Christmas movies are a holiday tradition in many homes: gathering around the television as the tree glitters softly in the background. There have been many classics over the years from “It’s a Wonderful Life” to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Disney has brought us a few gems for that annual list. There are so many to choose from that instead of brining them all to you I went through and chose five of my absolute favorites. (there are one or two more on this list that I’m saving for another day!)
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
This has been one of my favorite Disney Christmas specials since I was much younger. It features three shorter Christmas sections. The first features Donald Duck and his Nephews Hewey, Dewey and Louie as they make an impulsive wish that it were Christmas everyday. The Second Clip features the characters from the Goof Troop and has the holiday favorite that is Santa Goofy. The third clip is a remake of O’Henry’s short story the Gift of the Magi featuring Mickey and Minnie. All three clips focus on the learning to love selflessly and the true meaning of the Christmas season.
Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the Castle
I didn’t watch the House of Mouse everyday after school, but since finding this Christmas special I’ve come to appreciate the show much more. It features many beloved characters as they spend Christmas Eve snowed in at Mickey’s Club the House of Mouse. During the night they show clips in attempts to cheer the ever-grumpy Donald Duck out of his Christmas funk. They show beloved clips from “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” to “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” interspersed with other clips and shorts featuring characters like Ludvig Von Drake and his ‘Science of Santa’ bit.
Prep and Landing
Any Christmas special that can start with Nat King Cole’s rendition of “The Christmas Song” is already well ahead of the game in my book. The special is all about rekindling the true meaning of Christmas and it features Rookie elf Lanny a.k.a. Tree Skirt, and veteran Wayne a.k.a. Little Drummer Boy, two elves responsible for ‘Prep and Landing’, which means getting each child’s house ready for Santa’s arrival. They make sure you are sleeping. They check the milk and cookies. They keep your dog sleeping through the annual visit and they prep the landing strip for the sleigh.
They’re equipped with the best tech the North Pole can provide and yet they are still break the number one rule as the worst happens: they are caught by a kid. The story picks up from there as the elves have to work on keeping their job a secret and saving Christmas for the very kid who caught them in the first place. Throw in some additional peril and the special will have you watching again and again. The special was so well loved in fact, that the characters featured in World of Color in Disneyland and it also prompted a series of additional shorts and specials over the years.
The film is chock full of hidden extras from Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree to clips from “A Mickey’s Christmas Carol”. There’s even a German shepherd that shares the same model as Bolt, with a few new colors.
The Santa Clause
Tim Allen’s portrayal of a reluctant Santa Clause made for a fantastic Christmas film to be enjoyed by the entire family. To create this classic Disney didn’t recycle Christmas stories from past. Instead they reinvented the rules of being Santa from how the next Santa is chosen to how he actually manages to get into houses without chimneys. The elves have a new look, the North Pole is hidden under the snow and this Santa is unlike any we’ve ever seen before this film.
The humor is multi leveled with jokes the kids will understand as well as a few that will make the adults laugh out loud. It’s truly one for the whole family to enjoy as we watch Tim Allen take his snarky exec and turn him into the Jolly Old Elf himself.
Beauty and the Beast, the Enchanted Christmas
This has been one of my Christmas favorites since I was much younger mainly due to the fact that Belle has always been my favorite. The story starts after the end of the original with Belle and her Prince celebrating Christmas together in the freed castle. As the town comes in for the party the original cast gathers to tell the story of the last Christmas, which follows Belle as she tries to bring the holidays to her new home.
I’ve always thought that this is one of the better Disney sequels. I can readily admit that it isn’t quite as good as the original as far as animation quality is concerned but it does bring back the all-star cast from the original film. As far as timing goes I’m pretty sure that this film took place sometime during “There’s something There” but I can’t tell you exactly where. The film adds a bit more depth to the relationship between Belle and the Beast showing how they grow through their differences on a day-to-day detailed basis. And it also adds a new series of characters to the world: the boiler room staff is quirky and adorable and Angelique and the decorating staff are the perfect Christmas addition. ‘As Long as There’s Christmas’ is a wonderful original Christmas song sung by Paige O’Hera herself. The film even adds in a new villain in Forte, the castle conductor turned organ who is also the only person in the castle who wants to stay enchanted.
It’s cute and brilliant enough that it’s made my yearly Christmas movie list.