By Angie Howard

One of my favorite holiday cartoons is a short Disney flick staring Mickey's loyal sidekick, Pluto, and those famously ornery Disney Chipmunks, Chip and Dale.
As a child growing up in the "dark ages" (life lived prior to interactive viewing guides and television DVRs) I distinctly remember looking in the newspaper at the TV Guide and becoming absolutely giddy when I saw that "Pluto's Christmas Tree" was scheduled to air on one of the local television channels.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the cartoon for which I am referring to; in a nutshell (no pun intended) Mickey and Pluto go to chop down the perfect Christmas tree for their holiday home décor. Little did the pair know, the tree they chose was the residence of two delightfully mischievous Chipmunks. The entire storyline revolves around the high jinks of Chip and Dale exploring their newly-decorated home (the Christmas tree) and Pluto's discovery of the little rascals running around and causing chaos amongst the tree decorations.
At the end of the cartoon, the ever-diplomatic Mickey Mouse finally discovers that their Christmas tree is a home to the Chipmunks, and to Pluto's initial chagrin, lovingly includes the furry pair in their household holiday festivities. A sweet version of Jingle Bells plays softly in the background while the quartet lived happily ever after to conclude this cherished holiday film.
The cartoon light-heartedly brings to mind a very important consideration for us to be attentive of even during the busy and hectic holiday season; we share this big beautiful earth with a bounty of creatures, great and small. Our actions many times have direct impact upon them and their habitat. Just like Walt Disney's Chipmunks who had their home chopped down, relocated, and decorated to become a seasonal centerpiece for Mickey and Pluto, wildlife in our environment can be affected, both negatively and positively, by choices we make as well.
⢠Keep Poinsettia plants away from curious family pets. The plants can be toxic if ingested by animals.
⢠If you purchase a live tree for your Christmas décor, after the holidays donate it to one of Arkansas State Parks. Drop sites are traditionally setup across the state by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for your tinsel and ornament-free live trees to be sunk in lakes acting as fish habitat.
⢠Consider making a donation in honor of a family member or friend to reputable environmental or wildlife protection organization for a non-traditional Christmas gift.
⢠Decorate a tree in your yard with bird-friendly ornaments like pine cones smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed (this is a great activity to do with your children!).
I love the Disney holiday cartoon of Pluto and the Chipmunks so much that I bought a copy of it on DVD and to this day still get excited when I push "play" and see it come to life on the TV screen. It is every bit as funny to me now as it was 20 years ago, but I must admit, with age and wisdom, I now do take a bit of an issue with the title. Seems to me the cartoon entitled "Pluto's Christmas Tree" should more aptly be dubbed "Chip and Dale's Christmas Tree" since it really belonged to them first!