Cover to the storybook adaptation

Elmo Saves Christmas is a 1996 Christmas special, based upon of and starring the characters from the television series Sesame Street, narrated by guest star Maya Angelou. Its plot is based off of the short story Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells.


It is once again Christmas time on Sesame Street. Elmo takes the cookies home for Santa Claus. Big Bird’s best friend Snuffy is going to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with his grandmother before returning the day after. Meanwhile, Elmo plans to stay up all night on Christmas Eve to see Santa descend from his chimney. He falls asleep, until being awakened when Santa gets lodged halfway up his chimney. By freeing him, Elmo gets to choose either a pink bear or a magical snow globe as a gift. When he chooses a magic snow globe, he is granted three wishes, wasting his first one for a glass of water because he is thirsty.

On Christmas Day, the excitement and joy delights Elmo so much that he wishes it could be Christmas every day, so he uses this for his second wish. At first, everyone is thrilled about it being Christmas again, thanks to a news report given by Kermit the Frog. However, this proves to be a very costly mistake as Santa explains to Elmo that Christmas would no longer be special if it occurs every day. Lightning, a reindeer-in-training (and the reason he got stuck in Elmo's chimney), uses his speed to take Elmo to the future to see what Christmas is like for the rest of the year, especially in the spring (on Easter), and the summer (on Independence Day). Big Bird is sad that Snuffy is still spending it with his grandmother in Cincinnati, Maria and Luis are increasingly annoyed over the Fix-It-Shop being closed all year, and It's a Wonderful Life plays on every TV channel, meaning that general unhappiness is evident. Also, the elves are annoyed at their continued work shift and slack off on the job, and the other holidays (especially Easter and Independence Day) are eclipsed by Christmas. Oscar is the only one who enjoys it all the misery - the old wrapping paper and worn out Christmas trees, and the fact everyone is as grouchy and miserable as he is - declaring it as a "bah humbug Christmas every day".

By next year's Christmas, Sesame Street is ruined:

  • The Count is "all Christmassed out" after counting all 365 days of Christmas every day.
  • The carolers have lost their voices from singing every day.
  • Christmas trees have become an endangered species, according to Grover.
  • Big Bird cries over missing Snuffy for a whole year.
  • All the stores (especially the Fix-It Shop) are permanently shut down.
  • And Santa has decided to retire and move to Florida.

After regretting his second wish, Elmo suddenly realizes that "if every day was Christmas, there wouldn't be Christmas at all." He decides to use his third wish to undo it (although he was originally going to wish for rollerblades), but he shakes the snow globe too much, then drops and breaks it before the wish can come true, which means it will be Christmas forever. All hope is lost, so Elmo suggests that Lightning could fly him back to the Christmas Eve when it all started, before he wished it was Christmas every day, thus changing the past. After saving Santa again, he chooses the pink bear, but the best of all, Santa immediately offers him a new gift: a "Moo-Bunny", a soft toy cow with rabbit ears. Also proud of Lightning's part in helping Elmo, he offers to promote him so he may pull the sleigh with the other reindeer.

The next morning, Big Bird is reunited with Snuffy early, because just as he was about to leave for Cincinnati, his grandmother came to Sesame Street instead. As he joins the others in the arbor around the big Christmas tree to sing Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)" (previously featured in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street), Elmo learns that although Christmas can't occur every day, everyone can still keep its spirit in their souls every day of the year.


Home video releases

US releases

International releases


The cast singing "Keep Christmas With You All Through the Year" at the end of the special

Actor/actress / Muppeteer Character(s)
Kevin Clash Elmo
Brown Elf
Benny Rabbit
Joey Mazzarino Lightning
Lavender Elf
Caroll Spinney Big Bird
Oscar the Grouch
Martin P. Robinson Mr. Snuffleupagus
Telly Monster
Pumpkin Elf
Frank Oz Grover
Cookie Monster
David Rudman Baby Bear
Fat Blue Elf
Fran Brill Zoe
Green Elf
Carmen Osbahr Rosita
Steve Whitmire Kermit the Frog
Jerry Nelson Count Von Count
Mr. Johnson
News Flash Announcer
Bob McGrath Bob Johnson
Sonia Manzano Maria Rodriguez
Emilio Delgado Luis Rodriguez
Desiree Casado Gabi Rodriguez
Alison Bartlett O'Reilly Gina Jefferson
Roscoe Orman Gordon Robinson
David L. Smyrl Mr. Handford
Carlo Alban Carlo
Maya Angelou Herself (Narrator)
Charles Durning Santa Claus
Harvey Fierstein Easter Bunny
14 Karat Soul Themselves

Rules (Moral of Story/Consequences

  • The moral of Elmo Saves Christmas is that all good things do not necessary last every day and that too much is not a good thing. Making Christmas happen every day makes the holiday no longer special. It's okay to be sad because it's over, but not okay to outsmart on things you don't want to do when you have to do them. There is time for Christmas and for other things. When it's time for other things, there's more to life like school and work (as Santa just mentioned to Elmo about having Christmas every day isn't so great). The moral is that, Christmas only lasts for one day a year until the next year.
    • Also, when Elmo wished for Christmas every day, the result was that Sesame Street has later shut down after a year of nonstop Christmas. After he broke the snowglobe, he and Lightning go back in time to the starting Christmas Eve and Elmo chose another present that doesn't grant wishes, the Moo-Bunny. Therefore, every choice has a consequence, and wishes count.
  • As for consequences of having Christmas every day, repeating the same day over and over again won't make our lives interesting, it would just get boring over time.
  • Even though Elmo has learned that Christmas doesn't happen every day, everyone can keep the Christmas spirit with you through the year. This could mean even though all good things may come to an end, the memories (from at least the previous Christmas) that we've enjoyed will still last forever, and they might sometimes return later.


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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