In a nod to Mickey's Christmas Carol, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future come to see Scrooge... but not for the reasons you might expect.
- The '90s: Given Preteen Donald's grungy outfit - complete with a t-shirt that strongly resembles the Nirvana smiley face - it's possible this is when the Dewey's encounter takes place.
- Actor Allusion: Being annoyed with Christmas Past's time travel jokes, Scrooge frowns and says "Ugh, time travellers". David Tennant's most famous role was a time traveller.
- Adaptational Jerkass: The Ghost of Christmas Past takes on an antagonistic role, being a non-romantic Crazy Jealous Guy who tries to trap Scrooge in the past so that the old duck won't ever leave him for his family.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: The Ghost of Christmas Future, while still having a menacing look resembling The Grim Reaper, is much friendlier than any previous incarnation.
- Adaptational Species Change: Christmas Present is an anthropomorphic pig rather than a fat, human-like giant he was in Mickey's Christmas Carol.
- An Aesop:
- Holidays are best spent with your family and friends.
- Scrooge realizes another aesop, which as he puts it:Scrooge: The minor frustrations of your life pale in comparison to the excitement they bring: hearth, home, family. That's what Christmas is all about!
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: The young Bentina Beakley doesn't care much for the cheerful Christmas Present's flirting, but she finds Christmas Future's dark cloak and grim appearance pretty appealing. Present Beakley still seems to feel the same way, as she give Christmas Future a flirty look.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Launchpad's ugly Christmas sweater has a menorah on it.
- Ambiguous Situation: When everyone returns to the current time period, Donald greets Dewey with a hug and says "Welcome back," implying that his memories from being a young Genre Savvy adventurer include encountering a time traveling Dewey, but Dewey is swept away by the rest of the family before he can ask if that's what Donald meant.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: Inverted with Christmas Past, who looks more insect-like than his Mickey's Christmas Carol counterpart Jiminy Cricket, having wings and long antennae.
- Art Shift: The end credits show the episode's events in a different, "classic Disney" visual style, with soft, round designs instead of the show's usual angular ones.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: The scene with Della on the moon shows her outside without a space suit.
- Beary Friendly: The series' version of Santa Claus is a polar bear, if the giant animatronic version of him is anything to go by. Although Scrooge has other opinions of him.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Downplayed Trope. Scrooge finally gets his break from his family and responsibilities thanks to Past, but immediately becomes bored by it and decides to go home.
- Berserk Button:
- The Ghost of Christmas Past learns the hard way that while Scrooge may want a break from his family at times, that does not mean you should try to keep him from them forever. Scrooge abandons the ghost in the past and leaves him to rot for what he did. Here's the lesson: Don't try to keep Scrooge McDuck from his family. It will never end well for you.
- In a Continuity Nod, mentioning Santa Claus will evoke genuine rage out of Scrooge. Still no explanation why.
- Young Donald wails on the Wendigo after he breaks his guitar.
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: Even the Beagle Boys of the past follow this pattern: Bankjob is the big one, Bugle is the thin one and Babyface is the short one.
- Blame Game: When Scrooge furiously asks who put up the giant Santa animatronic, everyone points at Louie while Louie points at Huey.
- Blues Rock: When Dewey snatches Emo Donald's electric guitar and makes it out of tune, Donald starts strumming it into sounding like a blues guitar riff, music that Donald actually realizes sounds good.
- Bowdlerize: The Wendigo is described as a person who went mad and transformed into a monster due to their obsession and desperation instead of through committing cannibalism as in the traditional myths.
- Bread Milk Eggs Squick: Scrooge needs a break from his family, his business, and keeping the world-eating serpent Jörmungandr at bay.
- When first meeting Donald, Dewey calls himself "Bluey" in an attempt to mask his identity.
- As Beakley dances the crowd chants "22" i.e. her secret agent code name.
- Teen Donald plays the guitar. We know from an earlier episode that in college he'd join a band named "The Three Caballeros".
