The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas

  • Review Date: September 5, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1973
  • Running Time: 30 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Quaint '70s Christmas short a tad un-PC.
  • Review Date: September 5, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1973
  • Running Time: 30 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas exposes viewers to information about hibernation and the rituals of the Christmas holiday.

Positive messages

The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas offers positive messages about facing your fear of the unknown and carrying on with a goal or dream even if friends and loved ones don't support you. 

Positive role models

Characters are very simplistic but largely positive, well-meaning, and kind.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Since the short is told from the perspective of bears in the pre-politically correct 1970s, they refer several times to Santa Claus as "the fat human in a red suit." Parents monitoring exposure to inappropriate language and especially taunts may be wary of this usage. 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas is an animated short from the pre-politically correct 1970s with one potential language usage issue -- the frequent description of Santa as "fat." Some parents may find this usage objectionable. It's otherwise a quaint tale of looking for the Christmas spirit that is suitable for nearly all ages.

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What's the story?

Theodore Edward Bear (voiced by Tom Smothers) decides to stay awake this Christmas instead of hibernating to find out what the Christmas holiday is all about. With the help of friend Patti Bear (voiced by Barbara Feldon) and Santa himself (voiced by Bob Holt), he'll learn exactly what he's been missing -- if he can just stay awake. Narrated by Casey Kasem.

Is it any good?


This early '70s cartoon short is a funny blast from the past with its jokes-a-plenty from the era ranging from horoscope signs to trippy vibes, and its message is simple: Christmas is state of mind.

To kids who like bears and Christmas, it's an entertaining, visually rich, quaint short, and parents of a certain age will likely find an enjoyable nostalgia rush from the simplicity, familiar voice actors, and tone.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about holiday rituals. What rituals do you participate in around the holidays? Which ones are your favorites and why?

  • Have you ever tried to stay up late to catch a full moon or to see holiday fireworks? Did you pull it off? What was it like?

  • In the film, some of the bear's friends aren't very supportive of his plan to stay up late to find Christmas. Have you ever gone against your usual traditions to try something new? What was it? How did it go?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 17, 1973
DVD release date:April 16, 1995
Cast:Barbara Feldon, Bob Holt, Casey Kasem
Director:Hawley Pratt
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:30 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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