Christmas has always been my favourite time of year, and one of my favourites things about Christmas other than spending time with the family, opening Christmas presents and eating Christmas dinner is watching Christmas films and specials, ranging from It's a Wonderful Life, Muppet Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Disney and Rankin/Bass specials.
Of the Disney Christmas specials, some favourites are Mickey's Christmas Carol, A Walt Disney Christmas, Jiminy Cricket's Christmas, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, 12 Days of Christmas Sing Along and Very Merry Christmas Sing A Long Songs. A Disney Christmas Gift is a classic alongside these, it was one of the first seasonal videos I ever watched, and I still love it at 19 years old. It still gives me the warm and cuddly feeling a Christmas film or special should do, and I do think there is something for kids and adults too.
A Disney Christmas Gift starts with the song On Christmas Morning. This was a song I only kind of liked but was my least favourite part of the video, but now it has really grown on me. I love singing along to the melody and the lyrics convey the true meaning of Christmas very well. Throughout the animation is of clear, smooth quality, and the music is energetic, poignant and in the case of the Peter Pan and Once Upon a Wintertime segments timeless.
Impressive also are the introductory segments. They are thankfully not too twee lyrically, and the melodies are simple. Not only that, they are short, quick and relevant.
This is memorable for four clips of four Disney films. My personal favourite is the Bambi segment with Bambi and Thumper on ice, which to me personified childhood innocence. Though the most memorable perhaps is the Peter Pan You Can Fly segment. The song itself is amazing, and the best song from the film with 2nd Star to the Right, and the beautiful animation more than compliments it.
That is though not to dispute the clip from The Sword in the Stone, while not my favourite scene from the film(either the squirrel scene or the duel between Merlin and Madam Mim) it is the closest to Christmas and New Year the film gets. Nor the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo sequence, the most magical moment of Cinderella and its story, and containing one of Disney's most iconic moments in Cinderella's ruined dress turning into the grey-ish white ball gown and of course Verna Felton's distinctive voice.
Coveresely, A Disney Christmas Gift also has four amazing shorts, two of which are among Disney's very best, one which is always enormously entertaining and one which is a nostalgic favourite. To me, the two shorts I enjoy most are Pluto's Christmas Tree and The Night Before Christmas. Pluto's Christmas Tree is made memorable for me by Chip n' Dale's increasingly fun antics both inside the Christmas Tree and out and the closing gag with Pluto having the Do Not Open Until XMas sticker slapped onto his mouth to stop him barking, and The Night Before Christmas for the wonderful title song, the jovial Santa Claus and the toys coming to life and decorating the tree.
I mustn't forget The Clock Watcher either. Anything with Donald Duck in is worth watching, and not only is Donald stellar as always, but the animation and music are top notch and the cartoon is hilarious not just with the speaker but also with the jack-in-the-box. I personally don't consider Once Upon a Wintertime among Disney's best, dragging just a tad in the middle perhaps, but it is one of their most nostalgic and moving. The story is beautiful, the animation spellbinding, the characters engaging, but I love it most for the title song, which is one of all-time favourites and Frances Langford's sublime singing.
Overall, a classic, one so good I feel tempted to watch it even when it isn't Christmas. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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