Santa's Magic Toy Bag

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Santa's Magic Toy Bag Movie Poster Image
Puppet elf's adventure in Santa's toy shop short and sweet
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 30 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

The magic of Christmas comes from a feeling inside. True magic really begins when you believe in yourself. There's a place for everyone; even the newest, most mistake-prone elf finds his niche.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sherman, an apprentice elf who is eager but makes a lot of mistakes, learns that he can be competent and resourceful. He continues trying hard until one day he succeeds. North Pole residents, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, are supportive of, mostly patient with, and helpful to the hapless elf.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The DVD's extras include a blooper reel, which contains a few swear words or obscenities that are bleeped out; puppets burp a lot.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Santa's Magic Toy Bag is a 2014 DVD release of a Christmas holiday television special originally aired in 1983. Puppets, songs, and good cheer combine with a sweet story about Sherman, a hapless elf who wants to earn a permanent place on Santa's staff. Messages about the magic of Christmas and developing one's skills and self-confidence are gently and humorously delivered. Short enough at just under 30 minutes to hold even the youngest viewers' attention, the DVD extras include a sing-a-long, a bloopers reel (with some expletives bleeped out and lots of burping), and drawings of some of Sherman's toy designs. 

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What's the story?

Some puppets don't seem to stand a chance. Beginner-elf Sherman can't seem to do anything right. In SANTA'S MAGIC TOY BAG, it's only days before Christmas, and poor Sherman has been transferred from department to department at the North Pole. But he just keeps making mistakes, like accidentally putting 500 letters to Santa in the trash and messing up by baking the candy canes instead of the cookies. All the new elf wants is to be a permanent member of Santa's elf staff, but it's not happening. He's on the verge of giving up completely when Santa hands him a choice assignment: Guard the magic toy bag that Santa takes on his Christmas Eve deliveries. It's for one day, and it seems perfect for the little guy who only wants to do a good job. Unfortunately, good intentions don't always work out, and once again Sherman's mistake nearly ends Christmas before it even begins.

Is it any good?

Old-fashioned and good-natured with some catchy tunes and whimsical characters, this little movie will make a nice addition to family Christmas viewing for even the youngest kids. Sherman is an elf with whom everyone can identify. Who doesn't make mistakes? Who doesn't want a second chance? More than 30 years since it was broadcast on television, this is the first in what is expected to be a series of holiday television shows from the 1980s intended for release by Legend Films, a company noted for film restoration. Paul Fusco, best known for his creation of ALF, is the driving force behind this entertaining puppet special. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making mistakes. Name some "big" and "little" mistakes. How do you know the difference? Does everyone make mistakes? How can we learn from them?

  • Sherman made a funny electric kite with a two-mile-long cord. Try to design and draw a toy you think would be fun to play with or a toy that would simply be fun to imagine.

  • How is a puppet movie like this one different from a cartoon? Find out how puppet movies are made.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Themes & Topics

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