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Western Animation / Barbie in A Christmas Carol

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Keep the beauty of Christmas in your heart every day of the year.

Barbie in a Christmas Carol is a member of the the Barbie series of Direct to Video films. It was released in 2008, preceded by Barbie & The Diamond Castle and followed by Barbie Presents Thumbelina.

This film is a retelling of A Christmas Carol, told by Barbie to her little sister, Kelly. Kelly doesn't want to attend a charity ball, as she doesn't understand the importance of caring for others.

Barbie proceeds to tell her the story of Eden Starling, an opera star in Victorian England who hates Christmas. Eden is selfish to the core, and is about to be taught a lesson in humility and kindness by three spirits, lest her selfishness bring about a bad future.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Eden's aunt. Though she never hurt Eden physically, she refused to let Eden do anything that might keep her from achieving stardom, including spending time with friends and celebrating holidays.
  • Arc Words: "In a selfish world, the selfish succeed."
  • Bad Future: Instead of dying alone, Eden ends up destitute and eventually making her best friend as cruel as she is.
  • Cats Are Mean: Eden's pet cat Chuzzlewit is about as stuffy and self important as she is and if anything eggs on her behavior. Even in the Bad Future, he outright tries to abandon her to stay with the now wealthy and successful Catherine until she kicks him out.
  • Christmas Special: To the Barbie film series.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Christmas spirits. Past is yellow/white, Present is green, Future is red.
  • Composite Character: Catherine is, all rolled into one, a stand-in for Fan (Scrooge's sister), Belle (being a dear person from Eden's past), Bob Cratchit (being her employee in the present), and Fred (as a Christmas enthusiast and Eden's Morality Pet).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Eden used to love Christmas, until her Aunt Marie's toxic advice took root.
  • Darker and Edgier: While still a Barbie movie at heart, given the story that it is based on, it stands out in the Barbie film series as one of its heavier and somewhat moodier films. As Kelly notes in-universe, Eden is much nastier and more deeply flawed compared to most Barbie protagonists (though she gets better). Eden also has a pretty depressing backstory; her parents are presumably deadnote  and she was raised by an emotionally abusive aunt. The bad future sees Eden living in poverty, her former friend becoming as awful as her due to a Cynicism Catalyst, and orphans ending up on the street to fend for themselves, which has grim implications.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In the Bad Future, Catherine crossed this after Eden fired her and she had to move away to find work, only to return months later and find that the orphanage she was helping closed down in her absence. By the time Eden sees her again, she's adopted Eden's selfish attitude and treats her employees as terribly as Eden once treated her.
    Catherine: Caring hurt, so I stopped.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Eden smiles kindly and waves to her audience while wishing them merry Christmas...then steps backstage, throws her bouquet away in disgust, and exclaims "I hate Christmas!"
  • Evil Brit: Eden (well more of a bully). The only character from Europe Barbie has played that has an accent, also.
  • Evil Costume Switch: In the present, Catherine wears a simple but beautiful pink outfit; in the Bad Future, she's switched to a Pimped-Out Dress in purple, demonstrating her new selfishness and vanity.
  • Exposed to the Elements:
    • Catherine seems to not mind cold weather. She always walks outside only in her gown while nearly everyone else doesn't.
    • In the Bad Future, Eden also has to go out without a coat, but it's because she can't afford one any more. Catherine offers her a scarf...which she promptly drops into a snowbank, rendering it useless for keeping warm.
  • Expy: Being based on A Christmas Carol, there are a few of these to the original characters.
    • Eden=Ebenezer Scrooge
    • Catherine=Bob Cratchit
    • Aunt Marie=Jacob Marley
    • Tammy=Tiny Tim
  • Face–Heel Turn/We Used to Be Friends: Catherine, in the bad future who doesn't celebrate Christmas anymore due to feeling bitter about having been fired by Eden when she came late on Christmas Day. Though the real kicker might have been when the orphanage she was helping closed down while she was awaynote , and it convinced her that helping people does nothing and it never works. Then she coldly refuses Eden's request for help.
  • Fangirl: The Spirit of Christmas Past, judging by the way she's delighted with having to visit her.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Ann and Nan, the twins.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: The twins wear feather headdresses on their outfits.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Aunt Marie was so determined to make Eden a star that she refused to let the girl celebrate any holidays. Eden had to sneak out every year to celebrate Christmas with Catherine and her family.
  • Framing Device: Barbie telling the story to her little sister (as in many—but not all—Barbie movies).
  • Gender Flip:
    • Eden is one of Ebenezer Scrooge.
