Disney Channel knows how to get in the Christmas spirit. From their old classics to their newer programming, the creators at the network have come up with wonderful family stories of all kinds. Amid the busyness of shopping and preparations, Disney Channel kids could stop and take a breather with their favorite characters each year.
The holiday season is a special time of year, from cooking or baking traditional foods to binge-watching favorite seasonal movies. All those questions you have about Disney Channel and the holidays are answered here, just in time to relive the magic on Disney+.
10 Who Was In The Ultimate Christmas Present?
The Ultimate Christmas Present premiered in the holiday season of 2000, making it Disney Channel’s first Christmas DCOM. Hallee Hirsh played the main character, Allie Thompson, Brenda Song played her best friend, Sam, Spencer Breslin played the annoying but cute little brother, and Hallie Todd from Lizzie McGuire played the mom.
These are the four characters snowed in at home for much of the movie while Allie’s dad is stuck at an airport, but a few others are important. Former NBA player John Salley was an elf, and Peter Scolari from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show was a sneaky weatherman out to get to the bottom of Santa’s weather machine.
9 How Many Christmas DCOMs Are There?
In 2020, there are only three Disney Channel Original Movies about Christmas, although a fourth is finally in the works. After The Ultimate Christmas Present, Santa got a lot naughtier in ‘Twas the Night (2001), starring Bryan Cranston pre-Breaking Bad. Disney waited ten years to do another Christmas movie, Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas! (2011).
The next Yuletide DCOM, to premiere in 2021, will close another decade-long gap on Christmas movies for the channel. Christmas Again is currently in production, and it centers on the struggles of a blended Latin American family.
8 Did Every Show Get A Holiday Episode?
Well, maybe not every show. But a lot of them did! In the days of Zoog Disney, the Christmas special was slowly introduced into Disney Channel original series. So Weird, Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire, The Proud Family, Kim Possible and That’s So Raven all had special holiday episodes.
As the 2000s marched on, Phil of the Future, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Hannah Montana got Christmas episodes, too. The tradition has been preserved into the 2010s with shows like Good Luck Charlie and Girl Meets World. A standout exception is Wizards of Waverly Place, which never got to bring its wizard Santa to life. It’s nice that Raven came full circle, doing a Christmas episode for Raven’s Home in 2019.
7 Why Were There More Halloween Programs Than Christmas?
This is an excellent question that is still being further investigated. However, there are a few reasonable guesses. Disney Channel’s episodes are pretty much equal when it comes to Halloween and Christmas, but there is a clear disparity between the Halloween and Christmas DCOMs.
Disney Channel made a big to-do out of Halloween every year and rarely let the season go by without a fresh new DCOM. The holidays, however, may have been trickier. As Disney has such a wide audience, perhaps they didn’t want to delve too deeply in religious observances of the season. They also may have thought scary movies were more timeless than Christmas movies.
6 Did Disney Channel Do Anything For Hanukkah?
Gordo on Lizzie McGuire is Jewish, so his faith occasionally comes up in the series, like in the bar mitzvah ceremony episode. Hanukkah oddly doesn’t figure into the show’s holiday episode, though. Even Stevens is the show that finally delivered a family observance of Hanukkah, coming from Eileen’s side. Louis finds out what his family would be like if he didn’t exist.
There is a good DCOM that includes Hanukkah called Full-Court Miracle (2003) starring Alex D. Linz. A yeshiva’s basketball team needs a boost, and they get some help from the first Black basketball player to graduate from the University of Virginia, Lamont Carr (portrayed by Richard T. Jones). The boys think that Lamont is an incarnation of Jewish hero Judah Maccabee. The real-life Carr passed away in 2017. He helped the Jewish team improve by leaps and bounds, and the team in the movie wins a tournament game by the abundance of a generator’s fuel, likening the victory to that of the Maccabees with the oil to light up the temple.
5 Are There Any Thanksgiving Episodes?
Don’t be fooled–the above photo is of Louis Stevens in the Hanukkah episode. The turkey gives it a nice Thanksgiving look, though. Thanksgiving episodes are a staple for some beloved sitcoms, but Disney Channel never embraced these autumnal delights too much.
In 1999, 2000, and 2001, The Famous Jett Jackson, The Jersey, and So Weird all got Thanksgiving episodes. The network wouldn’t air a proper Thanksgiving episode again until 2011 with Good Luck Charlie. There seems to be no outright aversion to the holiday, but it sure fell by the wayside over time.
4 How Religious Did The Christmas Shows Get?
“The true meaning of Christmas” always crops up here and there, but Disney Channel doesn’t usually put a religious spin on this sentiment. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has the most Christian perspective on the holiday since a modern-day Mary and Joseph literally come to the “inn” and birth their baby in an elevator.
Matt McGuire quotes the biblical Christmas story in Lizzie McGuire’s “Xtreme Xmas.” Full-Court Miracle isn’t shy about introducing Jewish tradition. It’s a balance, and Disney Channel has done pretty well with that through the years.
3 Wasn’t There A Disney Christmas Parade?
Yes! In addition to the annual tradition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, there is usually a Disney Christmas Day parade. All of Disney Channel’s big-name popstars have shown up in their eras of popularity.
It might not get quite as much traction as the November event, but the parade was a lot of fun since it blended the classic Disney characters with newer stars and music.
2 What Did Disney Channel Do About New Year’s?
In commercials, Disney Channel liked to make New Year’s Eve a great party for kids. This often meant that cast members of different shows would help with the countdown or invite audiences at home to relive their favorite episodes of the year.
On the shows and movies themselves, New Year’s was kind of fleeting. It sets the tone for the beginning of High School Musical, and it pops up in a 2012 Disney Channel crossover called “Austin & Jessie & Ally All Star New Year.” Most recently, New Year’s has been the subject of a 2015 Girl Meets World episode, and Andi Mack had a storyline about Chinese New Year in 2017.
1 Did Disney Channel Make Any Holiday CDs?
There are a few, and the most notable is Disney Channel Holiday from 2007. Individual stars and groups had already begun making Christmas albums through Disney, like Hilary Duff with Santa Claus Lane (2002) and The Cheetah Girls with Cheetah-licious Christmas (2005).
Disney Channel Holiday brought together multiple soloists and groups, like Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, and Aly & AJ. Honestly, who could forget “Greatest Time of Year?”
NEXT: Every Version Of Freaky Friday & The Parent Trap, Ranked By IMDb
Gilmore Girls: 5 Times Babette Was A Great Neighbor (& 5 She Was Overrated)
About The Author