The Swedish Holiday Obsession with Donald Duck

Kalle Anka

According to this article in Slate by Jeremy Stahl, up to half of Sweden’s population will be watching Donald Duck (or Kalle Anka) cartoons today, a Christmas eve tradition that dates back fifty years.


  • Marc Baker

    While here in America, half the population will be watching Hanna Montana, and The Jonas Brothers. Where did we go wrong?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Sad really when you think of it Marc (or the umpteenth marathon of A Christmas Story).

  • http://waggtoonsandotherstuff.blogspot.com/ Joey Waggoner

    Makes me wish I lived in Sweden.

  • http://sekvenskonst.blogspot.com Joakim Gunnarsson

    Living in Sweden I can confirm that it’s all true.
    The whole family, young and old watched it today. As we do every year. :)
    The “new stuff” this year was trailers for Toy Story 2 (Not 3!) and The Princess and the Frog.

  • Dock Miles

    Sweden also produces a terrific Donald parody called “Arnie the Duck” by Charlie Christensen — with loads of inebriation (Arnie spends a lot of time in bars), violence and sex (Arnie cannot get laid). I’d love to read more of it, but as far as I know a collection has never been published in America — probably because Christensen is rightly afraid Disney would sue the shit out of him.

  • Marc Baker

    Kinda like how Disney sued Marvel over Howard The Duck, but without the luxury of being bought out by the plaintiff years later.

  • http://www.torharaldblom.com Tor Harald Blom

    That is also true for Norway. It is a tradition here to.
    NRK (Norwegian version of BBC) sends it at the same time every year with that new stuff just the same as in Sweden and in the original sound version.

    TV2 (The biggest commercial canal) was also sending in a Norwegian dubbed version with different surprises.

    Scandinavia is big when it come to classic Disney and Donald comics/cartoons the weekly Donald Duck & Co magazine comes out in about 100-150000 copies, and I guess that is about the same in Sweden. I think Finland has a higher number of readers of the magazine. And this may be why the cartoons are so big here.

    Link to more info: http://www.wolfstad.com/dcw/norway/donald-duck-co/

  • Magnusson

    Jag älska Kalle Anka!

  • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

    More proof that Europe is more advanced than the US …

  • Donald Benson

    It would be interesting to know the full lineup of the Scandinavian version, and whether it matches up completely with any of the American editions.

    Somehow I have trouble imagining “Clown of the Jungle” or “Ferdinand the Bull” as part of a Christmas package, and my own unreliable memory is of feature clips and no shorts.

    Also, it sounds like the live host segments are a much bigger deal than they were in the original, which opened with a filmed intro by Uncle Walt and went to animation for the rest of the show (and I’m guessing there was no live action host after Disney’s death).

    Since this isn’t on video anywhere, I’m breaking out the One Hour in Wonderland special on the Alice DVD. While I enjoy a refreshing, delicious Coca Cola, just like Walt’s guests.

  • Ketil Bleidin

    An other animated film both norwegians and sweeds watch during Christmas is the sweedish “Sagan om Karl-Bertil Jonssons Julafton” from 1975:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atB_qGr8ldA

  • gaastra

    Sounds like “a walt disney christmas” that aired on the disney channel before to turned to the teens only channel. I would also like to know what cartoons are on the special. I bet pluto’s christmas tree is there right?

  • Trond M.

    As others have mentioned, the Swedes are not the only ones that watch Disney on christmas eve. We do it in Norway and Denmark as well. And the lineups are slightly different in the three countries.

    Here are the lineups from this year:

    Norway:
    =======

    Jiminy Cricket and Mickey Mouse: From All of Us to All of You
    Santa’s Workshop
    Clown of the Jungle
    Christmas Card: Cinderella – We Can Do It
    Mickey’s Trailer
    Christmas Card: Lady & the Tramp – Bella Notte
    Christmas Card: The Jungle Book – Bear Necessities
    Snow White – Silly Song
    Ferdinand the Bull
    Bambi – On Ice
    Surprise: Toy Story 2
    Surprise: The Princess and the Frog
    Pluto’s Christmas Tree
    Jiminy Cricket: When You Wish Upon a Star

    Sweden:
    =======

    Jiminy Cricket and Mickey Mouse: From All of Us to All of You
    Santa’s Workshop
    Clown of the Jungle
    Christmas Card: Cinderella – We Can Do It
    Mickey’s Trailer
    Christmas Card: Lady & the Tramp – Bella Notte
    Christmas Card: The Jungle Book – Bear Necessities
    Snow White – Silly Song
    Ferdinand the Bull
    Christmas Card: Robin Hood – Robbing the Prince
    Pluto’s Christmas Tree
    Surprise: Toy Story 2
    Surprise: The Princess and the Frog
    Jiminy Cricket: When You Wish Upon a Star

    Denmark:
    ========

    Jiminy Cricket: When You Wish Upon a Star
    Jiminy Cricket and Mickey Mouse: From All of Us to All of You
    Pluto’s Christmas Tree
    Donald’s Snow Fight
    Jiminy Cricket Introduces Memorable Moments
    Christmas Card: Peter Pan – You Can Fly
    Christmas Card: Bambi – On Ice
    Christmas Card: Pinocchio – No Strings
    Christmas Card: Aristocats
    Christmas Card: Cinderella – We Can Do It
    Christmas Card/Party Invitation: Snow White – Silly Song
    Christmas Card: Lady & the Tramp – Bella Notte
    Jiminy Cricket and Mickey Mouse: From All of Us to All of You
    Surprise: Toy Story 2
    Surprise: The Princess and the Frog
    Jiminy Cricket: When You Wish Upon a Star

    The “surprise” cartoons are different every year, and it’s usually clips from an upcoming theatrical release and a recent or upcoming home video release. I’m not quite sure why they picked Toy Story 2 this year, though.

  • eero

    Donald duck is really popular everywhere in scandinavia. The Donald Duck (Aku Ankka) comics magazine in Finland is like a cultural institution, most people younger than thirty have learned to read from those comics and still do today, and a lot of effort is put into translating the comics so that the characters speak proper finnish ( the language is very rich and full of expressions and wordplay ).

  • http://mantichore.wordpress.com Mantichore

    Same thing to a lesser extent in most of Europe. On Xmas eve, one of the major French TV channels broadcast a Disney marathon, with a 3D Xmas epic about one elf losing faith during Santa’s night out (I saw that while channel hopping, no idea about the title and such, looked like decent fun, though), and various clips of various films, old and new (Princess and the Frog being the hot preview, of course).

  • http://www.torharaldblom.com Tor Harald Blom

    I guess that was “Prep & LANDING”
    See Walt Disney Animation Studios site: http://www.disneyanimation.com/projects/prep/index.html

  • http://mantichore.wordpress.com Mantichore

    Thanks, that’s the one!

  • http://[email protected] Steamboat Willie

    This years numbers came in today.. Lowest ratings so far.. Just about 3.9 million Swedes watched Donald Duck this year. That is far from half of the 9.5 million Swedes that have television… :-)

  • http://taoaia.blogspot.com/ Joel

    Most people will either eat “julbord” after the show, or open the presents. We always open our presents…