The Toy That Saved Christmas is the sixth episode of the VeggieTales animated series and the first holiday special in that series. It was released in October 1996 on VHS. Unlike it's predecessors it does not feature an opening/closing countertop. Like the other holiday episodes, it also has no "A Lesson In..." subtitle.
The opening sequence features the Veggies at a theater filming "The VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular" in the "first ever" network broadcast. Entertainment includes Junior Asparagus in the Holy Land sing "While By My Sheep" and Archibald Asparagus singing "Ring, Little Bell" (with help from Larry the Cucumber) while Bob the Tomato, Pa Grape, and others search for the feature film that the Veggies had planned on showing. Just when the network is about to cancel them in favor of Bonanza, the film can is finally located by Jimmy and Jerry Gourd (who mistook it for a pizza) and the episode begins.
The main story opens with Grandpa George telling a bedtime story to his granddaughter Annie. It opens when George mails a single package to a house in a neighborhood full of excited children. Despite the kids reaching for it, and the package being knocked onto a roof, George is finally able to deliver. Despite this, the kids ride inside with it and George passes out afterwards. The package opens into an artificial Christmas tree. The kids are about to leave when the TV flashes on and plays a commercial promoting "Buzz-Saw Louie" toys. On it, Wally P. Nezzer, the owner of a toy company, disguised as Santa Clause, spreads the word that the meaning of Christmas is to get more and more toys. After seeing this, the Dinkletown kids were whining about wanting more toys, even tipped off that a mysterious "Billy" has more toys, and a decent amount. Mr. Nezzer explains to his assistant (Mr. Lunt) that this was a strategy: if the whining continues long enough, the parents will have no choice but to buy from his factory, this creating demand for his toys in order to boost sales. “Buzz-Saw Louie,” the toy in question, promotes the message through his voice box and is the only toy featuring an actual working buzz saw built into his right arm.
As the shipping continues, one of the toys comes to life for unknown reasons and, after being boxed and put on the shelf, begins to question Mr. Nezzer's values and sings "Grumpy Kids," a music piece expressing his confusion and desire to learn the bigger picture about Christmas. That night, he breaks out of his box and sneaks out of the factory, despite a penguin guard's attempt to interfere. After escaping, however, he tumbles into Pugslyville and is trapped in a giant snowball. The next day is Christmas Eve. While most of the Veggie children are filled with a mad desire for the new toy, Larry, Bob, and Junior go sledding in Pugslyville. However, they lose their sled against a fence leading into a ravine. As they brush themselves off, they happen upon the live Buzz-Saw Louie toy, who has just broken free of the snowball. Bob suggests that they go see Grandpa George. George reminds them about the Nativity, and 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, and although he is jolly at first he realizes it was Scallion #1 and Pa Grape who stole his hat and belt. He angrily chases after them as Larry looks on in shock. During the fight, the IRS member barges in and takes the last cookie as payment. 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 hints the whining has ended and finds them out. However, the families saw the start of Nezzer's subsequent capture and break into the factory to rescue them. A penguin worker gives them directions, presumably by force. Meanwhile, Mr. Nezzer threatens to get rid of the kids and his live toy. He ties them to a sled and is about to send them downhill into a deep ravine when the other Veggie families arrive. The penguin immediately puts its hands up apologetically. Dad Asparagus threatens him, and pretend to advance on him in hopes for the truth. When he doesn't give it to them, Laura Carrot steps forward. Mr. Nezzer thinks he is about to meet a grim fate, but then Laura shows him kindness by giving him a gift. Overjoyed, Mr. Nezzer 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.
Mr. Nezzer immediately dives after the sled as the families look on with concern. Meanwhile, the doomed penguin turns on the alarm, and the other penguins intervene in the subsequent chase scene. The tables turn, however, when Buzz-Saw Louie uses his buzzsaw to free the Veggies and hook onto a tree, diverting the sled’s course and stopping it in its tracks. This leaves Mr. Nezzer alone racing toward the ravine. Louie again springs into action, using his buzz-saw to rally the Penguins and join them in saving Mr. Nezzer just as he is about to plummet to certain death. However, this leaves them all dangling off the edge of the ravine. Luckily, Grandpa George arrives with Bob, Larry, and Junior, and he is able to save them with the tow cable attached to his car. Christmas turns out to be happy after all. After the skirmish, Buzz-Saw Louie puts the buzz-saw for good use making furniture for everyone in town.
Back in the theater, Bob learns from Pa Grape that the network apparently didn't watch their special (Pa hints that they were watching the Rudolph special instead). Regardless, he closes out the usual line, "God made you special and he loves you very much".
- Can't Believe it's Christmas
- Grumpy Kids
- Oh, Santa! (Silly Song)
- While By My Sheep (Christmas Spectacular)
- Ring, Little Bells (Christmas Spectacular)
- In Wally P. Nezzer's studio, the couch from Love My Lips and some pictures from the Forgive-O-Matic can be seen.
- In a preview of The Star of Christmas from Jonah Sing Along Songs and More! on VHS, the "Can't Believe it's Christmas" song from this episode can be heard.
- The Fib from the then unreleased Larry-Boy and the Fib from Outer Space cameos as George's hood ornament on the delivery truck.
- A picture of Junior and his parents from Tales from the Crisper appears in Junior's living room when he and his friends are watching the commercial for Buzz Saw Louie.
- The snowman has its head back on when the Veggies are running away home from Junior's house.
- The bear that Laura gives Mr. Nezzer at the end is a brown version of Mr. Snuggly from Larry-Boy and the Fib from Outer Space. (In fact, when Mr. Nezzer chooses where to send the boys, he mentions Bumblyburg, where Larry-Boy lives.)
- This is the first episode to not feature the VeggieTales theme song.
- Watch the bed of George's mail truck as it begins its journey toward Dinkletown. Lying on its side is a purple box - a chocolate bunny box from Rack, Shack & Benny.
- As the penguin washes the dishes, the Christmas song "Feliz Navidad" plays quietly. In fact, it almost sounds like Larry the Cucumber's rendition of the tune from the album "A Very Veggie Christmas!"
- This episode later aired on TV in a special called "The VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular".