Arts & Culture

3 Christmas Lessons Learned from Obscure Disney Channel Content: Pre-2006

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be satire. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the author or of TRBC.

I don’t know about you, but Disney Channel was my most trusted source of entertainment throughout childhood. It was a comfort to know that when I came home from school, my favorite Disney Channel actors would be there to remind me which channel I was watching as they drew the Mickey emblem on the screen and in my heart.

Each time the holidays rolled around, I knew I could trust Disney to provide me with quality distractions from the cold and bitter California winter weather. But Disney Channel didn’t pull out the laugh-track and call it a day. There were things to learn. Little did I know that I would never again be able to celebrate Christmas without remembering these three lessons from my favorite Disney Christmas content (you know, in the years before it went downhill faster than a sled on packed snow).

1. Do not steal a weather machine from Santa Claus unless you know how to use it.

This is one of those Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOM, as we call them in the business) that I had to look up to make sure I hadn’t imagined it. The Ultimate Christmas Present is, in fact, a real movie that you may or may not have vague memories of. The plot centers around two girls (played by actresses Brenda Song and not-Brenda Song) who find trouble after wandering into the woods in Los Angeles. Now, this is the most unrealistic part of the movie because everyone knows there isn’t any vegetation in California.

It gets a little more believable after that, as they stumble upon Santa’s cabin, find a device that controls the weather, and break it. L.A. is covered in snow, someone’s father gets stuck at the airport because of the resulting blizzard (will he be home for Christmas?!), and we begin to wonder whether wishing for snow wasn’t such a good idea in the grand scheme of things.

Long story short, a little snow goes a long way when it comes to Santa’s weather
machine, and you should only steal if you’re sure you can pull off manipulating the weather with subtlety.

2. Beg your Christmas tree for mercy now, unless you want the year 2121 to exist with a historical narrative filled with arboreal murder.

If you don’t consider Phil of the Future to be one of the greatest shows that Disney Channel ever produced, then you are entirely entitled to your own opinion and should feel free to continue reading, as this is a respectful environment.

Alyson Michalka (of the soul-empowering and recently revived duo Aly & AJ), as Keely, had the same reaction the following jingle, featured in the 2005 episode “Christmas Break,” as I did (confusion and horror):

(to the tune of “O Christmas Tree”)

O Robo Tree

O Robo Tree

You’re programmed just to thrill us!

O Robo Tree

O Robo Tree

It’s Christmas, please don’t kill us!

We didn’t mean to make you frown,

Release our kids and put them down!

Why didn’t we buy Astro Tree?

It’s guaranteed not to kill us!

Or your money back!

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the show or the context of this song, don’t worry about it. I’ve personally lost all memory of the details involved but am content to heed the warning that Disney Channel so kindly shared with it’s young and impressionable audience. Hostile take-over by artificial intelligence is inevitable.

3. Don’t be selfless when giving gifts or else everybody loses.

I think this one is technically a classic, non-Disney related story, but just as with everything else in my life, branding matters; and Disney used a cute cartoon to present its rendition. Mickey’s Once
Upon a Christmas
features “Mickey & Minnie’s Gift of the Magi,” a heartwarming tale in which
Mickey sells his cherished harmonica to buy a gold chain for Minnie’s heirloom watch, and Minnie sells the watch to buy a case for Mickey’s harmonica. Oh, golly!
You might be tempted to think that this story hopes to send some sort of message about how material things don’t matter, or that it’s the thought that counts, or even that you should only buy someone a gift off of their Amazon wish-list. Don’t be ridiculous.

The take-away from this 1999 public service announcement is that sacrificing your own valued possessions (or time or money) is never a good idea. Keep your stuff and tell your significant other the truth: your happiness is the priority in the relationship.

And there you have it. Thanks, Disney Channel, for these nostalgic television moments that continuously pop into my mind all through the holidays!

 

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