Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

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 on Sesame Street. Elmo takes some cookies home for Santa Claus. Big Bird's best friend, Snuffy, is going to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with his grandmother and will return 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 teddy bear or a magical snow globe as a gift. When he chooses the 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 would 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 having Christmas every day would no longer make it special. 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 throughout the year, including in the spring (on Easter), and the summer (on Independence Day). Big Bird is sad because Snuffy is still spending it with his grandmother in Cincinnati, Maria and Luis get increasingly crabby and annoyed over the Fix-It-Shop being closed all year, and there is nothing on TV but It's a Wonderful Life, meaning that general unhappiness is evident. Also, Santa's elves are exasperated and fatigued at their continued work shift and slack off on the job, and the other holidays (including Easter and Independence Day) are eclipsed by Christmas. However, Oscar the Grouch is the only one who enjoys all the misery - the old wrapping paper, the worn out Christmas trees, the pile of broken toasters in front of the Fix-It-Shop, and the fact that everyone is as grouchy and miserable as him - declaring it as a "bah humbug Christmas every day".

By next year's Christmas:

  • 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 businesses (especially the Fix-It Shop) are permanently closed.
  • 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, drops it, and it breaks before the wish can come true, which means it will be Christmas forever. All looks lost, until Elmo remembers Lightning's speed and that he can go forward and backward in time, so he and Lightning fly back in time to the Christmas Eve when it all started, before he made the wish, thus changing the past. After saving Santa again, he chooses the pink bear, but best of all, Santa reveals that he has a new gift, a soft toy cow with rabbit ears called a "Moo-Bunny", which Elmo delightedly chooses. 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 standing near the Fix-it-Shop, alone and sad, until he's brightened up when he's reunited with Snuffy early. Snuffy tells him that just as he was about to leave for Cincinnati, his grandmother came to Sesame Street instead. As Elmo joins the others in the arbor around the big Christmas tree to sing Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)" (which was previously featured in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street), he has learned that although Christmas doesn't occur every day, everyone can still keep its spirit in their hearts 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

Moral of Story

The moral of the special is that too much is not a good thing. Making Christmas occur every day makes it no longer special. It's okay to be sad because it's over, but not okay to argue or try to keep something the same even if you don’t really like change. But you can calm down and think about why something doesn’t go your way. 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). 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. All things that we want to do (or in this case on Sesame Street, Christmas) can be postponed until next year.

When Elmo wished for Christmas to occur every day, the result was that all the businesses have later permanently closed, the Count has had enough of of counting many things to do with Christmas in the course of 365 days, Christmas trees are almost extinct, Big Bird misses Snuffy after a year of nonstop Christmas, and Santa Claus retires to Florida. After he broke the snow globe when trying to undo his wish, he and Lightning go back in time to the Christmas Eve when it all started and he chooses another present that doesn't grant wishes, the Moo-Bunny. Therefore, every choice has a consequence, and wishes count.

Moreover, when Elmo wished for Christmas every day, Big Bird misses Snuffy and he couldn't write letters nor call him, since the post office isn't open on Christmas. Even the toasters are piling up from the Fix-It Shop. By extension, keeping Christmas around forever will make the holiday more monotonous, and won't balance everyday life to society, nor to other holidays like Easter and Independence Day.


Since there is no such thing as a "daily holiday", there are indeed appropriate/common/natural consequences when we make poor/bad choices (such as wanting too much on things we like). We (or in this case Elmo and Lightning when they saw the bad future) have to pay the consequence and be responsible for our actions. The consequences of having Christmas occur every day, repeating the same day over and over again won't make our lives interesting. It would just get boring over time. This (when Elmo -even though Santa told him that Christmas doesn't occur every day- sees the future of his wish) constitutes an example of "trying to find a loophole". Just because a loophole is made, it doesn't mean it keeps the fact that we get our way (like Elmo wanting to have Christmas every day). We -kids and adults- (or in this case, Elmo) follow and do the orders that are given to us by adults (in this case, Santa Claus).

