The Toy that Saved Christmas is the first VeggieTales Christmas special. It was released in 1996.
Grandpa George tells a story about Wally P. Nezzer, the owner of a toy company, who is spreading the word via television commercial that the meaning of Christmas is to get more and more toys. After seeing this, the Dinkletown kids were whining about wanting more toys. He explains to his assistant (Mr. Lunt) that this is a strategy to create demand for his toys in order to boost sales. The toy in question is called “Buzz-Saw Louie,” the only toy featuring an actual working buzz saw built into his right arm.
On Christmas Eve, while most of the Veggie children are filled with a mad desire for the new toy, Larry, Bob and Junior go sledding. They happen upon a lone Buzz-Saw Louie toy that has questioned Mr. Nezzer’s values and escaped the factory to find the true meaning of Christmas. Bob suggests that they go see Grandpa George. George reads the Gospel according to Luke Chapter 2: verses 8-14 in the Contemporary English Version which is as follows:
"That night in the fields near Bethlehem, some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, 'Don't be afraid! I have good news for you which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David's hometown, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.' Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God They said, 'Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.'" In this, George explains to them that the true meaning of Christmas is not to get, but to give, the way God gave us Jesus, the greatest gift of all. The children are heartened by the news, but puzzle about how to tell the rest of the Veggies before Christmas Day.
The story is interrupted by a Silly Song entitled "Oh Santa!" Larry is staying up late awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, eager to give him some home-made cookies. Instead of Santa, however, he is visited first by a bank robber (Scallion #1), then by a Viking (played by Pa Grape), and finally by an agent of the IRS (played by a Peach). They all take refuge is his home and eat his cookies (except for the IRS agent who Larry evidently considers too loathsome to invite inside). Santa finally shows up, but rather than being jolly he angrily chases after Scallion #1 and Pa Grape for stealing his "Belt" and "Hat." Larry is left without any cookies, and no Santa or friends.
Returning to the story, the characters' solution is to sneak into Mr. Nezzer’s toy factory and use his television studio to broadcast the message to all the surrounding towns. The plan is a huge success, except that Mr. Nezzer finds them out and threatens to get rid of them. He ties them to a sled and is about to send them downhill into a deep ravine when the other Veggie families intervene. Laura Carrot shows him kindness by giving him a gift, and he quickly repents the errors of his ways. However, the sled with Bob, Larry, Junior, and Louie is accidentally sent on its fateful course in the process but the Dinkletown kids were begging for more toys.
A chase scene ensues in which Mr. Nezzer and a half dozen Penguins attempt to save the doomed Veggies. The tables turn, however, when Buzz-Saw Louie is able to divert the sled’s course, leaving Mr. Nezzer alone racing toward the ravine. Louie again springs into action, using his buzz-saw to rally the Penguins and save Mr. Nezzer just as he is about to plummet to certain death. Then, Buzz-Saw Louie puts the buzz-saw for good use making furniture and the show ends. It was edited from the TV version due to the show's length only for thirty minutes.
- "Can't Believe It's Christmas"
- "Grumpy Kids"
- "Oh, Santa!"
- Grandpa George as the narrator and mailman
- Annie as his granddaughter
- Bob the Tomato as himself
- Larry the Cucumber as himself
- Junior Asparagus as himself
- Wally P. Nezzer, Nebby K's brother as the owner of the Nezzer Toy Factory
- Mr. Lunt as his "little elf helper"
- Buzz-Saw Louie as himself
- Laura Carrot as herself
- Lenny Carrot as himself
- Various other Peas, Carrots, and Asparaguses as townsfolk
- Delivery Penguins