December is the month of miracles and joy. It’s the time of first frosts and mittens, snowballs and sleds, Glühwein and Christmas preparations. Snowy evenings and hot drinks after school or a day at work is the perfect setting for you to watch something before going to sleep. And what could be better than traditional Christmas cartoons?
After the success of Mickey’s Orphans on December 9, 1931 Disney started to create a magic holiday atmosphere in the lives of people. On December 17, 1932 it was followed up by Mickey’s Good Deed: the short 7 minute long clip features Mickey Mouse and Pluto playing as street musicians, trying to earn some money to create a holiday atmosphere at their house. After a break Disney continued the tradition of Christmas Specials with Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952), and, probably the most famous one for the contemporary audience, Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983). For those of you who are not familiar with the adopted version of the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens, the story takes us back to the Victorian Age and tells the story of a greedy Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck), who thinks about nothing but profit, thus affecting people around him (Bob Cratchit (Mickey Mouse)). He gets visited by Jacob Marley (Goofy), the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who give Scrooge a look at his life in an attempt to change him for the better. This wonderful classic Christmas story became a beloved cartoon for kids as well as other Disney Christmas Specials.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (1998, USA)
When this cartoon was screened for the first time, it was bound to become a Christmas classic in the family cartoon genre. Little reindeer Rudolph is different from the others because he has a shining red nose, which lights up when he sneezes. He’s always laughed at and bullied, he runs away from school and meets Santa, who treats him like a normal reindeer. The adventures start when the Evil Ice Queen threatens to end Santa’s business. This story of friendship, love and goodness is a perfect Christmas delight with a wonderful soundtrack, which gives the belief in the better and brings smiles to faces.
Father Christmas (1991, UK)
Father Christmas is the UK classic of its genre. The wonderful Christmas adaptation of two last books by graphic novelist Raymond Briggs. It portrays Santa Claus as an ordinary man, working from his home and living with his dog, cat, and two reindeer. He lives a normal life: takes care of his house, goes on vacation, works. He travels to France, Scotland, the USA and other places where he finds himself in funny situations which are caused sometimes by his ignorance or drinking. This cartoon can offer a different perspective and angle on the stereotypical icon of Santa Claus.
Дед мороз и лето (1969, USSR) (Father Frost and Summer)
Father Frost and Summer is a kind and funny story about Father Frost (Russian Santa Claus) who finds out about the existence of summer. He previously only knew about winter and cold, New Year’s and giving kids presents. So one day he decides to experience summer. He meets little children whom he becomes friends with but the fun of the summer ends when Father Frost gets sick and starts to melt. While doctors cannot help, children realize that they need to give him ice cream and it works. Father Frost enjoys green grass, flowers, sun and the playful company of children in his journey to summer. Created by Soyuzmultfilm , this kind and bright story can’t leave you untouched.
Когда зажигаются елки (1950, USSR) (When the Christmas Tree is Lit)
While siblings Lucie and Vanya “order” toys from Father Frost and get back to celebration activities, last minute preparations at Father Frost’s house are underway. And when everything’s packed, granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) waves goodbye and wishes Father Frost and his snowmobile snowman driver good luck. But luck leaves Lucie’s and Vanya’s presents as they fell out of the truck when car jumps on a bum. A bunny and a bear go on a dangerous adventure to get to the kids’ celebrations. This exciting and thrilling story ends when the Christmas tree is lit!
Pettson och Findus 3: Tomtemaskinen (2005, Sweden) (Pettson and Findus 3: Pettson’s Promise)
The story of this Swedish cartoon, made after a very successful series of children’s books in Western Europe, tells about the regular lonely countryside farmer Pettson and, at first unwanted but with time best friend cat Findus. Everyone thinks that Pettson is a bit strange and only his loyal friend knows how kind a man he is. Christmas time is coming and Findus makes a wish that Santa will come. Pettson doesn’t believe in Santa and knows that it will upset his friend, so he makes a quick promise that Santa will come. In order to make his friend’s wish come true, Pettson has to use all of his engineering abilities and secretly makes a mechanical machine of Santa.
Dva Mrazici (1954, Czech Republic) (Two Little Frosts)
A nicely animated fairy tale, excellently done by Czech director Jiří Trnka, tells a story of two little frosts competing in freezing people. One frost is very courageous while the other one is a coward. The competition starts when they find a hardworking lumberman and start teasing him. But soon enough they realize that it’s not that easy and safe to mess around with hardworking men. This classic winter story is well done and the dialogues are greatly performed by Vlasta Burian and Werich. This cartoon is a perfect choice for those who are interested in multicultural folklore.
We hope that this small collage of Christmas and New Year’s cartoons will encourage you to familiarize yourselves with customs and traditions of not only your country but with others as well. Make your holidays not only fun but also educating, enjoy every moment of the winter holidays and don’t forget to always improve yourselves. We want to wish you a great time and lots of fun in this and upcoming year!