“Pick something from Disney,” Chris said. “It’ll be a safe choice.”

I was desperately thumbing through NetFlix, looking for something, anything to entertain our children for the last hour before bedtime on the worst parenting day of our lives.

Chris and I had both woken up with the stomach virus Saturday morning. We were incapacitated, aching, nauseated, floating in and out of consciousness and the bathroom, and giving the bacteria in our septic tank an entire day of very generous Christmas presents.

Our children, however, were fine. Earlier in the week they’d both had much milder symptoms – Ali had a day of tummy-aches and Noah had a day of Inferi-infested Lake Diapers. But neither were affected like us, and both were now at 100% energy levels. Because clearly this virus was targeted at parents.

I could have picked any number of Christmas specials that night, even after Chris suggested I go with Disney – they have as many Christmas movies as Amy Grant does Christmas Albums. But as the fates allowed, I randomly chose “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” right before I passed out again.


It was a trio of Christmas stories, and the children were mesmerized as they ate their Pizza – perhaps the first real food offered to them that day.

The first story was a charming one about Huey, Dewey, and Louie and a wish that every day could be Christmas day. After a few dozen repeats of the same day, they grew tired of their Great-Aunt’s kisses, became foie-gras-ready from eating Christmas dinner every day, and bored with opening the same presents.

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A nice, timely moral – every day can’t be Christmas, kiddies. Especially when your parents are having their guts tilled with John Deere Industrial Strength Machinery.

But then. The next story.

We should have known it would be a train wreck because it was about Goofy being a FATHER.

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Who allowed that to happen?

I feel like there must have been some “taking advantage” happening in that situation. No way that Goofy knows how babies are made.

Anyway. Goofy is a single Dad (I told you – she used him and left) and has this son named Max who is clearly more intelligent than him (as if there were another option.)


Their next door neighbor, the ever-villanous Pete, starts out the movie by ridiculing Goofy AND Max for believing in Santa.


Chris and I looked at each other.


We had chosen not to watch Elf with the children this year because we didn’t want to answer questions! After all, lying to the children doesn’t come naturally to us – and we had no desire to play Lie Jenga about Santa. And yet, here was a Disney cartoon, being even more direct than Elf?!

Pete goes on to imply that Goofy is mentally impaired, and that’s the reason why he believes in Santa, and poor Max, stuck with such a stupid Dad – of course he’d believe too.




We laid there – sick, horrified, and wondering what to do.

Meanwhile, Pete continued.

“Max – think about it. An old guy, in a red suit, cruisin’ the entire world in one night, usin’ reindeer that would fly – why it’s practically impossible!!”

Our children were entranced and silent and not running circles around us for the first time that day, so we let it go.

And after all, if we turned it off at this point, it’d be more suspicious. So what is a parent to do? Surely. SURELY. SUUUUUUUUUUURELY Disney would redeem this nightmare of a toon.

Max pulls out his dictionary, pondering these things in his heart, then finds Goofy and shares all of the logical reasons that Santa can’t possibly be real.

“Did you know that there are over two billion children in the world…”

Disney!! What are you DOING?!?!

“That means Santa would have to make like…800 visits a second! NOT including bathroom breaks…”


“And…how can a reindeer fly?”


“But it just doesn’t…quite make sense, Dad.”



A full day of parenting with the stomach virus can make one very profane, so I will leave it up to you to imagine what Chris and were mouthing back and forth as our children sat underneath our television set, soaking this pile of feces in.

Meanwhile, Goofy continues to make himself look stupider and stupider, playing an exponential, magnified version of the stereotypical TV parent.

Then Max starts telling other kids that he doubts Santa exists.

“But…have you actually ever SEEN Santa??”

So Goofy dresses up as Santa to try and convince Max that Santa does exist.

Max is saved!

“I am SO glad you came! I almost didn’t believe in you anymore! But now everything is okay.”

Until Goofy’s beard falls off.

“Dad?! You TRICKED me!! How COULD you??”

Max is mad. Nearly as mad as Chris and I are. All we wanted was one last hour. ONE STUPID HOUR.

If Disney Junior is where the magic begins, then Disney Christmas Specials must be where it ends.

Max and Goofy get into a large fight about whether Santa is real. Goofy camps out on the roof, trying to snap a picture of Santa to prove it to Max.


We watch Max’s clock turn from 12 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, as a depressed Max can’t sleep.


At 4:39, Max checks in on his Dad again, ending in an angry rant. “Why doesn’t he just GROW UP and face the facts?”


Goofy even carves “DON’T FORGET MAX” in the snow, desperately and sadly trying to conjure Santa.




Then, in a shocking lack of continuity, it’s 3 am again. Goofy is yelling.


