My Disney Top 5 - Ways to Add Some Disney to your Christmas Season

by Chris Barry, contributing writer
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"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

It is the most wonderful time of the year isn't it? The decorations are up. The wreaths are on the door. There's a Christmas tree in a stand in my garage waiting to be set up in the living room. There are only a few more days of school left. My wife has been watching Hallmark Channel Christmas movies for about a month now! Even though I've only bought about two presents so far—it's going to be a shopping blitz this weekend for sure—I'm seriously ready for Christmas to be upon us. Christmas Eve will be great. Christmas Day will be better. The day after Christmas will be even better when we all just collapse and hang around the house, get a fire going, bask in all of the decorations and lights, and check out all of our new stuff. The real point, of course, is that we'll all be taking a much-needed break for a few days and spending some time together as a family. That's what I'm really looking forward to. We've earned it and it's time to cash in on some family time. We'll eat, drink, be merry, see friends and family, and get some skiing in as well. I can't wait!

It stands to reason that given my proclivity for all things Disney, that Disney would factor into my Christmas pretty heavily. For the record there aren't any giant inflatable Mickey Mouses on my front lawn, but, yes, Disney has found its way into my Christmas psyche in many subtle ways. It makes perfect sense. Disney makes me happy. Christmas makes me happy. So, why not put the two together? Let's see what I've been doing all these years to make my Christmas season more magical with my Top 5 ways to add a little Disney to your Christmas.

5 – Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade

Each and every year on Christmas morning, ABC Television airs this classic Disney special featuring music, parades and scenes from the Disney theme parks around the world and how they celebrate Christmas. It airs on Christmas morning, which is really the perfect time. The kids have woken you up early and you've torn through all of your presents. By 10 a.m., you're probably still in your flannel pajamas and have a moment to sit down and relax for a while before the guests come knocking or before you have to pack up and head out to visit family or friends.


Segments for the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade are recorded in the parks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

If you can't actually be in Walt Disney World or Disneyland on Christmas, you can get a wonderful taste of the holiday magic by watching this annual special. It's become a little bit of a two-hour commercial for the Walt Disney Company, and I'm fully aware that it was taped weeks before Christmas Day, but I can accept all of that and enjoy it each year. It adds a little something extra to my morning.

4 – Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Mickey's Christmas Carol

There are lots of Disney holiday specials, but in my house, these are the two that matter the most. The retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol featuring Disney's classic animated characters is really my favorite. In my eyes, it's right up there with what I like to call the Christmas special trifecta—Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and the Grinch. It's beautifully animated and I'm always surprised that it's actually not more popular. It rarely, if ever, runs on television. You can find it on a few different DVD collections. Seek it out if you haven't seen it. You'll love it.


"Mickey's Christmas Carol" with Mickey as Bob Cratchit. ©Disney Enterprises.

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas does typically get an airing each year on Disney-owned Freeform or the Disney Channel, and it's become a favorite of mine as well. It's fun and heartwarming, and features your favorite Disney Characters—primarily the Fab Five: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto—and characters in their immediate orbit, such as Uncle Scrooge, Daisy, Max, and Pete.


Disney's "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas." ©Walt Disney Home Video.

Most important to me, as opposed to its successor, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Once Upon a Christmas is animated in the classic Disney 2D style. I can't say enough about watching Mickey Mouse in 2D as opposed to how the newer generation of kids know him.

3 – Disney Ornaments

We typically have two Christmas trees in my house. There's the big one in the living room, and then there's a smaller one in our family room. The family room tree has always been for the kids to decorate. Over the years that's meant all sorts of cartoon characters like Scooby Doo, Care Bears, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Rudolph, Frosty, and friends. There's been a nice assortment of Disney ornaments as well. Some of our favorites on the kids' tree have always been this set of Four Parks, One World park icons.


Disney Parks-Park Icon Collection. Photo By Chris Barry.

On the big tree, things are a bit more classic. We have a lot of vintage glass ornaments that belonged to my grandfather and my wife has a lot of her favorite small German figures and angels. That doesn't mean that Mickey doesn't find his way onto the main tree. I've always loved this "hidden Mickey" ornament...


This Mickey ornament was bought on Main Street U.S.A. many years ago. Photo By Chris Barry.

...and these blown glass ornaments I found at The Disney Store several years back.


The full set of blown glass ornaments. Photo by Chris Barry.