- The Cameo: In the past Christmas party, Goldie O'Gilt is seen descending the stairs, although Scrooge is blocked by the many guests wanting his attention.
- Casting Gag:
- Young Donald is voiced by Russi Taylor in the same voice she uses for the triplets in most other Disney works with them, including the original DuckTales (1987).
- This isn't the first time Bill Fagerbakke has played a big pink, cheerful guy in green clothes. He also plays Patrick on SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Continuity Nod:
- Past-Scrooge wears the same bowler hat as he did in "The Confidential Casefiles of Agent 22!"
- The Ghost of Christmas Past subtly points to Scrooge skipping the ghosts to spend time with his family, which happened last season when he went with them to Mount Neverrest.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: The Ghost of Christmas Past is a non-romantic example. He grew tired of all the people he taught a lesson no longer needing him, and traps Scrooge in the distant past so that they will be together forever.
- Creative Closing Credits: Done in the same style as the opening credits of Mickey's Christmas Carol.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Ghost of Christmas Future looks like The Grim Reaper (and gets mistaken for the actual Grim Reaper by Dewey), but he's quite nice and friendly.
- Derivative Differentiation: The Christmas Past ghost looks like Jiminy Cricket but isn't him unlike Mickey's Christmas Carol. The reason as Frank Angones pointed out was that the more darker take on the character would have been out of character for Jiminy and inappropriate for a character considered a Disney mascot of unblemished sincerity.
- Did Not Think This Through: Donald decides to set up rows of Christmas lights on the mansion lawn. Scrooge reminds Donald that Launchpad can't tell the difference between Christmas decorations and a landing strip. Cue Donald scrambling to remove them and an off screen clash.
- Didn't See That Coming: Scrooge believed that the Ghost of Christmas Past was teaching him a lesson about what Christmas is all about (since that's the Christmas spirits' job). He was surprised that the spirit was actually planning on trapping him in a time loop so that he would never leave him for his family again.
- Easily Forgiven: Granted, the Ghost of Christmas Past did deserve it, but for a time traveling spirit who got his time-traveling umbrella stolen, was left in the woods for decades by Scrooge, and became a wendigo due to his obsession and desperation, he is very quick to forgive Scrooge after the latter cracks his shell.
- Emo Teen: Dewey meets his uncle Donald when he was his age, going through a grunge phase. He wears dark, angsty clothing and plays tortured songs on an electric guitar. His guitar skills are decent enough but his voice alas is no good. Dewey's first words upon seeing Donald are to describe him as "some weird emo kid."
- Expy: The three spirits that visit Scrooge strongly resemble those from Mickey's Christmas Carol, but instead of actually being Jiminy Cricket as Christmas Past, Willie the Giant as Christmas Present, and Pete as Christmas Future, they just bear a strong resemblance to them. Christmas Present in particular is a pig-man instead of a giant. However, their costumes are the same.
- Expy Coexistence: Scrooge McDuck is named after Ebenezer Scrooge of A Christmas Carol, though not especially based on him. It's heavily imply the original Scrooge also exists in this show's universe, and the Christmas Spirits met Scrooge McDuck after mistaken his address for that of Ebenezer Scrooge. Past even implies that Ebenezer is too busy with Tiny Tim to hang with him anymore.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Dewey realizes Della is mad at Donald for not spending Christmas with his family, and in the middle of explaining this realizes he's doing the same thing as Donald.
- Foreshadowing: When Scrooge tires of his past self's party and asks to be taken home to his family, the Ghost of Christmas Past lets out a Big "NO!" before composing himself and offering an alternative.
- Four-Legged Insect: The Ghost of Christmas Past is an anthropomorphic cricket. While he's much more insect-like than Jiminy Cricket, with a segmented abdomen, wings, and long antennae, he still has only four limbs.
- Genre Savvy: Donald and Della know perfectly well the dangers having knowledge from the future can do to the timeline, and stop Dewey from spilling anything.Preteen Donald: Haven't you ever seen any movie?
- Go Mad from the Isolation: What causes the Ghost of Christmas Past to turn into a Wendigo, after being left alone in the past by Scrooge.
