The special features a bunch of cartoons, snippets from feature Disney films, and promos for new projects, and while only a small fraction of the content is holiday-related, half the country tunes in every year as a tradition.
Slate's Jeremy Stahl experienced the cultural phenomenon firsthand:
The show's cultural significance cannot be understated. You do not tape or DVR Kalle Anka for later viewing. You do not eat or prepare dinner while watching Kalle Anka. Age does not matter—every member of the family is expected to sit quietly together and watch a program that generations of Swedes have been watching for 50 years. Most families plan their entire Christmas around Kalle Anka, from the Smörgåsbord at lunch to the post-Kalle visit from Jultomten. "At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, you can't to do anything else, because Sweden is closed," Lena Kättström Höök, a curator at the Nordic Museum who manages the "Traditions" exhibit, told me. "So even if you don't want to watch it yourself, you can't call anyone else or do anything else, because no one will do it with you."
Any time someone tries to modify the tradition, by even so much as recording the presenter's lines so he can spend the day with his family, the public gets wind of it and revolts until normalcy is restored. Head over to Slate and read the full, fascinating article.
Link (via Bifurcated Rivets) Image: Serieforlaget AB