"The Magic Sack of Mr. Nicholas" is the second Christmas episode of the Hanna-Barbera animated series The Smurfs, aired in the show's seventh season. It premiered on November 14, 1987, just 1 month before 'Tis the Season to Be Smurfy, making it the fourth Christmas special based on the Belgian comic series Les Schtroumpfs by Peyo.

Plot

It is once again Christmastime in the Smurf Village. Smurfette says that she enjoys that time of the year because every Smurf is filled with the holiday spirit, but Grouchy says that he hates decorating with the others. Smurfette refuses to let Grouchy do nothing in preparation for the holidays, so she drags him along in order to find something that he could do. She soon enters a house where she sees Painter and several other Smurfs joined together to make Christmas angels out of wood, but when she asks the group if they could have Grouchy participate in their decoration project, four of the Smurfs object to it, with Hefty saying that Grouchy is such a grump. Smurfette refuses to take no for an answer and says that there must be something that Grouchy can do, to which Painter suggests that Grouchy can paint faces on the angels. As Grouchy reluctantly sits down and is handed a paintbrush by Clumsy so he could help, Papa Smurf comes in and notices Grouchy among the group of Smurfs making decorations, seemingly pleased at first. However, Grouchy makes the other Smurfs upset when he paints a grouchy face on one of the angels, which ends up with Hefty giving Grouchy the boot out of the house. Smurfette realizes that getting Grouchy to be helpful with holiday preparations is going to be more difficult than she thought.

Meanwhile, somewhere outside the Smurf Forest, Mr. Nicholas the toymaker is worried that his staff of elves have all come down with "elfluenza" and that although toys are all made, they still need to be wrapped in time to be delivered to the kids on Christmas Eve. He then remembers that the Smurfs have helped him out before and so decides to call upon their help again.

Back in the village, Timber Smurf stands on the speaking mushroom and calls for volunteers to go with him out into the forest to cut down the holiday tree. Clumsy is eager to join the group of volunteers, but in his haste he slips on the snow and knocks down his fellow Smurfs. Timber sees that he is all set to go, but Smurfette tells Timber to hold on because she needs to find Grouchy and that she is sure he would like to join. Timber tells Smurfette that he can't wait for anybody, especially Grouchy, and so heads out into the forest with his group of volunteers. Smurfette feels disappointed that Grouchy won't have a chance to participate in holiday preparations, but then Hefty shows up and tells Smurfette that she should give up on Grouchy because he's a lost cause. Smurfette soon finds Grouchy hiding inside a barrel when Hefty dumps a bucket full of wood shavings into it, which cause him pain.

Then the Smurfs spot something flying towards their village. Papa Smurf recognizes it as one of Mr. Nicholas' flying reindeer, and on one of its antlers the Smurfs spot a note attached, which as Papa Smurf reads is Mr. Nicholas urgently requesting the Smurfs for their help. Papa Smurf calls for the Smurfs to join him on the reindeer so they can go to Mr. Nicholas' workshop and respond to his summons. Smurfette sees this as a perfect opportunity to help get Grouchy in the spirit of the holiday season and drags him along as well.

Meanwhile, Chlorhydris the witch is using her telescope and watching in disgust as people get ready to celebrate the holidays. She says the one thing she hates more than Christmas Eve is Christmas Day, when everyone gets to open their presents from Mr. Nicholas, and that if she could only find out where Mr. Nicholas lives, she could put a stop to him delivering his gifts. She looks into the telescope again and sees a flying reindeer passing by, realizing as she rushes to get her coat that it's her chance to ruin Christmas. As the reindeer continues to fly through the sky, almost making Grouchy fall off when it makes a sudden turn that Papa Smurf warns his little Smurfs about, the evil witch follows it wherever it goes while riding on a one-horse sleigh.

In Gargamel's hovel, the evil wizard sees his pupil Scruple hanging up his stocking by the hearth in his laboratory, wondering what the child is doing. Scruple says that he's getting ready for Mr. Nicholas to come and bring him lots and lots of gifts that he asked for. Gargamel scoffs at Scruple, saying that he's written to Mr. Nicholas for years and he hasn't left the wizard anything, not even "an itsy-bitsy Smurf". Gargamel then goes behind a divider and changes out of his wizard's robe into a costume that he has made for the occasion, saying that the only way to get anything in this world is to take it, which is what he's going to with the Smurfs. He steps out from behind the divider to show Scruple the costume he's wearing, which makes him look like a giant snowman, and Scruple just thinks it looks ridiculous.

