Disney Stuff - Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping

by Chris Barry, contributing writer

Welcome back to another Disney Stuff.

The holiday season is certainly upon us. The kids have made their lists. I’ve already been to a Christmas party or two. By the time this article runs, we should have a tree in our living room and lights adorning the house. We had a bit of snow this week and the temperatures have dropped. It’s Christmastime in New York and, as always, things are getting hectic.

Christmas is about many different things to many different people. For me, besides the obvious bells and whistles, gift-giving and quality family time, Christmas has always been about the little things. It’s the little touches and things around the house that make me think Christmas. Whether it’s my wife’s little wooden German Christmas angels that are on display or the delicious scent of cookies baking in the oven or the sounds of our favorite Yuletide music playing in the house, there are a ton of little things that add up to create the whole picture.

One of the things that get packed away in the attic each January with all of the Christmas decorations is a box of kids Christmas books. It’s a collection that's been added added to each year as books are given as gifts or as I come across them myself. The collection has grown over the years. There’s the usual holiday fare represented like Charlie Brown and the Grinch, as well as various classic reindeer and snowmen. And then there’s this little treasure of a book, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping. It’s a classic Little Golden Book from 1953 that I found at a small antique store here in town a few years back and it’s come to be a real favorite of mine. It’s quaint and charming and harkens back to simpler times.

Walt Disney's Mickey Goes Christmas Shopping. Photo by Chris Barry.

As a kid I was always a big fan of Little Golden Books and as I grew into an adult collector, I’m quick to snap up a vintage Disney Little Golden Book if I can. They definitely remind me of my childhood and now that my kids are getting older, they’re starting to make me sentimental for their childhood days as well. What I like most about this book is the simple yet classic artwork and the fact that it features two of the lesser known Disney characters, Mickey’s nephews, Mortie and Ferdie.

Mickey and Minnie, dressed in their 1950s best, have agreed to take Mortie and Ferdie Christmas shopping. They all pile into Mickey’s car for the trip downtown. I’m sure it’s a minor detail, but I find it curious that Mickey’s town is populated with humans in this picture, as opposed to the generic dog-like characters that usually inhabit his world.

Mickey's downtown. Photo by Chris Barry.

Mickey, Minnie, Morty and Ferdie arrive downtown. Photo by Chris Barry.

As soon as they get to the big department store, the boys want to go straight to the third floor for…what else…the toy department.

The boys arrive on the third floor. Photo by Chris Barry.

They’re immediately drawn to the trains and toy cars and “things that go.”

Mortie and Ferdie play with toys. Photo by Chris Barry.

As they are playing, Mickey quietly tells Mortie to stay with Aunt Minnie while he goes to shop for Minnie’s present. Simultaneously Minnie tells Ferdie to stay with Uncle Mickey while she goes to shop for Mickey’s present. The boys spend so much time playing even trying the Quick Trip to the Moon ride, seemingly piloted by none other than Goofy, that they don’t realize the adults have both gone.

Pilot Goofy takes the boys to the moon. Photo by Chris Barry.

After Goofy’s moon ride, the boys fall asleep in the rocket and wake to find an empty store.

Santa's helper leads the boys out to safety. Photo by Chris Barry.

With the help of “Santa’s helper” they are led to the store exit, where Mickey and Minnie are desperately wondering where the boys have been.

Mickey and Minnie frantically wait for the nephews. Photo by Chris Barry.

Mortie and Ferdie learn their lesson to always stay close to the adults when out shopping and, of course, all is well. It’s kind of funny that Mickey and Minnie essentially were at fault here and sort of left the boys behind without paying attention to them, but there’s no mention of that here is there? Remember the days when the grown-ups were always right and kids were always wrong? Me neither, but I digress.

The point is this is a great, little book with wonderful illustrations from The Walt Disney Studio. I’m not exactly sure what it means but it does say “Adapted By Bob Moore and Xavier Atencio.”

Disney legends Bob Moore and Xavier Atencio receive "adapted by" credit. Photo by Chris Barry.

Whether or not that means that these two Disney legends had anything to do with the actual illustrations I can’t say. However, the colors are vibrant and I’ve always liked the 50’s era Mickey Mouse. The book has aged perfectly. The pages have a wonderful patina to them. It's not in pristine shape. This book has been held and read...over and over again. To me, that makes all the difference. This book just feels right. As I’ve said above, it really is a simple pleasure. It reminds me of a time gone by, before video games and iPhones and completely commercialized Christmases. I had books just like this when I was young and always loved digging them out for the holiday season.

That’s one of the reasons I take this collection of Christmas books out each year. I like to remind the kids of the simple joy of sitting by the fire, Christmas lights on the tree aglow, carols on the stereo and a great little storybook in hand. Just like they were read to me when I was a kid, I’ve read them to my kids and I can only hope that someday they will pull their own box out of the attic and read a book like this one to their kids. I can’t ask for more than that on Christmas, can I?

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a joyous New Year. Leave some thoughts by clicking on the link below, and as always, I’ll see you next time with more of that great Disney Stuff.