With the “Most Merriest” time of year in full swing, who better to celebrate the winter festivities with than Mickey Mouse and his pals Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Chip ‘N’ Dale? The Walt Disney Studios animated shorts from the first half of the 20th Century occasionally dipped into the cold-weather climate to bring snowbound shenanigans and assorted holiday hijinks to movie houses during the golden age of Hollywood.
Below, I’ve selected five favorite shorts starring Mickey and friends that take place in or around the Christmas season, plus two bonus Silly Symphony selections without Disney’s famous cartoon characters. These cherished films have all been released on home video via the excellent Walt Disney Treasures DVD series, but as those are all out of print it may be easier to simply enjoy them via (mostly unauthorized) YouTube uploads.
1) On Ice (1935)
Mickey and Minnie learn how to skate, Goofy goes ice fishing, and Donald plays a prank on poor Pluto. Everything is fun and games until Donald places himself in danger by strapping a kite to his back, sending him careening over a waterfall.
2) Toy Tinkers (1949)
Those mischievous chipmunks Chip ‘n’ Dale invade Donald’s home to steal nuts at Christmastime. An all-out battle ensues between the arch-nemesis duck and rodents using toys surrounding the Christmas tree.
3) The Art of Skiing (1941)
Beyond being hilarious, this cartoon is notable for two reasons: it is the first appearance of the famous “Goofy holler” scream utilized both with and without Goofy in many Disney films, and it also inspired the popular “How To” series of Goofy shorts.
4) Donald’s Snow Fight (1942)
Donald goes up against his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie in a Civil War-inspired showdown in a winter wonderland.
5) Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952)
When Mickey and Pluto unknowingly chop down the evergreen tree home of Chip ‘N’ Dale, prompting a game of cat and mouse between the dog and chipmunks, with Mickey not catching on until the very end.
BONUS – Santa’s Workshop (1932) / The Night Before Christmas (1933)
This charming two-part cartoon series sees Santa Claus crafting and delivering toys to children on Christmas Eve. Made one year apart from each other, the pair of animated offerings from producer Walt Disney and director Wilfred Jackson are a pleasant alternative to the more slapstick-oriented humor found in the other shorts above. Enjoy and have a wonderful winter!
Mike has been fascinated by theme parks and Disney all his life. He has worked in the entertainment journalism field since 2015, after spending a decade as a film projectionist at one of Hollywood’s most prestigious movie theaters. He resides in Burbank, California with his wife and cat.