Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

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Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
Directed byJon Stone
Produced byDulcy Singer
Jon Stone (executive producer)
Written byJon Stone and Joseph A. Bailey
StarringCaroll Spinney
Jon Stone
Music byDavid Axlerod (songs "Keep Christmas with You" and "I Hate Christmas")
Sam Pottle (songs "Keep Christmas with You" and "I Hate Christmas")
Carol Hall (song "True Blue Miracle")
Dick Lieb (music composed, arranged and conducted by)
Distributed byPBS
Release date
December 3, 1978
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street scene with Oscar the Grouch (in his trash can) and Big Bird at the 86th Street station

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is an American Sesame Street Christmas special first broadcast on PBS on Sunday, December 3, 1978.


The story starts with live-action versions of the Muppets enjoying an ice skating party. After the skating party, the characters head home to Sesame Street performing the song "True Blue Miracle".

In the main story, Oscar the Grouch plants the seeds of doubt in Big Bird's mind whether Santa Claus can actually fit down chimneys to deliver Christmas presents. Big Bird enlists the help of Kermit and Grover to interview children about how he manages it; their responses vary. Big Bird even attempts a reenactment with Snuffleupagus but it is unsuccessful. Big Bird spends the night out in the cold on the roof, waiting for Santa to appear in person. After the residents of Sesame Street realize that he has gone missing, Maria confronts Oscar for upsetting Big Bird. Oscar agrees to help search for him.

Meanwhile, in a variation on the 1905 O. Henry story "The Gift of the Magi," Bert and Ernie want to give each other Christmas presents, but they have no money. Bert trades away his prized paper clip collection to buy a pink soap dish for Ernie's Rubber Duckie, but Ernie has bartered Rubber Duckie to get Bert an empty cigar box for the paper clips. Mr. Hooper, the store owner, realizes what is happening and gives them their treasured possessions back as Christmas presents.

Also, Cookie Monster attempts to get in touch with Santa Claus. He ends up consuming his pencil to write a letter, his typewriter, and a telephone used to call the North Pole. At Gordon and Susan Robinson's apartment, he laments to Gordon that he was unable to contact Santa. Gordon suggests leaving cookies for Santa.

In the end, Big Bird walks down from the roof to warm up, much to the relief of his friends. Big Bird realizes Santa had already come and gone when he sees the presents under the tree (due to him falling asleep on the roof and Santa's shadow looms over him while he sleeps). He regrets not learning how Santa can go through chimneys, but he comes to recognize that being together with family and friends is more important. Oscar, true to form, starts needling Big Bird about the Easter Bunny, only to be rebuked by Gordon and Susan as Big Bird begins to fret about the holidays all over again.

The special concludes with Susan and Gordon returning to their apartment to find that Cookie Monster has eaten the needles off their Christmas tree.



The cast of Sesame Street[edit]


  • Starring Jim Henson's Muppets: Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt
  • The Cast of Sesame Street: Linda Bove, Northern Calloway, Debbie Chen, Loretta Long, Will Lee, Sonia Manzano, Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman, Alania Reed and Carroll Spinney as Big Bird and Oscar
  • Producer: Dulcy Singer
  • Written by Jon Stone and Joseph A. Bailey
  • Skaters from Holiday on Ice
    • "True Blue Miracle" by Carol Hall
    • "Keep Christmas With You" and "I Hate Christmas" by Sam Pottle and David Axelrod
  • Original Music Arranger and Conductor: Dick Lieb
  • Music Coordinator: Danny Epstein
  • Music Assistant: Dave Connor
  • Associate Director: Ozzie Alfonso
  • Production Supervisor: Robert Braithwaite
  • Muppets by: Donald Sahlin, Kermit Love, Caroly Wilcox, John Lovelady
  • Art Director: Alan J. Compton
  • Production Stage Manager: Chet O'Brien
  • Stage Manager: Emily Squires
  • Set Decorator: Nat Mongioi
  • Lighting Directors: David M. Clark, Tony DiGirolamo
  • Graphic Artist: Gerri Brioso
  • Costume Designer: Bill Kellard
  • Wardrobe: Grisha Mynova
  • Production Assistants: Mercedes Polanco, Sharen Gay, Cathi Rosenberg
  • Technical Advisor: Walt Rauffer
  • Technical Director: Ralph Mensch
  • Sound Effects: Dick Maitland, Roy Carch
  • Audio: Mike Shoskes, Jay Judell
  • Executive Producer: Jon Stone
  • Production Conceived and Directed by: Jon Stone

Song list[edit]

A variety of Christmas songs help interweave these three plot lines and make the production much more touching, including:

  • "Feliz Navidad", by José Feliciano while Big Bird skates with one of the children (preceded and followed by a slow orchestral version of the song).
  • "True Blue Miracle", sung during the gang's trip from the skating party back to Sesame Street.
  • "Keep Christmas with You All Through the Year", sung in Bob's apartment with Linda leading a group of children in signing the chorus.
  • "I Hate Christmas", sung by Oscar the Grouch outside on Sesame Street.
  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", sung by Bert and Ernie after opening their Christmas gifts to each other.
  • "Keep Christmas with You (Reprise)", sung by everyone at the end.


One of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street's competitors that year was a lesser-known, critically panned Sesame Street special on CBS -- A Special Sesame Street Christmas.


When the special aired on Muppet Matinee's Christmas Special Marathon on Nickelodeon in December 1994, "I Hate Christmas" was cut.

In various re-airings on PBS in the late 1980s, the closing scene with Susan and Gordon finding that Cookie Monster ate most of their Christmas tree was cut.

On video releases since the mid-1990s, the 1978 Children's Television Workshop logo with Christmas music was cut. The 1996 VHS replaces it with the 1983 logo, and DVD releases of the special start without any logos.

In December 2020, the special was released on the HBO Max streaming service. Jose Feliciano’s recording of Feliz Navidad was removed, presumably due to copyright issues, while the instrumental version played beforehand remains.

When Big Bird and Patty check on Oscar following his ice skating accident, Oscar's original line was "Sure. I've been thrown out of better places than that." It was later re-dubbed in post-production (to "Let's go back and do it, again!"), because Jon Stone considered the original joke too adult-focused.[1]

Home media[edit]

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street was released on VHS in 1987 and 1996, and on DVD in 2002 and 2008.


The Christmas Eve on Sesame Street album features several of the songs from the television special, along with narration. It was nominated for a Grammy Award, but lost to In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dosier, Ryan (20 December 2011). "Interview with Muppet Writer Joseph Bailey". The Muppet Mindset. Retrieved 18 July 2016.

External links[edit]