“Max! Wake up! Wake up, Son! It’s him! It really is!!”


Chris and I regain hope, thinking this is the moment Disney will redeem themselves for this crapload of a cartoon.


Goofy goes to snap a picture – and then floodlights hit Santa. Or not. It’s a robber going down someone’s chimney.


Dear Disney, DIE.



Goofy falls off the roof and it looks like accidental death will join robbery on the front page of the Christmas Day Gazette.


He finally sits up. “You were right about everything, Max.”

At this point, Chris is ready to storm the headquarters of Disney and provide them all with the gift that keeps on giving – a nice crystal bowl full of bodily fluids containing our special concoction of germs.

Max tries to comfort his poor, dejected Dad.

“Hey Dad. It’s OKAY! Santa didn’t show. No biggie! Since he’s not coming, at least we can eat all his cookies!”


“I’m not hungry.”

“Let’s play!”

“Maybe later.”

Max tries to fake Goofy out by dressing up like Santa, tricking the stupid Dad, and of course then his costume falls off too, dejecting Goofy once again.

“I just wanted to make you happy, Dad.”


The end.

And no one’s heart grew three sizes toward Disney that day.

Epilogue: Thankfully, the kids haven’t asked questions so far. And I do still love Disney. Half my kid’s presents are Disney-Character-related and we’ll probably go see Frozen sometime next week. But if I could have a Christmas Shoes moment and get just one wish, it would be that this Christmas Special be burned. Repeatedly. Well okay – after I rid the world of the stomach virus.

24 thoughts on “How The Disney Stole Christmas.

  1. I had forgotten which cartoons were in the Once Upon A Christmas special. I thought it really odd that it wasn’t playing on tv this year. I can only seem to find TWICE Upon A Christmas, which my kids have watched a couple times now. I am so glad I didn’t netflix it yet.

  2. I feel terrible about it, but…the thought of you and Chris silently, weakly uttering profanities at Goofy is a truly hilarious mental image. Hope you’re both back to 100% today.

  3. ..So many kids to get to in one night… I was told that was why God gave us different time zones all over the world.

  4. I had the same disappointment with that Goofy cartoon when we first saw it a couple years ago. It baffles me how so many Christmas movies/specials have the same theme of so-and-so doesn’t believe in Santa. Not only is it an overused storyline, but it also *introduces* the idea of doubt when, for most of the kids watching, that doubt had never been there — until now!

    We don’t watch “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” anymore because, luckily, my girls like “Twice Upon a Christmas” much better (so do I).

    BTW: “We Bought a Zoo” outs the Bunny. It’s not a holiday movie, of course, but just in case you ever go to watch a seemingly innocent PG-rated movie as a family.

  5. You know, I saw that on tv the other day and didn’t really think too much about it (because I was busy with other stuff and Jake is only just now 14 months old), but after you go over it like that, and with KIDS not babies, I can’t believe Disney would make a movie like that! I will definitely be crossing that off of our ‘let’s watch this movie!’ list for when Jake is older. I’m glad that your kiddos haven’t asked questions yet, hopefully the movie flew above their radar? *fingers crossed!* So sorry you and Chris have the stomach flu, that is so cruddy. I had that around Jake’s 1st birthday and wouldn’t ask for that again. Hope you guys are back to feeling better. Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! :)

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t worried about Noah, but Ali’s a thinker. She still may be pondering it, waiting for the perfect moment to spring a tirade of questions upon us.

      Chris is better but I am not. Hoping to be very soon.

      Merry Christmas!

  6. First of all I totally sympathize with your illness. I HATE the stomach flu! I have childhood memories of being sick with the stomach flu during Christmas vacation! Poor you and poor Chris!!!!
    My 5 yr old and 2.5 yr old boys have been watching that particular Disney show for a couple of weeks now! They love the first episode with Huey, Duey and Louie. They call it the “Uncle Donald show”. You know, I don’t really have that Santa dilemma. Now, this is just my opinion, and I love your blog, but I just don’t get this. :) I’ve never understood the parental freak out if a kid doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. I’ve told my boys the truth about it from the beginning, because I want them to know that Santa is just a story. So I actually kind of have the opposite problem with those Disney Christmas shows. I don’t want them to think Santa real when I’ve told them he is just pretend. They know that mommy and daddy and grandma and grandpa bought them presents because we love them, and Santa has nothing to do with it. If other parents want to do the whole Santa thing, that’s totally their call. We chose not too. That’s how I was raised, and Christmas was still exciting and wonderful. I’m not anti-Santa but I won’t go through great lengths to make sure my children’s faith in his existence stays intact. My mom told us she would never lie to us and that included Santa. It was a little awkward though when other adults would ask us kids “what is Santa bringing you this year?” I quickly learned that those adults would be sad and a little horrified if I answered that Santa had nothing to do with it.
    I dunno, I guess I think the straight and honest approach is best, then they will not have doubts and disappointments, and I won’t have to worry about them “discovering the truth” before they get older. Or have them feeling betrayed because we obviously lied about Santa being something that is real. I’d rather spend the effort and the energy and focus on the birth of Jesus and how that truly does affect their life and how that is truly miraculous and deserving of their faith.
    I know I am in the minority here, and I hope I haven’t greatly offended anyone. Like I said, I just don’t get it…

