On Walt’s birthday I covered Disney shorts that focused on Christmas. This time around I’m sharing the Disney and Pixar Films that feature the holiday. You’d be surprised how many of them do! I did manage to find a few Christmas specific clips on You-Tube. Please note that I do not own these films nor did I upload them myself. I’d love for Disney to go through their films and make a compilation of these scenes someday, but until then I hope you enjoy rediscovering these Christmas treasures!
While it may not be the first film you think of when considering Disney and Christmas. However there is an entire segment from the film dedicated to the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. The series includes fairies doing their jobs to the tune of the “Dance of the Suger Plum Fairies”, beautifully colorful fish swimming to the “Arabian Dance” and Mushrooms marching to the “Chinese Dance”. The entire segment is about 15 minutes long in total and features some of the most beautiful animation sequences ever created.
Bambi may not get to celebrate Christmas, but he and Thumper do learn to ice skate when they venture out into the cold weather. After all what better way to spend the day than Ice Skating when the water’s stiff.
Melody Time (1948)
Once Upon a Wintertime is a Christmas segment in Melody Time. It was later released as an individual short and was oftentimes shown as a Valentines short. However the song clearly speaks about skating in December.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
Now while the Adventures of Ichabod Crane are squarely in the realm of Halloween, the adventures of Mr. Toad reach their climax on Christmas Eve. That’s when Cyril helps Mr. Toad escape from prison, and it’s the weasels Christmas party that the friends interrupt to battle for Toad Hall. Merry Christmas Mr. Toad, you don’t have to go back to Jail!
Peter Pan (1953)
This Christmas reference is a blink-and-you’ll-miss it reference to the holiday. When teaching the Darling children how to fly take note of the happy thoughts they focus on just before they manage to actually make it off the ground. Christmas, sleigh-bells and snow seem to go along way towards making that pixie dust work.
The Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Disney’s 15th Animated Classic begins and ends with Christmas time. The first is Christmas 1909 as Jim Dear gives Darling a wonderful puppy named Lady. The movie progresses as the year does with the finale happening on Christmas day one year later. In that final Christmas scene Lady and Tramp have their puppies and the family is set to live happily ever after.
The 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Once again we find that the climax of a Disney classic coincides with the Christmas celebrations. After the puppies have been stolen and Pongo and Perdita have gone after them we find Roger and Anita trying to celebrate a very sad Christmas without their canine friends. But their Christmas wishes come true their seventeen dogs come home, with a few new additions to the family as well!
The Sword and the Stone (1963)
While most of the movie takes place in the summer and fall, the climactic jousting tournament happens on Christmas Eve, making Arthurs first full day as king Christmas Day.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
While the first film didn’t expressly have a Christmas celebration, Belle did spend all winter with the Beast. The sequel to Batb was Belle’s Enchanted Christmas, which took place somewhere between the Beast rescuing Belle from the wolves and him gifting her with the Library. But even if you don’t consider this film ‘canon’ it’s still likely that Belle celebrated Christmas with the beast at some point in her stay.
Toy Story (1995)
Many of us may not remember, but Toy Story finishes up on Christmas morning with the toys spying on Andy’s gifts. It’s a good Christmas all around as Mr. Potato Head gets his wife and Woody gets to meet his pal Buster.
Just as in the original Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 has a Christmas clip. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major-I. Allegro by Dmitri Shostakovich is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the steadfast tin soldier. The story revolves around a series of Christmas gifts: a paper ballerina, a wicked jack-in-the-box and a Toy soldier made with only one leg. The original story had a bit of a bittersweet finish to it, however in true Disney fashion the animators chose a happier version of the tale to share with us.
Lilo and Stitch (2002)
This time Christmas comes as a small clip at the end of the film during the new family montage. That’s about when Lilo and Stitch get the bright red hover car that features in the Sequel.
There was something I noticed when compiling this list. Many of the films from when Walt was still alive either began or ended on Christmas. It seems that the holiday was close to Walt’s heart, so from one Disney Fan to many others: Merry Christmas!