As for Elmo (in paying the consequences), after he realizes "if everyday was Christmas, there wouldn't be Christmas at all", he can fix his mistake by undoing his wish in two ways: either the magical snow globe or go back in time. When Elmo tries to correct his wish with the former method, his snowglobe falls on the ground and breaks. Since all looks lost, Lightning flies Elmo back in time to the Christmas Eve when everything started (before he chose the snowglobe), so that Elmo doesn't choose the globe again.

After Elmo realizes that Christmas should only be one day a year, the annual Christmas is postponed until the following years. Elmo can make either a good choice or a bad choice (make Christmas once a year again or let the holiday last forever and face the consequences). When given those two choices as his only options -the good choice or the bad choice- he has no choice (other than the bad one). Also, as a result, his "plan" on making Christmas every day was eventually short-lived after 365 days of Christmas. And so, there is nothing Elmo can do about it, except for the bad choice (which is the only choice if he chooses to have Christmas forever). In fact, with the two choices (the good or bad choice) given, other than the bad one, the only way in order to avoid facing the consequences is the good. Regardless, Elmo (who knows that it's his decision) chooses the good one (which is being serious, making up for his mistake, and making Christmas how it used to be). After the successful attempt of undoing his wish, Elmo chooses the Moo-Bunny, Snuffy comes back, and then Elmo joins his fellow Sesame Street members in the arbor around the big Christmas tree to sing "Keep Christmas with You (All Through the Year)." That is, in the spite of the fact that he makes the difficult decision.

If Elmo's Christmas every day lasted forever, (meaning he didn't undo his wish with the snowglobe nor go back in time), none of this would be fair to anyone, not even the Sesame Street cast. One example of an appropriate consequence would be the entire Sesame Street will be shut down and everyone feeling hopeless and bored of nonstop Christmas. If Elmo would've used his third wish for rollerblades, there would be no way to make the wish for Christmas to become once a year again aside from the sleigh. By extension, as for the person who would decide about an appropriate consequence, it would be Santa Claus (since he acts as the adult/boss/parent/guardian in this special). In this case, Santa Claus is the main adult.

One example of an appropriate consequence would be a new choice. But the consequence for the bad choice is always the same thing (Christmas won't be special anymore). The new choices would be to doom the whole Sesame Street. Then if Elmo didn't learn from his mistake, none of the Sesame Street would be happy. The new consequence would have Christmas become extinct. This applies to other holidays. As such, Santa (on next year's Christmas) would retire to Florida. That won't be fair to anyone (even Elmo have lost Christmas) nor to real people in society. Because everyone knows Christmas is a spirit of giving, peace and joy (as the Sesame Street cast have gathered together in the arbor around the big Christmas tree to sing "Keep Christmas with you (All though the year)"). None of this would be fair to anyone because young children love Christmas and don’t want it to be ruined. Even on further Christmas specials, the moral of the story and consequences still apply if Elmo doesn't learn from his mistakable wish. The new consequence would Christmas be canceled forever. The holiday being "canceled forever" applies and affects other holidays like Easter and Independence Day too. As such, that would not be fair to anyone (even Elmo who has almost lost Christmas forever) nor to real people. Because everyone knows Christmas is a spirit of giving, peace and joy.

At any rate, actions are taken (and assigned) by adults -Santa in this case- after appropriate warnings -to children like Elmo- are given. That is, if children continue to engage or fail to follow any adult’s directive. Actions/appropriate consequences can and will be assigned.

How to Make Up A Thing You Miss

After Elmo has learned that Christmas doesn't occur every day, he knows that everyone can still keep its spirit in their hearts 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.

It is okay to feel sad if you lose and miss an old thing when it has to go and/or come to an end (in this case, Christmas). But it may make you feel better by getting a new thing if you lose and miss an old one (in this case, next year's Christmas). Moreover, an old/previous thing's memory -in the spite of the fact that you lose and miss it- always comes back elsewhere in a new form (at least in the following year(s)). This is how we can make up for the loss of an old thing if we miss and lose it. However, the new/following Christmas also comes to an end (like all Christmases), but new/following years of the said holiday are always followed, as well as the spirit of that holiday. This is how we can make up for the loss of an old thing if we miss and lose it.


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" • "It's a Wonderful Elf-bot" / "A Merry Litter Christmas"
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