    1. I totally understand that – we’re often torn about it. We just don’t do up Santa really big – we don’t make a big deal about him and usually don’t watch a lot of shows with him in it. And the first time Ali asks us if he’s real, we’ll tell her he’s not. But at the same time, we didn’t want him ruined by Disney right before Christmas! :-)

    2. You’re not alone, Stephanie! No condemnation for families that decide to “do it up big” with Santa,, but he has a very minimal role in Christmas at our house, as well. We talk about Christmas being a big birthday party for Jesus and create lots of fun and excitement around the REAL story and the REAL stuff! I think it helps that we stay pretty pumped up about Jesus all year long at our house, so celebrating His birthday is something my three year old is literally jumping-up-and-down-excited about (thank you, Lord!).

      When Santa does come up, our (completely true!) answer is that Saint Nicholas was a man who loved Jesus SO MUCH that he wanted everyone else to know how much God loved THEM, so he gave them presents! When people (perfectly innocently!) ask my daughter what she is GETTING for Christmas (even if Santa isn’t mentioned), she looks kind of confused for a second because we don’t make lists or put much emphasis on Christmas as a time of getting…. So I fairly quickly chime in with, “Loulie, why dont you tell her what you’re GIVING so-and-so for Christmas?” and she lights right up! As an added bonus, I think the inquiring party kind of “gets the drift” of where we stand without being made to feel awkward or condemned.

      On Christmas morning we will take turns “playing Santa” by putting on the fuzzy red hat and finding a gift under the tree for each family member. We open our gifts one at a time so we can enjoy each other’s excitement. So while Santa does get a small nod at our house as a “fun game,” the lion’s share of the attention is placed on Jesus and on showing “Jesus love” to others by giving.

  7. Ugh, sorry you guys were so sick. You are brave to tough it out! I would have called my mom in .2 seconds flat! Haha :) We watched that show on Netflix too and I thought it was pretty crappy, but since we don’t do Santa it didn’t bother me that bad. I was just wishing they could all be nicer and the story wasn’t great. I love Disney but they do have some messed up stuff. Their Three Musketeers (or maybe it was Mousekateers) scared my girls to tears. Grr.

      1. hahaha. ok, so I’m behind on your blog and just catching up today. For the record, I do hate the above mentioned movie. It is beyond ridiculous. But for some reason my boys Love the classic Looney Tunes. (Mostly Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, who don’t ever speak, and this fascinates my son) But after weeks and weeks of watching I heard my 5 yr old singing to the baby, “Go to sleep, go to sleep, close your big blood shot eyes.” Then he was singing, “Nobody knows how dry I am”

  8. I like how all stomach viruses are referred to as THE stomach virus. Not many ailments have that distinction. You have an ear infection or a cold or even just pneumonia, but when your digestive system is involved, it’s THE stomach virus. Because clearly, there is only one and it just gets passed around and around and around… And as a side note, the stomach virus paid a not-so-welcome visit to our house this weekend as well.

    1. Ugh – I’m so sorry! It seems to be hitting ***everybody*** lately. But I promise I haven’t been to WingStop lately – so it wasn’t me that brought THE Stomach Virus to you!

  9. Um, thanks for the heads up. We actually watched that episode but I too assumed it was safe and paid no attention…so I had no idea that was happening. Guess my kids didn’t get it and ask questions. That episode will be banned! Just seems ridiculous to take a pre k cartoon to that level. Hope you all are feeling better. Nothing worse then being a parent and down for the count.

  10. Ohmigosh, DISNEY! What were they THINKING? Fantastic post! I’ll have to remember this movie and Just Say No! I wish there was a website where parents could find out information like this BEFORE the kids succumb to the horror (and without having to waste time watching children’s movies alone to see if indeed, there will be future emotional scarring). Hope you guys are recovering! Merry Christmas!

  11. I am just astounded at the immaturity of this. Either your kids were meant to know at the time or the concept just flew over their heads. So Disney made a cartoon regarding Santa not being real. IT’S JUST A CARTOON. Deal with it. Stop being so worked up over such a trivial thing.

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