The special was nominated for the 1993 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour). However, it lost to the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Robin's Reckoning - Part 1".
The special opens up at the North Pole, where Santa Claus and his elves are busy working on all the toys that he has to deliver this year for Christmas (while singing their own version of "Jingle Bells"). But in the midst of all this, Dr. Claw has managed to sneak into the factory with MAD Cat, and he has also somehow managed to install mind control devices on all the elves. When he activates them, the elves stop moving, and Santa is suddenly grabbed by a big claw that has been installed over his head and dropped through a manhole in the middle of the factory. Once that's done, Dr. Claw takes a seat where Santa was and orders the elves to mess up the toys so that Santa's reputation will be ruined.
Meanwhile, in Metro City, Inspector Gadget is busy going around with his Christmas doings, completely oblivious to the MAD agents sent by Dr. Claw attempting to kill him. In fact, he doesn't even have a clue that there is something funny going on until he visits the mall Santa, which it turns out is really his boss, Police Chief Quimby, in one of his hiding spots. Like in every episode of the original series, he gives Gadget a message about what's going on. And then, true to the original cartoon, Gadget leaves the note to self-destruct in the Chief's face, much to Quimby's annoyance.
Assuming that Dr. Claw has not yet made his move, Gadget heads off to the North Pole, accompanied by his niece Penny and his dog Brain. Upon entering the factory, he firmly believes there is nothing wrong there. He does not even get suspicious when he goes to talk to "Santa", not realizing that he is actually staring Dr. Claw right in the face. Penny and Brain, on the other hand, are not so easily fooled, but when they try to tell Gadget about it, he is sideswiped by the claw that grabbed Santa earlier and thrown onto the conveyor belt with all the mismatched toys that the brainwashed elves are manufacturing. Gadget takes time to examine these toys (in song, to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"), during which Brain tries to keep him out of harm's way like always.
Dr. Claw is not happy to find that this little trap has not gotten rid of "the inside dope", so he instead has Gadget dropped down the manhole he dropped Santa through at the beginning. There, Gadget comes upon the real Santa, but due to his usual absent-minded behavior of mistaking the good guys for the bad guys, arrests him because he thinks this one is the fraud. Brain, who was watching this, reports this to Penny, whom the elves trap inside a giant jack-in-the-box. Brain proceeds to get the keys away from Dr. Claw, who has placed them on MAD Cat's fake antlers. (During this, Claw broods over the Dirty Trick Sled that Santa never brought him in his youth.) After getting the keys, Brain goes to open the cell where Gadget has been interrogating "the fake Santa", using lines of The Night Before Christmas for reference. Gadget, thinking that Brain is an accomplice to "the fake Santa", lassos both of them and heads off to tell "the real Santa" on them.
As Gadget helps "Santa" load the mismatched toys onto the sleigh, Brain springs himself and the real Santa loose, and then follows Penny (having escaped from the jack-in-the-box earlier) to the control room that Dr. Claw mysteriously left vacant. Penny immediately deactivates the mind control, which prompts all the elves to start singing a reprise of their Jingle Bells rewrite. Dr. Claw gets into his jet and prepares to take off with the sleigh full of broken toys. But he doesn't expect the real Santa to show up with half of his reindeer and foil him by unhooking the sleigh from the MAD Jet. Then for good measure, Gadget, who still does not realize that he has been hanging out with his nemesis the whole time, ties the hook to a candy cane prop. The reindeer then break up the ice behind the mad doc, sending him drifting into the distance. After the Chief makes his obligatory appearance to congratulate Gadget and company for saving Christmas and stopping Dr. Claw once more, Santa gives them a ride in his sleigh.
Home video releases
The special made its home video debut with a VHS tape released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1993. It was released on VHS again by Lions Gate Entertainment on October 16, 2001. The special was then released on VHS again and on DVD for the first time by Sterling Entertainment Group in 2004. Both the VHS tape and the DVD also included two episodes of the original Inspector Gadget series, "The Weather in Tibet" and "So It is Written", with the DVD additionally containing the episode "Birds of a Feather" as a bonus feature. The special was later made available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video alongside Sonic Christmas Blast. New Video Group released the special on DVD again on October 8, 2013; this time, however, it did not contain any bonus episodes.
|Don Adams||Inspector Gadget|
|Maurice LaMarche|| Chief Quimby|
Inspector Gadget (singing)
|Frank Welker|| Brain|
- Inspector Gadget Wiki: Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas
- Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas at the Internet Movie Database
- Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas at the Big Cartoon DataBase