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5 Reasons Why Mickey's Christmas Carol Is Required Viewing For Me Every Holiday Season

Mickey with a big turkey
(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

Ah, it’s almost Christmas time again. So, you know what that means, don’t you? It means that we have to again hear people argue about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. Here’s the thing. I don’t think of Die Hard when I consider holiday themed movies, and do you want to know why? It’s because sometimes, I’m in the mood to watch Die Hard in the middle of the summer, and any movie that I get an urge to watch during the summer is NOT a Christmas movie. Not in my book anyway. But, if you want to know one movie that I watch exclusively when looking for  Christmas movies, it’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Ah, Mickey’s Christmas Carol. You know, there are tons of other A Christmas Carol movies out there, and they’re all pretty much the same. A miserly old dude gets visited by some ghosts, sees the error of his ways, and then wakes up a changed man. Some versions are better than others (I have a soft spot for The Muppet Christmas Carol, mostly because of the non-retired Michael Caine as Scrooge), there is only one version that I would consider my favorite, and that’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I have five reasons why. Care to fly away with me, or is it "Bah, humbug!" for you? Well, too late, because I’m going to tell you anyway!

Mickey caroling with others

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

It's Short And Sweet, And I Can Show It To My Students

As a teacher in 2021, it’s kind of hard for me to get away with showing a movie for days on end like teachers used to do back when we were kids. Nowadays, many teachers are only limited to showing bite-sized clips from movies, and we always have to have a discussion afterwards and connect it back to our lessons somehow. We can’t just turn off the lights, go to our desks in the back of the room, and then doze off. Thankfully, I can get away with showing Mickey’s Christmas Carol to my students since it’s short (Only 26 minutes!) and I can show it within the span of a single class.

Its brevity works in its favor since it never wears out its welcome. Unlike the Jim Carrey version, which stayed fairly close to the Charles Dickens novel, Mickey’s Christmas Carol tells its story and doesn’t waste your time with little details. You get all the best bits of the story (With characters like Goofy, Jiminy Cricket, and Daisy Duck filling in, because why not?), and it moves at such a brisk pace, that you’re entirely invested from the very first scene to the last. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Scrooge climbing back out of damnation

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

It Is My Favorite Scrooge McDuck Performance

I grew up on Duck Tales so I know Scrooge McDuck. He’s the rich granduncle of Huey, Dewey, and Louie who likes to go on adventures, right? Well, yes, that’s true in Duck Tales. But, it wasn’t until I saw Mickey’s Christmas Carol that his name finally made sense to me. Ah…Scroooooge, as in Ebenezer Scrooge. Granted, that’s pretty obvious, but when you’re a kid who grew up learning pretty much everything from the Disney Afternoon cartoon block, well, I hope you can see why I didn’t pick up on certain things.

This is my favorite version of Scrooge, by far. He's closer to the vintage comic books character. This Scrooge truly lives up to his namesake, and there’s no love in his heart, just like Ebenezer Scrooge himself. This is a real SOB who will take money out of his employee’s paycheck just because his employee wants to use some coal to heat himself. Of course, the Scrooge in this movie is really just aping Ebenezer Scrooge, but that just makes his ultimate turnaround all the better. Speaking of which…

Mickey at his worktable

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

It's My Favorite Version Of The Dickens Story 

Honestly, I don’t like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I’ve read the book, and it’s fine. I mean, the movies get most of the story beats down for the most part, but the story itself is so tried and true that it kind of feels like the Bible since it seems so ancient. A lot of the movies play on this old-timey feeling, and hell, even Mickey’s Christmas Carol plays on this feeling of antiquity.

That said, being animated and featuring Mickey and the gang definitely helps. The snow is there, but it’s in beautiful Disney animation. The characters, who I always felt were kind of dry in many other versions (besides in The Muppet Christmas Carol, but that one’s just super zany) are livened up by the likes of Mickey, Willie the giant, and Pete. The movie, even though it came out the year I was born, still somehow feels fresh and alive in a way that the other versions don’t. Did I mention that I truly love this film?

Mickey with his family

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

It Truly Gets Me In The Holiday Spirit 

I mentioned up top why I don’t consider Die Hard a Christmas movie since it doesn’t put me in the holiday spirit. But, other than Jingle All the Way, I can’t think of another Christmas movie that gets me more in the spirit than Mickey’s Christmas Carol. It really has everything.

Here’s the strange thing. While I get virtually nothing out of any other version of A Christmas Carol, I truly feel like it isn’t the Christmas season until I pop in the DVD or stream Mickey’s Christmas Carol on Disney+. No amount of Mariah Carey or Wham! on the radio can give me the same holiday jolt that I get when I see Scrooge McDuck go from a hard case to a Christmas hero. Which brings me to my last point.

Scrooge with the kiddies

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

It Literally Makes Me Cry Every Time I Watch It 

Okay, so, I’m not ashamed to cry, but I do kind of try not to do it in front of my students when I show this movie every year, but I just can’t help it. By the end of this film, at least one student looks back at the sound of me sniffling, and then asks, “Are you crying, Mr. Knight?” And though I always say I'm not, I definitely am. I cry every time I watch this damn movie, without fail, and I must have seen it over 20 times now. At least 20 times! That’s how many times I’ve cried watching this film. 

It’s the very end that does it for me. When Scrooge McDuck goes around delivering toys in the neighborhood as a changed man, I get a lump in my throat as soon as he knocks on Mickey’s door. That lump gets pretty heavy when he hides the toys away from Mickey’s children, only for the toys to spill out. And then, my eyes glass over as soon as Tiny Tim sits on Scrooge’s lap in a rocking chair and the whole screen goes sepia toned. That’s when the music swells singing, “Merry, Merry Christmas,” and I genuinely start to cry. I mean, I’m crying right now and I’m just THINKING about it. Oh, man, I’m a mess. Please excuse me for a moment...

Okay, thank you. I’m better now! If you haven't made Mickey’s Christmas Carol an annual tradition, then give it another watch to see if you change your mind, and also try out these popular Christmas movies streaming when you’re done with it. Happy holidays! 

Rich Knight

Lover of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue people), video games, and anything 90s, he will talk your ear off about Godzilla, so don't get him started.