At Mr. Nicholas' workshop, while Papa Smurf and Greedy help take care of the bedsick elves by serving them Greedy's herbal broth, the other Smurfs are joyously singing the Smurf song while wrapping up all the presents for the toymaker, who is observing all the activity and is pleased with the results. However, Brainy complains that one Smurf isn't doing his part, and it turns out to be Grouchy, whom Smurfette sees is just standing around with his arms folded doing nothing, while Handy says it's better for him to just stand out of their way. Then after Mr. Nicholas gets word from Painter that the toy wrapping is finished, the toymaker then produces a sack and tells the Smurfs that it's time to fill it. Brainy is uncertain how they will put all the toys that were made and wrapped into such a small sack, and Mr. Nicholas tells him that it's a magic sack, and to prove that it's magic, he has the Smurfs push the presents into it. As the presents get pushed one by one into the sack, it never seems to be full, to which Mr. Nicholas says that it's a bottomless sack, that the more presents get put into it, the more room there is to put more into it. Outside the workshop, Chlorhydris sees that she has found where Mr. Nicholas lives and now closes in to put her plan into motion.

Back in the Smurf Forest, Gargamel in his snowman costume looks for Smurfs that he can capture out in the wild when he hears the sound of a tree falling. Timber has cut down the perfect holiday tree and has it loaded up on the sled, though he is tearful in that he will miss seeing the tree in the forest. But then the Smurfs spot a snowman holding a sack nearby, and as they gather near to it to wonder why, the snowman comes to life and speaks, making them realize that it's really Gargamel. They try to run for it, but Gargamel scoops them all up into the sack and unmasks himself as he heads back to his hovel with his catch of the day.

With the sack now filled up with presents, Mr. Nicholas also shows that the magic sack is also as light as a feather, which makes the Smurfs gaze in wonder. Greedy soon calls the Smurfs and Mr. Nicholas together for a mug of hot soup, which makes Smurfette wonder where Grouchy is until she sees him sitting on a windowsill with his arms folded. Smurfette tries to invite Grouchy to join them, but he just sits there and shakes his head. She asks him where his holiday spirit is, only for Brainy to tell her that Grouchy has none and that he is absolutely hopeless, with Hefty taking her away from the window where Grouchy is sitting at, telling her not to waste her time with Grouchy. All Grouchy could say is that he hates being absolutely hopeless, but then suddenly the window opens and Grouchy falls into the sack left by the window, which Chlorhydris reaches in through and takes, putting it in her sleigh. She cackles at the thought of wondering how happy Mr. Nicholas will be without his toys as she rides off with the stolen sack. As Smurfette heads back toward the window with a mug of soup that she hopes to share with Grouchy to warm up his spirits, she screams as she notices that both the toy sack and Grouchy are now gone.

Meanwhile, out in the forest, Gargamel is thinking about how he's going to have the Smurfs he captured as his Christmas meal when he soon comes across Chlorhydris driving through the snow, not looking where she was going until he cries out and gets her attention. As the abrupt stop flings Chlorhydris out of her sleigh and causes her to tackle Gargamel as they both dive into the snow, they both drop the sacks that they were carrying right next to each other. Gargamel and Chlorhydris both realize who they ran into in that encounter and dig themselves out of the snow to pick up their sacks, grumbling at each other as they ended up going their separate ways again.

As the Smurfs and Mr. Nicholas prepare to follow the tracks of whoever the thief was that took the toymaker's magic sack, with Smurfette hoping to find Grouchy as well, Gargamel soon arrives home with what he thinks are his sack of captured Smurfs while Scruple goes through his toy chest and tries to think of what he would like to get rid of. However, as Gargamel dumps out the contents of the sack, he realizes to his surprise -- and Scruple's delight -- that there are presents inside it instead of Smurfs. Scruple dumps out even more toys from the sack, although in the process Grouchy gets dumped out as well, who soon goes into hiding. The young apprentice wonders if Gargamel got him all those presents while he was out and about, and then finds out that all the toys came from Mr. Nicholas. Gargamel then realizes that in his encounter with Chlorhydris he and the evil witch had switched sacks, and so has Scruple pack up all the toys so that he could exchange them for the sack that Chlorhydris took by accident. Scruple is against the idea of giving the magic sack and its toys back to the evil witch, so as he packs up all the toys and puts them back into the sack, he hides them in a closet and produces another sack which he fills with Gargamel's laboratory equipment as well as some of his old toys.

