Classic Holiday Favorites appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Unfortunately, I believe that only “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” appears in its original aspect ratio. “Christmas Carol” is 1.78:1 on Living Color but not here. In addition, I found no concrete information about the original dimensions of “Small One”, but it sure looked like a pan and scan job; some scenes showed obvious cropping and changes.
The quality of the shorts varied. “Small One” looked worst. It displayed acceptable definition, though it occasionally became a bit soft. Blacks were light and the cartoon appeared a little bright. Colors sometimes were bright and lively, but they also looked washed-out for some segments. Though not overwhelming, a mix of specks and marks showed up throughout the piece. This was a watchable transfer but an erratic one.
“Tree” looked great except for source flaws. Small specks and dust were obvious through much of the short. Otherwise, it was terrific, especially in regard to colors. The hues really popped off the screen and looked dynamic.
“Carol” was fine. It showed the fewest source flaws, as only a couple of marks appeared. Colors were subdued but solid, and definition also seemed good. A little softness occurred, but nothing too serious marred the presentation. Ultimately, I balanced out these various elements and thought the package deserved a “B-“ for picture.
When it came to the audio, both “Small One” and “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” offered monaural tracks. Both were perfectly adequate. Speech sounded acceptably concise and natural, with no edginess or other flaws. Effects could be slightly screechy but usually seemed clear and accurate. Music favored the high-end but also showed reasonable depth. Neither excelled in the auditory category, but both were fine.
The more modern “Carol” gave us a Dolby Surround 2.0 mix. It offered a pretty restricted soundfield. It broadened out for some mild stereo imaging of the music, and occasional effects also cropped up from the sides. The surrounds lightly reinforced the material as well. Nonetheless, this was a limited track that didn’t present much spread.
The quality of the short seemed fine. “Carol” sounded a bit wan, admittedly, especially via some lackluster speech; the lines were intelligible but somewhat thin. The rest of “Carol” also presented moderate accuracy but could be a bit flat. At least it sounded better than the other two, and I thought the set deserved another “B-“.
When we look at supplements, we get virtually nothing. A mix of ads appear under the Sneak Peeks banner. This area includes trailers for Lady and the Tramp, Kronk’s New Groove, Tarzan, Chicken Little, Old Yeller, Toy Story, Disney’s Timeless Tales, and Kermit the Frog’s 50th Anniversary.
Usually my recommendations for these Disney compilations follow the same pattern: I say that casual fans should grab them but serious aficionados should skip them and get the “Treasures” collections instead. The content of Classic Holiday Favorites complicates matters. It’s still a good buy for the casual fans, but die-hards will probably want to get it as well. They’ll already have two of the three shorts, but they’ll desire the exclusive “The Small One”. Since I don’t know when – or if – it’ll appear on a “Treasures” release, you may want to grab it here.