For Barks' editors, Christmas was an especially touchy comedy subject. Not only because it was a religious holiday, but also because it was supposed to be a time of selflessness and good cheer. In harmony with this sentiment, Barks' editors sent him a "preachy" story about Donald defeating a wicked witch who threatens to destroy all the Christmas trees in the world in an effort to extinguish the Christmas spirit.
In a September 1983 interview for "The Carl Barks Library", Barks said: "That's the way they would use witches, as somebody out to destroy Christmas. They couldn't use the devil. I might have worked some kind of magic to make a golden Christmas tree, but bringing in this business of saving Christmas for the rest of the world makes me squirm."
When Barks turned the script into a satire of Christmas commercialism the editors insisted he redo part of it. Barks said in the same interview: "That isn't my ending at all. I had to make it that way to satisfy Western. They objected to the implication that Donald got rid of the witch forever."
The story line required that the witch be destroyed because she was the embodiment of evil, but Western did not want to portray her death openly. Consequently in the published version she's turned into a can of gasoline and Donald kicks her over a cliff in a fit of temper. Thus the witch is eliminated without Donald intending to destroy her.
It should be noted that not the entire ending of the story was changed.
In a October 3, 1973 letter, Barks wrote:
"About the last two pages of 'The Golden Christmas Tree'... only the last
four panels are mine as they were in the original."
Michael Barrier wrote about the ending: "The dialogue in the second, third, fourth and fifth panels of the last page of this story was changed by Barks's editors. Barks does not recall the original dialogue."
In 1975, Kim Weston investigated the story for his article published in the magazine Funnyworld. He wrote: "In earlier sections, the story seems to be intact up to page 9, but the bottom half of page 10 (probably redrawn) appears to have been drawn separately from the top half and a number of top and bottom halves from that point on don't quite match, so there were probably a couple of cuts or redrawn halves between pages 10 and 18, in addition to the changes in the last two pages."
The art is lost.