how the loss of his wife could cause him to become unbalanced enough to believe that he is a magical being. If he is Santa Claus, the death of Mrs. Claus could explain why he's living in a retirement home in New York City and is working as a department store Santa. Either way, the most logical explanation for the absence of the wife Kris claims he has is that she has either passed away or left him, both of which would be enough to traumatize someone.

What lawyer would try to prove Santa exists like Bryan does in Miracle on 34th Street?

Bryan doesn't really believe that Kris Kringle is Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street. He believes that Kris is a nice older man — delusional but harmless. While we can understand Bryan wanting to defend Kris to keep him out of a mental hospital, risking what seems to be a pretty lucrative career in law to prove that there is a Santa Claus seems foolish at best and self-sabotaging at worst.


Even more outrageous is that his legal strategy somehow seems to fly in court. It's hard to believe that such a thing would happen in real life, or that a man believing he is Santa Claus would generate so much attention from the press. Like we knew he would all along because, hey, Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas movie after all, the judge ultimately rules that Santa Claus is real and that Kris Kringle is him.

Why are there no police managing the crowds in Miracle on 34th Street?

In yet another totally unbelievable turn of events, so many people turn up to hear the judge's verdict (on Christmas Eve, no less) that they completely fill the streets and sidewalks of New York in Miracle on 34th Street. Anyone who has ever been to Manhattan knows that the borough has some pretty terrible traffic. If hordes of people really did fill the streets like they do in Miracle on 34th Street, the police would definitely have been sent in to break up the crowd.


We have to wonder how such a big crowd formed to begin with. It's clear they all love Kris, but it's Christmas Eve! Surely they have more urgent things to do than stand outside a courthouse in the December cold. Doesn't anyone in Miracle on 34th Street have to travel to be with family for the holiday? Isn't anyone doing any last-minute Christmas shopping? Nothing about this scene makes sense.

Dorey and Bryan shouldn't have been able to get married on Christmas Eve in Miracle on 34th Street

The Christmas wedding Kris Kringle sets up for Dorey and Bryan towards the end of Miracle on 34th Street is pretty sweet. As unconventional and awkward as their relationship might be, it does seem like they truly care about each other. That's all well and good, but it doesn't change the fact that — Santa Claus or not — there's no way Kris would have been able to set this up.


First of all, to obtain a marriage license in the state of New York, both parties have to apply for it in person (per U.S. Marriage Laws). There's also a mandatory waiting period, so you can't just get a marriage license and get married on the same day, unless a court waives the waiting period. There's also the fact that they get married in a Catholic church. In order to do this, at least one of the parties will likely have to provide proof that they are Catholic, according to Brides. Catholic churches also often require engaged couples to attend marriage preparation classes before tying the knot.