- Good Is Not Soft: While it's questionable if Scrooge intended for the Ghost of Christmas Past to suffer so much, and readily reconciles when given the opportunity, he makes no apology for leaving him alone in the past either given what the spirit tried to do to him.
- The Grinch: Scrooge seems to live up to his namesake, calling Christmas nothing but commercialism and misplaced sentiment, flying into an absurd rage at a ornament of Santa Claus. He doesn't actually believe this, it's just a Jerkass Façade so he'll be left to party with his friends—except the part about Santa. Scrooge does, however, come to realize it's still missing the point of the holiday to dodge your family.
- Grunge: Young Donald has this affect, with his Kurt Cobain style plaid shirt-jacket and Brand X Nirvana Smiley Face T-shirt.
- Guile Hero: Rather than keep fighting a battle with Past that he isn't certain he can win, Scrooge opts to trick the spirit into sending them back to a few minutes ago when he knows he'll have a chance to grab the spirit's time traveling tool.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Within the episode. In Scrooge's arc, the antagonist is the Ghost of Christmas Past, who wants to trap Scrooge in the past, but gets outsmarted by Scrooge mid-way in the episode. In Dewey and Donald's arc, the antagonist is a Wendigo that attacks them. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the two antagonists are one and the same: the ghost got turned into a Wendigo while desperately searching for Scrooge.
- Hope Spot: When Della and Donald figure out that Dewey is from the future, Dewey is relieved to drop the act. He's about to warn them about the Spear of Selene and save his mother, but the twins shut him up and say he'll mess up the time stream. Dewey is forced to accept that logic.
- I Can Explain: The last words Louie writes into his letter to Santa before Scrooge interrupts him.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: More specifically, "Friends who Won't Leave." This is Past's motive for holding Scrooge hostage in the Christmases of the past, so they can hang out forever rather than Scrooge learn the True Meaning of Christmas and never spend time with the ghosts again.
- Jerkass Façade: Scrooge pretends to hate Christmas so he can hang out with the Christmas Ghosts at past Christmas parties. His hatred for Santa Claus, on the other hand, is completely genuine.
- Jerkass Realization:
- Scrooge and Dewey realize that abandoning their families at Christmas time is not acceptable.
- Scrooge has a minor one when he realizes just how desperate the ghost of Christmas Past became after Scrooge stranded him in the past.
- Kid from the Future: Dewey goes back in time to meet his mother Della, and also runs into his uncle Donald. Dewey claims to be a distant cousin named "Bluey", which Donald seemingly buys, but Della immediately concludes that he's a relative from the future. Although considering Donald didn't react at all when Della asserts that Dewey's from the future and just brushes off Dewey's protests with "Please. We're the Duck family.", it's possible Donald already suspected/figured it out and just didn't bother to call Dewey on it.
- Malicious Misnaming: Donald, when angry at Della, calls her "Dumbella".
- Monster Modesty: The Wendigo wears a Loincloth. What's odd about this is that his original form, the Ghost of Christmas Past, was a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal with no pants.
- Mythology Gag:
- Several to Mickey's Christmas Carol:
- The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future show great resemblance to their counterparts in Mickey's Christmas Carol: Past is an anthropomorphic cricket carrying an umbrella; Present is a large, fat person with a Simpleton Voice (although a pig rather than a human-like giant, to follow the show's "no humans" rule); and Future is a gigantic, menacing, hooded figure.
- When traveling through time, Scrooge is hanging off of Past's foot, (with the rest of the spirits then hanging off his foot).
- Scrooge angrily exclaims "Bah, humbug!", which was Ebenezer Scrooge's Catch-Phrase. Lampshaded by Webby.Webby: [delighted] He said it!
- The title cards for the credits are done in the same style as the original short film's opening credits.
- Beakley has set up a movie to play later titled Christmas on Bear Mountain, the name of the comic book story where Scrooge McDuck debuted.
