Ceoss cast.jpg

The cover to the storybook adaptation

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!")


Home video releases

US releases

International 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.[1]


  • 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
Jim Henson Ernie
Kermit the Frog
Frank Oz Bert
Cookie Monster
Jerry Nelson The Count
Mr. Snuffleupagus
Linda Bove Linda
Northern Calloway David
Will Lee Mr. Hooper
Loretta Long Susan Robinson
Sonia Manzano Maria
Bob McGrath Bob Johnson
Roscoe Orman Gordon Robinson
Alaina Reed Olivia Robinson
Debbie Chen Patty
Jon Stone Santa Claus
Richard Hunt Assistant puppetry



  1. Bailey, Joseph. Memoirs of a Muppets Writer, page 236

External links

Jim Henson Productions and Related Shows
Sesame Street and related shows Christmas Eve on Sesame StreetA Special Sesame Street ChristmasElmo Saves ChristmasElmo's World: Happy Holidays!A Sesame Street Christmas CarolElmo's Christmas CountdownChristmas with Ernie & Bert • "Monster Monster Day" • Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas • "A Furchester Christmas" • "Holiday at Hooper’s"
The Muppets John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas TogetherA Muppet Family ChristmasThe Muppet Christmas CarolIt's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas MovieA Muppets Christmas: Letters to SantaLady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular • "Single All the Way" • "A Very Muppet Babies Christmas" • "Summer's Super Fabulous Holiday Surprise"
Other shows and specials The Great Santa Claus SwitchEmmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas • "The Bells of Fraggle Rock" • The Christmas Toy • "Refrigerator Day" • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree • "Mrs. Zabarelli's Holiday Baton" • "A Berry Bear Christmas" • "Cretaceous Conifers" • "Don's Winter Wish" • "A Song For Everyone" • "The Holiday Tree"
Merry Christmas from Sesame StreetJohn Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas TogetherA Sesame Street ChristmasElmo Saves Christmas: Holiday FavoritesA Green and Red ChristmasBob! from Sesame Street: Christmas Sing Along
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