Christmas truly is a special time of year no matter how you celebrate it. Every person and family has different traditions, but one of the most popular is sitting down to watch holiday movies and TV specials. There is something about having classic Christmas programs playing in the background while decorating the house or wrapping presents that makes the season even more special.
In Part 1 of Disney’s Best Christmas Movies, TV Specials and Shorts, I mentioned that Mickey’s Orphans, Mickey’s Good Deed, The Santa Clause, Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Muppet Christmas Carol all deserved a holiday viewing spot. Here is Part 2 of Disney’s Best Christmas movies, TV specials and shorts in no particular order.
NOTE: Some of the movies, TV shows, and shorts listed below can be hard to find/may be unavailable. There is no guarantee that they will be broadcast this Christmas.
1) “Toy Tinkers” (1949) & “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” (1952)
The two shorts discussed this time are similar in that each short puts characters up against Chip ‘n’ Dale during Christmas time and both times they lose. In “Toy Tinkers” (1949), Chip ‘n’ Dale watch Donald Duck chop down his Christmas tree which intrigues them, so they follow Donald back to his cottage. When they look through the window and see an array of candies and nuts, they decide to go inside and get in on his stash. Donald of course catches them in the act, which leads to a huge battle between both sides. This short does a great job of portraying the love that brings us together at Christmas and if you don’t believe it, then just enjoy Donald dressed up as Santa Claus firing a gun at Chip ‘n’ Dale.
“Pluto’s Christmas Tree” (1952) may be the quintessential Disney Christmas Short. “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” stars Pluto, Mickey, Chip and Dale, and despite the name making it sound like a Pluto short, Chip ‘n’ Dale are the true stars of this one. Mickey and Pluto set out to chop down a tree for Christmas and are lucky to choose the one that Chip ‘n’ Dale are living in. They follow the tree back to the house to Pluto’s dismay leading to hijinks and more. Once Mickey discovers the pair, he makes Pluto back off because it’s Christmas after all. The best part of the short for me is the classic ’50s look to Mickey Mouse that has resurfaced this year on a ton of Disney Parks merchandise.
2) “The Nutcracker Suite” from Fantasia (1940)
Fantasia is one of the most important movies Walt Disney ever made and The Nutcracker ballet is a pretty neat ballet from what I hear. However, it became a classic for Disney fans when Walt took “The Nutcracker Suite” from The Nutcracker and had original sequences animated for it like the rest of Fantasia. The visuals themselves don’t inherently make you think Christmas, but the music fills that void and makes this short segment of the film a must-watch during this time of year.
3) Babes in Toyland (1961)
I have to admit – until this Christmas season I had never watched Babes in Toyland. Now that I have watched it, I can also say that I probably won’t watch it again for a few years. I had always heard that it was a good movie to watch during Christmas time and figured it must be true since “March of the Toys” is heavily used during the season at Disney Parks and the Wooden Soldiers from Babes in Toyland are a part of Christmas parades. Also, it was released theatrically in December, so that’s a perfect time for Christmas movies, right?
I won’t go any further into logistics or my opinion of the film, but it really is a true tradition during Christmas for some families to watch Babes in Toyland and even though it isn’t my cup of tea, I’m glad it is for someone. That being said, I do love those Wooden Soldiers in the Once Upon A Christmastime and A Christmas Fantasy parades.
4) “Once Upon a Wintertime” from Melody Time (1948)
Is the “Once Upon a Wintertime” sequence from Melody Time really a Christmas short? No, not really, but it does a great job setting a snowy, December/winter mood, which to some is necessary to really enjoy Christmas. The gist of this short is that a couple is riding along on a horse-drawn sleigh when they decide to go ice skating. The pond they are ice skating on is also being occupied by a lovely bunny couple. The relationships have sort of a correlation and to make a long story short, a pissed off bunny leads to thin ice cracking and a harrowing rescue for man and bunny alike. Like I said, it’s not really a Christmas short, but it feels like winter.
5) Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Before I started catching up on Christmas features for this story, I had considered including Ernest Saves Christmas on one of these lists as a joke. It’s technically not a Disney movie, but is a Touchstone release like The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, it is important in Disney history, because it was the first full-length film to be produced at Disney-MGM Studios. On a broader scale, it was shot around all of Orlando as well and even though the city has changed a lot in 26 years there is still a lot to recognize.
If you’ve never seen an Ernest movie before then be warned – they are incredibly stupid. You may feel embarrassed watching it and in a constant state of worry that somehow your Netflix viewing habits will get shared to Facebook and everyone will know. Ernest Saves Christmas just might be worth the embarrassment though, so I would definitely recommend giving it a small chance if you can stomach through it. Who doesn’t want to know the story of how Santa Claus needed to find his replacement and the only man who would and could help him is Ernest P. Worrell?
That does it for Part 2 of Disney’s Best Christmas Movies, TV Specials and Shorts. Feel free to comment below on what made the list so far, let me know what you think should make the next list and keep an eye out for Part 3! Find Part 1 here.