- One of the guests at Scrooge's party in the past is Captain Farley Foghorn (an even bigger Captain Crash than Launchpad) from the original series.
- One of the Beagle Boys who raid the party is the original Burger Beagle's design (called Babyface here), as well as Bankjob and Bugle. They all wear six-digit prison numbers on their shirt, like they did in the original comics and the 1987 cartoon.
- Another guest at the party is one Rhutt Betlah, who seeks funding from Scrooge for an expedition to the Andes to find more "square rocks", a reference to the Carl Barks story Lost in the Andes and the famous square eggs.
- Young Donald says the triplets catchphrase from the 80's cartoon, "Quack-a-roony!"
- Young Donald calls Della "Dumbella" as an insult, at one point. Dumbella was the name she was referred to in her animated debut (unseen, only communicating through a letter), in 1938 short Donald's Nephews, as the creators of that feature were unaware that she had already been named Della in the 1937 comic strip that first introduced Huey, Dewey and Louie.
- Young Donald complains, "This is the most confusing family," a shot at the rather elaborate family tree created by Carl Barks.
- Scrooge bouncing off of the Wendigo with his cane is a pretty clear reference to the NES game.
- Dewey hugging a child version of his mother echoes a similar moment from Don Rosa's "The Dream of a Lifetime" (otherwise known as the proto-Inception comic) where it's Donald who hugs his mother Hortense as a little girl.
- Several to Mickey's Christmas Carol:
- My Future Self and Me: When Scrooge travels into the past, he briefly says hello to his younger version before entering, who returns the greeting.
- National Animal Stereotypes: Santa Claus is portrayed as a polar bear, as they are both known to live at the North Pole.
- Noodle Incident:
- According to Beakley, McDuck Manor has been infested with "sugar plum fairies" during Christmas (hence the mousetraps).
- Combining with Offscreen Moment of Awesome, Scrooge is apparently responsible for secretly keeping the world-eating serpent Jörmungandr at bay.
- We are also still given no clue as to what Scrooge's beef with Santa is all about.
- If a relative visiting from the future is only the fourth weirdest thing that's happened to Donald and Della on Christmas, what were the top three?
- Whatever Louie feels he must (and claims he can) explain on his letter to Santa.
- Not So Different: Dewey tells Donald that Della was mad at him because he had locked himself up in his room, being antisocial. As he explains, he realizes that he had been doing the exact same thing earlier (later?), and will have to do some apologizing when he gets back.
- Once More, with Clarity!: The second half of the episode reveals that Dewey hitched a ride with Scrooge and the spirits as they traveled through time. During the flight, he slips and almost drags them down, which explains why Scrooge is seen dipping earlier.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. The spirits met Scrooge McDuck when looking for a different Scrooge, but the one they found was far more fun.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: And the difference is noticeable between Duckworth and the three ghosts. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are supernatural beings, yet have corporeal forms, whereas Duckworth is completely incorporeal and intangible, like the dead McDuck spirits.
- Pals with Jesus: Scrooge is friends with the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future, and spends the holiday with them at the best Christmas parties in history.
- Pokémon Speak: Subverted. It seems like the Wendigo can only say "Wendigo", but it's actually saying "When'd He Go?" because it's The Ghost of Christmas Past looking for Scrooge.
- Power Glows: When the Ghost of Christmas Past gets into fighting mode his whole body lights up.
- Predecessor Villain: Grandpa Beagle and his sons Bankjob, Bugle and Babyface are this to Ma Beagle and her sons Bigtime, Burger and Bouncer.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Donald walks in on the Blame Game, he takes notice of what's going on and, without as much as a comment, backtracks out of the shot.
- Seen It All:
- Della and Donald correctly deduce that Dewey is a relative from the future, mentioning that he was only the fourth weirdest thing that's happened to them on Christmas.
- Similarly, past-Scrooge reacts to his future self crashing his party with nothing more than a polite tip of the hat.
- Self Empowerment Anthem: Donald is trying to write a song that attacks the world for constantly making fun of his voice:I say go but you say stay
You can't tell me what to do
Don't understand a word I say
So phooey, phooey, phooey on you."