After Gargamel switches clothes and takes what he thinks is the magic sack with him to Chlorhydris' observatory, though now seemingly heavier, Scruple gets the real magic sack out of the closet and takes off with it to find a hiding place for all the toys it has in it. Grouchy comes out of hiding and starts to run for safety when he overhears Scruple talking about what a great Christmas it is turning out to be. It is at this point that Grouchy wonders what to do, when he hears Smurfette asking if he's going to do anything and to think of the children, and then Brainy saying that Grouchy is absolutely hopeless, that he decides to follow after Scruple in the hopes of getting the toys back.

As the Smurfs and Mr. Nicholas fly overhead on the toymaker's sleigh with his team of flying reindeer to find where the tracks of the sleigh will lead them to, with Smurfette believing that Grouchy will be able to help them find the toys, Chlorhydris is in her observatory, getting ready to start a fire in her fireplace to burn up the magic sack. Unknown to her, the Smurfs inside the sack she has observe what the evil witch is doing, and just as she starts to set the logs on fire, they jump and make Chlorhydris chase after the sack, hoping that they would find their escape from her until they reach the door and are knocked back by Gargamel just entering in. He exchanges sacks with the witch, and then tells the Smurfs that their Christmas Eve reprieve is over. Chlorhydris takes a brief look inside the sack she now has and then places it right into the fire, where she hopes all the toys inside it will burn up, but as she shows Gargamel to the door, the room is now filled with explosions that were erupting from the fireplace. Chlorhydris thinks Gargamel was trying to fool her by giving her another sack, but then Gargamel realizes that Scruple must have given him the wrong sack.

Meanwhile, Scruple now has the magic sack in a safe hiding place and soon goes off with Azrael to contemplate about his ill-gotten gains when Grouchy sneaks into the cave and tries to carry away the sack when he realizes that it is too heavy, until he sees a sled inside the sack and then has an idea. Scruple soon runs into Chlorhydris and Gargamel as they ride together in order to find him and the magic sack, but then the three of them also see a Smurf riding a sled with the magic sack on board and so chase after him. The Smurfs and Mr. Nicholas, who are now at the end of their search for the tracks of the thief's sleigh, soon hear the evil trio's approach as they are chasing after the magic sack on the sled and quickly get on board the sleigh to intercept Grouchy as he is now headed for a cliff. Fortunately Mr. Nicholas' sleigh manages to fly by and catch Grouchy as he, the sled, and the magic sack fly off the cliff, with Smurfette now pleased that Grouchy has saved Christmas. As the evil trio see that they're headed for a cliff, Chlorhydris pulls on the reins to her horse to stop, only for her to be catapulted into a mound of snow, and Gargamel and Scruple to be hanging on a branch for dear life to keep themselves from plummeting. Gargamel sees that the evil witch still has the sack of Smurfs in her possession, but to his disappointment she dumps out all the Smurfs, who quickly run for their lives, and then rides off to leave the wizard and his pupil in a precarious situation.

With the Smurfs now in safety, Papa Smurf tells them that because of Mr. Nicholas' late start, they should help him deliver the toys on Christmas Eve, which they all seem eager to help with as they jump on board the sleigh. Mr. Nicholas seems so grateful that he doesn't know how he could thank them all. Smurfette says that Grouchy is the one they should be thanking, with Hefty and Brainy making their amends for thinking that their fellow Smurf doesn't have the Christmas spirit, although Brainy claims he never doubted. As the toymaker gets his sleigh going to fly off into the night, Smurfette says that she couldn't help but to smile when she thinks about how happy the children will be on Christmas Day, to which Grouchy says that he hates "but to smile"...but that he couldn't help it either.

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