The story opens on a quiet, snow-covered Christmas Eve with a voice-over narration about Sesame Street and what a wonderful place it is at Christmas time. As the narrator talks, clips from past Sesame Street Christmas specials are shown (the opening from Elmo's World: Happy Holidays, and a scene from Elmo Saves Christmas). A Muppet named Joe Marley of "Scaredy Pants Delivery Service" comes down the street to deliver a "ghost-o-gram" to Oscar.
The ghost-o-gram consists of an old, empty can of baked beans and a card on which is written a rhyme that Oscar must read aloud to summon Rhubarb, the Grouch Ghost of Christmas Past. He shows him some old home movies of past Christmases. The first one is The Gift of the Magi starring Ernie and Bert (showing the pair's subplot from Christmas Eve on Sesame Street). The next one features Big Bird singing "All I Want for Christmas is You" from Elmo Saves Christmas.
Oscar soon finds himself visited by Christmas Carole, the perky Ghost of Christmas Present whose body and attire are shaped like a Christmas tree. She shows him the glory of Christmas in the present and that it is more than just decorations and Christmas trees. She shows four clips representing the present, including: Elmo and Santa Claus from Elmo's World: Happy Holidays; Elmo and Lightning singing "Everyday Can't Be Christmas" from Elmo Saves Christmas; Elmo talking with kids about how they celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa from Elmo's World: Happy Holidays; and "Keep Christmas With You" from Elmo Saves Christmas.
The final ghost to arrive is the Ghost of Christmas Future in the form of a futuristic robot named Sam. He shows an animated short about what Christmas will be like in the future — including houses that decorate themselves and Christmas dinners consumed in the form of "delicious, chewable space capsules" while floating in zero gravity.
The story ends on Christmas morning, when a Muppet who looks just like Joe Marley awakens Oscar to give him a sticky ball of used wrapping paper as a Christmas present. When he recognizes him as "Joe the Scaredy Pants guy," he responds "No, I'm little Joey Dickens, you know, from Brooklyn." In the end, Oscar finds several things to enjoy about Christmas Day, including sticky balls of used wrapping paper, waiting for the "rotten snow" to turn the "mushy and gray," and "best of all, tomorrow is the day after Christmas, and this will all be over."
Home media availability
This special was included as a special feature on the DVD release of Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas.
- Muppet Wiki: A Sesame Street Christmas Carol
- A Sesame Street Christmas Carol at the Internet Movie Database