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Once Dewey gets the idea, he immediately tries to warn his mother about her fate and save her from it. Unfortunately, if he warns his mother, then he creates a paradox, so he's forced to let her go.
- Posters on Donald's bedroom wall include duckified versions of Weezer's The Blue Album and Nirvana's Nevermind cover art (with an egg taking the place of the baby).
- The Wendigo's apparent tendency to say it's own name likely refers to the Marvel Comics version.
- Launchpad's version of The Twelve Days of Christmas includes Seven Samurai.
- Simpleton Voice: Bill Fagerbakke uses the same slow, deep voice for the Ghost of Christmas Present as he does for Patrick Star.
- The Slow Path:
- Well, slower path, at any rate. When Scrooge takes the Ghost of Christmas Past's time-traveling umbrella, the Ghost is left to linger for the next few decades and become the Wendigo, only to be found, picked up, and returned to the present when Scrooge finds Dewey.
- When Scrooge and Dewey return, Donald greets Dewey with "Welcome back". Dewey is confused as he catches the implication Donald remembers his childhood encounter with "Bluey" and knows exactly what his nephew has been up to.
- Special Edition Title: Reflecting its Christmas theming, the Title Sequence and theme music are altered to be more holiday themed, with snowfall being projected over some of the shots, the show's title being draped in Christmas lights, and an alternate swing band style version of the theme song along with a Frank Sinatra soundalike on vocals:Life is like a candy-cane
Here in Duckburg
Snowflakes, presents, Santa's sleigh
It's a duck-blur
Might make bells jingle
Or trap Kris Kringle!
Christmas Eve, we're out there makin'
Tales of Christmas Past
And Yuletide luck tales! Woo-oo!
- Sticky Fingers: During Goldie's brief appearance at the first McDuck Enterprises Christmas party, she can be seen shoving a candle holder into her purse.
- This Is My Side: In the past, Donald and Della share a bedroom with their interests clearly shown (Donald's rock music paraphernalia and Della's world map and artifacts) but kept away from the other.
- Thrill Seeker: It takes seconds for Scrooge to grow bored of the peace and quiet when he finally gets it, realizing that the frustrations of life that he was trying to get away from actually brings in the excitement.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Scrooge and the Christmas spirits use Past's time traveling umbrella to visit history's greatest Christmas parties.
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The caption for the Once More, with Clarity! scene says "11 minutes ago... in the future".
- Tranquil Fury: When Scrooge comes across the giant figure of Santa Claus, he quietly and furiously asks "Who put this up?"
- Wendigo: Dewey, Donald and Della encounter one who is after Scrooge. They describe it as "poor souls turned into monsters by obsession and desperation", and it is portrayed resembling a muscular goat-man with Glowing Eyes of Doom, sharp teeth, clawed hands and three-toed theropod-like feet. It turns out to be the Ghost of Christmas Past, driven mad after Scrooge left him behind in the past. He gets better once Scrooge breaks through the creature's shell and reconciles with the spirit.
- Wham Line:
- The line revealing who and what the Wendigo actually is:Wendigo: When'd he go?! Scrooooooge!
- Says present-day Donald: "Welcome back."
- The episode ends on Della, in the present, constructing something in her ship's wreckage on the moon.Della: Merry Christmas, you guys. See you soon.
- The line revealing who and what the Wendigo actually is:
- What the Hell, Hero?: Della makes both Donald and Dewey realize that the two boys have been selfishly avoiding their relatives during the Christmas season.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: With a twist. Turns out Scrooge doesn't actually hate Christmas, but he makes it seem like he does so he can have some time to himself to relax and enjoy himself. Additionally, the three ghosts are actually friends of his that he hangs out with every year. But, there is still a lesson about Christmas that he ends up realizing, and how he only thought of himself and he learns it on his own. Another twist is that one of the spirits has a selfish motive, but he learns from it too.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Even with time travel, Dewey can't save Della without invoking a paradox.