    • So is everyone else in one way or another, such as Aunt Marie to Jacob Marley, the all-female spirits (the word "spirit" is used, instead of "ghost"), etc.
  • Genki Girl: The Spirit of Christmas Past is giggly and optimistic about everything. Being Eden's biggest fan has to do with it.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Eden's green dress and red dress have gold lame decorations. The Ghost of Christmas Past's dress has gold trimming, and her scepter is gold.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Eden's nightgown and Catherine's dress in the future.
  • The Grinch: Eden despises Christmas; she only sings Christmas songs because it draws in more business and privately states how much she hates the holiday. She demands that her staff keep working even through Christmas and even tells them to take down the decorations. It's revealed she used to enjoy spending Christmas with Catherine and her family, but her aunt Marie put a stop that because she thought it was a waste of time.
  • Happy Holidays Dress: Loads, from Barbie's white snowflake-patterened dress, to Eden's red and gold dress, and the green Chritmas tree-themed dress the Ghost of Christmas present wears. Eden and Catherine as kids wore nearly identical holiday dresses.
  • Heart Warming Orphan: Catherine secretly provides her talents to a orphanage full of sweet, young children who are organizing their own show.
  • The Hecate Sisters: A lighthearted example. The Spirit of Christmas Past is the Maiden (small in stature, cheery and energetic, youthful); the Spirit of Christmas Present is the Mother (heavily built, jovial and compassionate, middle-aged); and the Spirit of Christmas Future is the Crone (tall and thin, stern but caring, elderly).
  • Heel–Face Turn: When she appears to Eden in her bedroom, Aunt Marie clearly regrets the way she raised Eden and apologizes for teaching her to be selfish and spiteful. After Eden is redeemed, Aunt Marie briefly rematerializes to wave goodbye to her—and she's now without her chains, suggesting that helping her niece has freed her from eternal punishment.
  • High-Class Gloves: Eden's green dress and red dress have white gloves. Catherine's future outfit (when she becomes a spoiled diva herself) has purple gloves.
  • Hypocrite: When visiting with the Spirit of Christmas Present, Eden constantly accuses everyone of being ungrateful towards her and caring more about themselves. In her selfishness, she ignores the fact that she has never been grateful to them and outright threatened to fire them if they refuse to work on Christmas, even though several of them asked her for the day off so they could spend the holiday with their families.
  • Ironic Name: Eden means "paradise", and Eden in this movie is a selfish singer.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Eden's Aunt Marie wears chains that have mirrors on the end of them, instead of money boxes, fitting vanity instead of greed.
  • Lighter and Softer: When you compare to other Christmas Carol adaptations, that is. While it sticks to the same basic themes and messages as A Christmas Carol, the spirits are a lot less intimidating and the content is less grim; e.g. Eden doesn't cheat people out of money like Scrooge but she's still very selfish and arrogant, in the Bad Future Eden isn't dead and unmourned but she is living in poverty and forgotten, and because the orphanage closed due to lack of funding the orphans ended up on the street, though it's not explicitly mentioned that any of them died, unlike with Tiny Tim.
  • Magic Music: The Spirit of Christmas Present can conjure magical instruments out of thin air, and control them like an orchestra.
  • More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks: In the Bad Future where Eden fires all her original employees, her newest recruit is a hypnotist that supposedly can't hypnotize her into acting like a chicken. Turns out it instead prompted a late reaction and she ends up clucking right in the middle of a performance.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: In-Universe, Eden acts sweet and charming on stage, and then angrily throws some flowers once the curtain closes, saying she hates singing Christmas songs and being extremely demanding towards her staff.
  • Nice Girl: Catherine is nothing short of a saint, being endlessly patient with Eden and working at an orphanage all with a smile on her face. It's this changing that causes Eden to truly realize what a Toxic Friend Influence she must be.
  • No Antagonist: Rarely for a Barbie movie, none of the characters are truly villainous. The only two who are shown treating others badly are Eden and her aunt (and Catherine, but only in the Bad Future). The former has a change of heart and is redeemed by the movie's end, while the latter comes to regret her actions and appears to Eden in an effort to keep her from repeating her mistakes.
  • Only Friend: Catherine, for Eden, justified in that Eden, with her Stage Aunt, couldn't play with many other children, in the past. She is also apparently Catherine's only friend, in the present (here the justification is that she's too mean to get any more friends).
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The three spirits are not called fairies in the movie (just in the book adaptation), still, they have the apparel, including magic wands.