Speaking of Christmas trees, it's what goes under the kids' tree that enters the list next.

2 – Disney Monorail Under the Christmas Tree

What could be more classic than having the classic Disney monorail running underneath your Christmas tree? I do have a classic set of Lionel trains that I sometimes set up under the aforementioned big tree in the living room, but for about a decade or so, the kids' tree in the family room gets the classic Walt Disney World monorail under its boughs.


The monorail playset isn't set up yet, but by the time you read this, it will be. Photo by Chris Barry.

I love the monorail and it wouldn't be Christmas if it's not running, albeit slowly, underneath a Christmas tree in our home.

1 – Disney Village Christmas Collection

I've written several Christmas themed articles here on MousePlanet over the years and so many of them contain this collection of light-up Christmas houses. The Walt Disney World Railroad Main Street Station is mine. My daughter gets the firehouse. One son gets the Main Street Cinema. The other gets his namesake, Casey's Corner. The main princess in the house, my wife, gets Cinderella Castle. It's really one of my prized collections, especially since you can't buy them anymore. I'm still on the hunt for the Emporium and City Hall to complete the collection, but they're always too expensive when I manage to find them online.


The first building to greet you at any Magic Kingdom. Photo By Chris Barry.

Other village collections by Dept. 56 and some other companies have come out over the years, but these were the only ones available exclusively in the parks and from the old Disney Catalog; that's what makes them so unique and so desirable. These houses are very special to me, and just setting them up in my living room makes Christmas come alive each year.

We have many other Disney Christmas items in the house. There's a great collection of Disney Christmas figurines by Lenox. My wife has some adorable Winnie the Pooh porcelain hinged boxes. I have a great set of vintage Disney Christmas card reprints that were a D23 yearly gift. There are Disney Christmas story books here. I've got a ton of Christmas specials on tape and DVD. It's all here. If you visit our home for the holidays, you're not hit over the head with Disney when you walk into the house, but if you seek it out, Disney has a subtle, but magical presence in our home, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a magical New Year. Thanks so much for reading my Top 5s for another year. As always, click on the link below, let me hear your thoughts and I'll see you in 2019 with another Disney Top 5.

 

Comments

  1. By danyoung

    I have no comments or critiques on your article - just a big ol' Merry Christmas to you and your family, my friend!

  2. By DisneyGator

    Love watching every Christmas. We were on last year's Christmas Day parade. So cool! I had friends from all over the world texting me Christmas morning (because they were seeing it before it came on in Cali). You could see us doing the big'ol Gator Chomp right behind Jesse Palmer. Representing!!!

  3. By DaLoon

    My current favorite Disney find for Christmas came from Hallmark -- a set of Goofy, Mickey & Goofy who plug in, warm up and then each of them sings a Christmas song with the other two joining in. Very cute and of interest to the grandchildren. Clearly Disney approved the use of its characters. We have many Disney ornaments, but also have a cat who believes he owns everything in the house, so it is tough to keep the ornaments safe. Chris -- I always read your articles - they are great. Have a great, magical and merry Christmas.

  4. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    I have no comments or critiques on your article - just a big ol' Merry Christmas to you and your family, my friend!

    Thanks so much Dan and Happy Holidays to you and yours! Thanks for being a dedicated reader!

  5. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGator View Post
    Love watching every Christmas. We were on last year's Christmas Day parade. So cool! I had friends from all over the world texting me Christmas morning (because they were seeing it before it came on in Cali). You could see us doing the big'ol Gator Chomp right behind Jesse Palmer. Representing!!!

    Hey Gator. Wish i would have known that little tidbit. I'd have watched for you in the crowd last year to se if i could spot you! Happy Holidays. Thanks for always reading and commenting!

  6. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by DaLoon View Post
    My current favorite Disney find for Christmas came from Hallmark -- a set of Goofy, Mickey & Goofy who plug in, warm up and then each of them sings a Christmas song with the other two joining in. Very cute and of interest to the grandchildren. Clearly Disney approved the use of its characters. We have many Disney ornaments, but also have a cat who believes he owns everything in the house, so it is tough to keep the ornaments safe. Chris -- I always read your articles - they are great. Have a great, magical and merry Christmas.

    I've seen that set online. Very cool!

    Thanks for always reading and taking the time to comment. Merry Christmas to you as well.

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