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How Donald Duck Helps Swedes Celebrate Christmas

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now a sound of Christmas from Sweden.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU")

SIEGEL: Donald Duck - that's right, apparently a long-running tradition.

CHARLOTTE HAGSTROM: Every year on Christmas Eve in Sweden, we watch Donald Duck on TV for one hour.

SIEGEL: That's Charlotte Hagstrom. She's a professor of ethnology at Lund University. She has studied the origin of this annual Disney ritual.

HAGSTROM: It started in 1960, and it's been every year since then. So it's been over 50 years now.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

More than half a century of the Walt Disney Christmas special "From All of Us to All of You," otherwise known as...

HAGSTROM: (Speaking Swedish) Kalle Anka och hans vanner onskar God Jul.

CORNISH: Or just Kalle Anka. That works, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU")

HAGSTROM: It's not really that the films are so good. It's more like it's a ritual to sit down with your family every year at the same time watching the same films. So it's like gathering around the cozy fire. Instead of that, we're sitting together, gathering around Donald Duck.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORK SONG")

UNIDENTIFIED MEN: (Singing) We're the merry, merry men of the midnight sun. We work for Santa and have a lot of fun. With a hi-hi-ho and a hi-hi-hey.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We better hurry up. Tomorrow's Christmas Day.

SIEGEL: The animated Disney TV special "From All Of Us To All Of You," a Christmas Eve tradition that has been bringing Swedish families together for five decades.

CORNISH: And from all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORK SONG") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.