  • Palette Swap: The time and space vortexes are the same effect, just yellow for past, green for present, and red for future. The twins wear identical outfits save for the colors.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: Eden travels through past, present, and future in her nightgown.
  • Pet the Dog: A literal example; even prior to her Character Development, Eden never mistreated her cat Chuzzlewit.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: Eden wears a red, short, hooded, fur-trimmed cape at the end.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Several fancy dresses are worn; most are holiday dresses.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Catherine's dress is pink (with a white petticoat and bows).
  • Playing Against Type: An in-universe example: Barbie's almost always the noble, caring hero in these stories. Here, she's still the protagonist—but as that protagonist is based on Ebenezer Scrooge, she's as nasty and selfish as can be. Kelly lampshades this fact, but it doesn't stop Barbie from reaching her moral though.
  • Pretty in Mink: Eden has a red cape edged with white fur, that she wears when visiting the orphanage at the end, keeping the hood up so she can reveal herself to the kids.
  • The Prima Donna: Eden is a famous singer and very arrogant.
  • Real After All: At the beginning of the framing story, Barbie gives Kelly a snow globe of Victorian England with three small female figures inside. We later find out that this snow globe is identical to the one that Catherine gave Eden in the past; Eden promises to pass it on to her to her children, and have those children pass it on to their children, etc., as a reminder to always keep Christmas in their hearts. After returning to the present, Kelly asks if the snow globe is really the same keepsake as in the story, and Barbie comments that she honestly doesn't know...but after Kelly and Barbie leave her bedroom to head for the charity ball, the three female figures—who are the Spirits of Christmas—come to life and wave their scepters, suggesting that Barbie really is descended from Eden, and that the story actually happened.
  • Riches to Rags: The Ghost of Christmas Future reveals that Eden's selfishness eventually led to the downfall of the theater, putting her out of work for what seems like years and barely able to feed her cat let alone buy a coat.
  • Saving the Orphanage: Catherine's "other show" is a performance being put on by the children at a nearby orphanage, which is struggling so badly the owners can barely afford to keep them fed. In the bad future, Catherine reveals that the orphanage closed down only a few months later. When Eden returns to the present, she pays a visit to the orphanage and promises to fund it personally, saving it from closing and greatly improving the children's lives.
  • Shout-Out: Eden's cat is named Chuzzlewit after Martin Chuzzlewit, a book Dickens published concurrently with A Christmas Carol.
  • Significant Monogram: The main character's name is Eden Starling, having the same initials as Ebenezer Scrooge from the original Christmas Carol.
  • Silver Vixen: The Spirit of Christmas Future, portrayed by a pretty old lady looking quite different from the usual Grim Reaper.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Ann and Nan.
  • Sleep Mask: Even Eden's cat wears one to emphasize her vain nature.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Due to Mattel's forbiddance of death, Eden Starling doesn't die outright, but is shown to become poor and lonely. Tammy isn't shown to have died, but the orphanage she lived in is closed down, and the final fate of its residents is left ambiguous.
  • Stage Mom: Well, Stage Aunt. Eden's aunt Marie pushed her into becoming a professional singer, forcing her to practice everyday, including on Christmas, and prevented Eden from having fun as a child to focus solely on her career. When she came back as a spirit to Eden, she explicitly stated that the quote "In a selfish world, the selfish succeed" was just her excuse for not having become a star herself.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: The Bad Future reveals that Eden's cold and cruel behavior was a bad influence on Catherine, causing her once sweet friend to become as cruel and arrogant as her.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Catherine's sister Nell greatly laments how Eden turned out. The sequences in the past show that Eden was once a sweet, polite young girl who just wanted to have fun with her friend and happily performed Christmas songs for Catherine's family. Unfortunately, her aunt Marie pushing her to focus on her singing career and always put herself first had a terrible influence on Eden.
  • Vicariously Ambitious: Marie's ghost admits to Eden that the reason she pushed her niece so hard to become a star singer was because Marie herself was never able to achieve this.
  • Wham Line: In-universe, Eden realizes that Catherine has been completely corrupted when she says "In a selfish world, the selfish succeed."
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: A Christmas Carol as told by Barbie and friends. While this movie is faithful to the original story in most ways, it's still Lighter and Softer and nearly every character is Gender Flipped. The Bad Future doesn't show any characters' deaths, but instead Eden (the Scrooge stand-in) is left destitute and friendless, and her Morality Pet friend Catherine becomes just as cruel and selfish as Eden was.

Keep the beauty of Christmas in your heart every day of the year.