Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is an hour-long Christmas television special based on the television series Sesame Street. It was originally broadcast on PBS on Sunday, December 3, 1978, and won the 1979 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.
The opening features the inhabitants of Sesame Street enjoying an ice skating party. Big Bird has trouble skating, but a little girl gives him a hand, and he ends up doing very well. Bert falls victim to the antics of Ernie, Cookie Monster, and The Count as they play ice hockey with one of his shoes as the puck, clown around while barrel jumping, play a practical joke on him, and make him very dizzy in a game of Snap the Whip, the latter somehow sends Oscar thrown into the air, tumbling down a flight of stairs, through a couple of walls, and onto the sidewalk where Big Bird and Patty catch up to him and get him back up on his feet. After everyone leaves the ice rink, the story leads into three principal plotlines.
Oscar asks Big Bird and Patty how exactly Santa Claus is able to fit in a narrow chimney, saying that there will be no Christmas presents if he can't go down them. Distraught, once they return home, Big Bird and Patty enlist the help of Kermit and Grover to ask children how he does it. Their responses vary. Big Bird even tries to experiment by having Mr. Snuffleupagus play Santa entering a pretend chimney, but he still does not find the answer. Patty tries to comfort him, but fails instead. He winds up trying to stay up all night on the brownstone's roof watching for Santa, but falls asleep while everyone becomes very worried and starts looking for him. During the search, Maria confronts Oscar for upsetting him. He says he was only teasing him and agrees to search for him. Back on the roof, at one point, sleigh bells and hoofbeats are heard, and a person's shadow falls over the dozing Big Bird. He is startled awake, but sees nothing unusual.
Meanwhile, in a retelling of The Gift of the Magi, Bert and Ernie want to give each other a Christmas present, but they both have no money. Bert trades away his prized paper clip collection to buy a soap dish for Ernie's Rubber Duckie, but Ernie has bartered that to buy Bert a cigar box for his paper clip collection. Mr. Hooper realizes what is happening and gives both their treasured possessions back while also reminding the audience that being Jewish, he doesn't celebrate Christmas but understands its spirit.
While all this is going on, Cookie Monster tries to write Santa and request cookies for Christmas. However, as he talks to himself about the many different kinds he wants, he gets hungrier and hungrier, absentmindedly devouring the instruments he is trying to use (a pencil, a typewriter, and a telephone). At the Robinsons' apartment, he laments that he was unable to contact Santa. Gordon reminds him that he might get what he wants if he leaves a plate of cookies for Santa, which of course confuses him.
At the end, when Big Bird comes down from the roof to warm up, Susan and Gordon make sure he stays. They comfort him by showing that there were indeed presents brought, but having him back is more important. Then Oscar appears and, stepping out of character, admits he's glad to have him back again...only to ask him how the Easter Bunny hides all his eggs in one night! The special concludes with the Robinsons returning to their apartment to find that Cookie Monster has eaten the needles and decorations off their Christmas tree. ("Scotch Pine delicious, but Douglas Fir give me heartburn!")
- "Feliz Navidad"
- "True Blue Miracle"
- "Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)"
- "I Hate Christmas"
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Home video releases
- When Big Bird and Patty check on Oscar following his ice skating accident, his original line was, "Sure. I've been thrown out of better places than that." It was later redubbed in post-production to "Let's go back and do it again!", as the original line was deemed too adult.
- In various re-airings on PBS in the late 1980s, the closing scene with Susan and Gordon returning to their apartment and finding that Cookie Monster ate the needles and decorations off their Christmas tree was cut.
- On video releases since the mid-1990s, the original 1978 Children's Television Workshop logo with Christmas music was cut. The 1996 VHS replaces it with the 1983 opening logo, while the DVD releases start with no logo at all.
|Actor / Muppeteer||Character|
|Caroll Spinney||Big Bird|
Oscar the Grouch
Kermit the Frog
|Jerry Nelson||The Count|
|Will Lee||Mr. Hooper|
|Loretta Long||Susan Robinson|
|Bob McGrath||Bob Johnson|
|Roscoe Orman||Gordon Robinson|
|Alaina Reed||Olivia Robinson|
|Jon Stone||Santa Claus|
|Richard Hunt||Assistant puppetry|
- Bailey, Joseph. Memoirs of a Muppets Writer, page 236
- Muppet Wiki: Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
- Christmas Eve on Sesame Street at the Internet Movie Database
- Platypus Comix's review