Elmo Saves Christmas is a 1996 Christmas special based off of 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. Big Bird says goodbye to his best friend, Snuffy, as he goes off to Cincinnati to visit his grandmother for the holiday, until the day after Christmas. Meanwhile, Elmo plans to stay up all night on Christmas Eve to see Santa Claus descend from his chimney. He falls asleep, until being awakened when Santa gets lodged halfway up his chimney. By freeing him, Elmo is granted the privilege of choosing a gift. When he chooses a magical snow globe instead of a pink teddy bear, he is granted three wishes. Using the snow globe, his first wish is a glass of water because he is thirsty.
On Christmas morning, the excitement and joy delights Elmo so much that he wishes it could be Christmas every day, so he uses this as his second wish. This proves to be a very costly mistake. At the urging of Santa, Lightning, one of his 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). He sees Big Bird being sad because Snuffy is still spending Christmas with his grandmother in Cincinnati, Maria and Luis getting increasingly cranky and upset over the Fix-It Shop being closed all year, and everyone getting annoyed at It's a Wonderful Life being the only thing on TV, meaning that general unhappiness is evident. Also, the elves are annoyed at their continued work shift and slack off on the job, and other holidays (especially Easter and Independence Day) are less interesting than before. The only Sesame Street resident who enjoys everything is Oscar, because he obviously enjoys seeing everyone else feeling as grouchy and miserable as him.
By next year's Christmas, Sesame Street is ruined: the Count has had enough of counting all 365 days of Christmas every day, the carollers have lost their voices from singing every day for a whole year, Christmas trees have become an endangered species, Big Bird is sad over missing Snuffy for a whole year, all the stores (including the Fix-It Shop) have gone out of business, 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 roller blades), but he shakes the snow globe too much, causing it to fly from his hands and smash on the ground before the wish can come true, causing everyone to all moan into an even deeper depression and leave. Elmo’s hope become unlucky, so he suggests that Lightning could fly him back to the Christmas Eve when it all started, before he wished it was Christmas every day, clearing away everyone else’s memories. 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 plush cow toy with rabbit ears. Also proud of Lighting's part in helping Elmo, Santa offers to promote him so he may pull the sleigh with the other reindeer. On Christmas 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. Elmo learns that although Christmas can't be every day, it's important to have its spirit in your soul every day of the year. The special closes with its final song, "Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)" (previously featured in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street).
- "It's Christmas Again"
- "Everyday Can't Be Christmas"
- "Give Your Friend An Easter Egg For Christmas"
- "All I Want for Christmas Is You"
- "Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)"