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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in September 2009 "Mickey's Christmas Carol" became available on DVD as part of the Classic Short Films Animation Collection. Other shorts in the collection include "Pluto’s Christmas Tree," "The Small One," and "Santa’s Workshop." There are some mildly scary moments in the featured cartoon. Of course, these images serve to scare Scrooge into becoming a generous man when he wakes up in the morning, but youngest viewers might flinch at the ghostly presence. In "Pluto's Christmas Tree" there's one scene of comic violence when Mickey wrings Pluto's neck and shouts "You dumb mutt!" Also of note -- there are very few girls or women to be found in any of these animated classics.
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What's the story?
Ebenezer Scrooge is a busy duck when Christmas rolls around. He has to count lots of money in his Counting House. He does have a certain mouse helping him, named Bob Cratchit. And though Bob has a friendly attitude to his miserly boss, he is not duly rewarded for his work and his family doesn't have enough food to go around. Scrooge can't be bothered with other people's misery. That is, until he is visited by three ghosts, who show him the effects of his miserly ways. The other shorts are also related to Christmas, the most religous of which is called "The Small One," which ends with a starlit cross lighting the sky on the eve of Jesus' birth
Is it any good?
MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL takes Dickens' lesson-rich tale of greed and redemption and gives it some light Disney touches, making it a better version to share with younger viewers. The theme of generosity comes up again in the touching cartoon (and most religious of the bunch) called "The Small One," in which a young boy must sell his pet donkey.
Not to be overlooked is the final animated short called "Santa's Workshop" -- an early Disney masterpiece complete with rhyming text and a wonderfully imagined North Pole. There are many funny and deliberate details to behold. All in all, these cartoons will get the whole family in the mood for a cheerful Christmas.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about greed. Does it always have to do with money? Can people be greedy in other ways? What does Scrooge miss out on in his life because of his greedy nature?
Getting presents is a big part of Christmas. But should Christmas be ALL about the presents? Can you name three gifts that you can give that are not bought or sold?
Parents might like to check out these age-appropriate tips that can help families navigate the consumer blitz during the holidays.
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