Elmo Saves Christmas is a 1996 Christmas special based off of the television series Sesame Street, narrated by guest star Maya Angelou. The special's plot is based off of the short story Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells.
It is once again Christmas time on Sesame Street. Snuffy, Big Bird's best friend, departs for Cincinnati to visit his grandmother for the holiday, and promises to return the day after Christmas. Meanwhile, Elmo plans to stay up all night on Christmas Eve to see Santa Claus descend from the chimney. He falls asleep, but is 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, he wishes for 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 everyday. This proves to be a very costly mistake. At the urging of Santa, Lightning, one of his reindeer-in-training (and the reason Santa got stuck in the chimney), uses his speed to take Elmo to the future to see what Christmas is like in the spring, the summer, and the following December 25. He sees Big Bird become depressed over the fact that Snuffy is spending Christmas with his grandmother in Cincinnati for a whole year, Maria and Luis get crabby and upset over the Fix-It Shop being closed all year, everyone gets annoyed at It's a Wonderful Life being the only thing on TV, meaning that general unhappiness is evident. The elves, too, are annoyed at their continued work shift, and slack off on the job, and other holidays like Easter and Independence Day aren't as fun anymore either. The only Sesame Street resident who isn't getting tired of Christmas every day is Oscar the Grouch, who obviously enjoys seeing everyone else feeling as grouchy as he is.
After regretting his second wish, Elmo suddenly realizes "if everyday was Christmas, there wouldn't be Christmas at all", he decides to use his third wish to undo his second [though it was originally for rollerblades], but he shakes the snow globe so much that it flies from his hands and smashes on the ground before he can make the wish. Luis laments, "It's Christmas...forever!", and Big Bird says, "Goodbye, Snuffy." The crowd all moans into an even deeper depression and leaves.
All looks lost, until Elmo suggests that Lightning could fly him back in time to the Christmas Eve when it all started. Elmo and Lightning go back in time to before Elmo wished it was Christmas every day, erasing everyone's memories (except for Santa, Elmo, and Lightning). After saving Santa for the second time, Elmo chooses the pink bear, but Santa immediately offers him a new gift, a "Moo Bunny", a cow plush 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. 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 for Christmas instead. Elmo learns that although Christmas can't be every day, it's important to have its spirit in your soul every day. The show 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)"