A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Themes include the value of kindness and the true spirit of the holidays. For much of the story, some characters resist others' attempts at holiday cheer, but even the staunchest bah-humbuggers come around when kindness wins out. Even though Christmas features most prominently in the story, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are mentioned as well.
Positive Role Models
Elmo shares holiday cheer with everyone around him, to mixed results, but his example inspires others to embrace the joys of the season. Oscar and the grouches revel in the opposite emotions (selfishness, grumpiness, stinginess), but in their own way, it makes them happy.
Products & Purchases
This special features the Sesame Street cast.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas is a sweet story about holiday spirit and the importance of kindness. The story alternates between a modern-day setting in which Elmo's father tells him a bedtime story and the 19th-century origins of friendliness on Sesame Street itself. Most characters begin as curmudgeonly and irritable, but through the influence of a cheerful new arrival, they discover the joy and holiday spirit of sharing, caring, and being kind. While Christmas gets the biggest billing in the story, many characters make references to other timely holidays like Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and the traditions that go along with them. Special guests Audra McDonald, Jim Gaffigan, and Zosia Mamet join the Sesame Street gang for this heartwarming musical holiday special that's fun for kids and parents to enjoy together. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This story celebrates holiday cheer by showing what it's like to be without it, and everyone can agree that Sesame Street just isn't the same without friendly neighbors and sunny days. The doom and gloom that hangs over the community and its people is no way to anticipate Christmas, but Elmo of old is determined to change that -- and this one spark of joy makes its way up and down the street in surprising fashion. Not only is this great for Sesame Street residents, it's also an excellent reminder of the value of even the smallest acts of kindness.
Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas is lively, spirited holiday entertainment that's great for families to enjoy together. Kids might find the jumps between the two storylines a bit confusing (especially given that all the characters' ancestors share their descendants' names), but the songs and spirit of the kindly messages stand out regardless.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.