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"Christmas isn't about gettin'; it's about giving!"
— Grandpa George
The Toy That Saved Christmas

Phil Vischer
Chris Olsen


Chris Olsen


Phil Vischer

Music by

Kurt Heinecke


Word/Everland Entertainment


October 22, 1996


33 minutes

Previous episode

Dave and the
Giant Pickle

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Very Silly Songs!

"The Toy That Saved Christmas" is the sixth episode of VeggieTales and the first Christmas special of the series.

The story is about a little toy named Buzz-Saw Louie who comes to life and wants to find out the true meaning of Christmas.


The show opens on Grandpa George finishing up a bedtime story for his granddaughter, Annie. She asks for another one, but he tells her that she needs to get some sleep, otherwise she will be too exhausted the next day. However, after Annie begs for it some more, George gives in and begins to tell a Christmas bedtime story.

In the story, Mr. Nezzer is the owner of a toy company who, via television commercial, is spreading the word of his newest toyline, "Buzz-Saw Louie," with a working buzz saw built into his right arm and a trigger in his nose that makes him tell kids to get more toys (though delivery is not available in Puggslyville due to the collapse of the bridge linking the paths of the factory and village). After seeing the commercial, the kids of Dinkletown (the town George claims he used to deliver mail to) begin begging their parents for more toys. As Buzz-Saw Louie dolls roll off the production line, one of them inexplicably comes to life and escapes the factory to search for the true meaning of Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Larry, Bob, and Junior go sledding. They happen upon the escaped Louie, who asks the Veggies for help. Bob suggests that they go see Grandpa George, who reads the Nativity of Jesus from Luke and explains that the true meaning of Christmas is to give, not get. The kids are heartened by the news and plan a way to tell the rest of the people about the true meaning of Christmas before Christmas Day. Larry, Bob, Junior, and Louie sneak into Mr. Nezzer's factory and succeed in avoiding his security guards and broadcast a message using his TV studio's equipment. Shortly after, Mr. Nezzer discovers the group and decides to get rid of them by tying them to a sled and sending them away, though he is interrupted by the families of Dinkletown, who intervene. Realizing the error of his ways, Mr. Nezzer repents after being given a teddy bear as a gift. However, Mr. Nezzer accidentally presses a button and sends the sled with Bob, Larry, Junior, and Louie down through the restricted Puggslyville tube. Panicking, Mr. Nezzer and several of his penguin workers get on their own sleds and give chase in an attempt to save the four. However, Louie saves the Veggies by diverting the sled's course, leaving Mr. Nezzer alone racing toward the broken bridge. Louie and the penguins are able to save Mr. Nezzer just as he is about to fall down the ravine. The story concludes with everybody in Dinkletown, including Mr. Nezzer, getting together to celebrate a Christmas party.




Featured in the Silly Song



"Billy has more toys than you!"

- The Buzz-Saw Louie toy


"The Toy That Saved Christmas" was said to be a very special episode mainly because it proved to be a big challenge for Big Idea. It was made with the same number of people who worked on Dave and the Giant Pickle but it was very hard to make. The episode was made around September of 1996 and at that time, the air conditioning at Big Idea's then headquarters had been shut off and was being replaced. Suddenly, a heat wave had just hit Chicago and the employees pushed themselves to get the episode out in time since they could not ship out the Christmas special late.

As soon as everything was done, Phil Vischer began to suffer major chest pains from a bacteria eating at his heart. He had to stay in bed for the next month until he felt better.

Home media

Main article: The Toy That Saved Christmas/Home Video

Other Languages

  • Lodra që shpëtoi Krishtlindjët (Albanian)
  • شيور المنشار (Arabic)
  • Igračka koja je spasila Božić (Croatian)
  • Lelu, joka pelasti joulun (Finnish)
  • The Toy That Saved Christmas (Indonesian)
  • クリスマスを救え!(Japanese)
  • 聖誕玩具兵 (Mandarin) (Taiwan)
  • Leken som reddet julen! (Norwegian)
  • O Brinquedo Que Salvou o Natal (Portuguese) (Brazilian) (2nd-3rd Dubs)
  • Igrača, ki je rešila božič (Slovenian)
  • El Juguete Que Salvó la Navidad (Latin Spanish)
  • Món quà cứu Giáng Sinh (Vietnamese)

Fun Facts


  • Christmas is about giving, not receiving, and it is especially about celebrating the greatest gift ever, Jesus Christ.
  • Do not believe anything false you see or hear on TV, especially commercials.


  • This is the first episode for several things:
  • Chronologically, this is the fourth episode to have its animation being redone later on. It was reanimated a year later prior to being shown as part of the 1998 premiere of the VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular!.
  • This is the final episode to have Chris Olsen as an animator. Starting with the next episode, he would only be a director and/or producer.
  • The footage used for the television commercials were rendered in 60 frames compared to the rest of the episode. Mike states that they did this so it makes it look like a home video.
  • According to former Big Idea web designer Darren Sumner, a rare "Work in Progress" tape exists, which includes about 50% finished animation and 50% storyboard drawings. There is no music or sound effects, and the characters' voice lines are not pitch-shifted.[1]
  • The pajamas Annie is wearing have the same pattern as the background Qwerty uses for the verses.
  • There is a picture in George's house of George in a sailor's uniform in the reanimated version. It is possible he may have been a Navy veteran at some point.
  • Tom Danen, Mike Nawrocki, Chris Olsen and Ron Smith were shocked to see that Robert Ellis was animating in a bathing suit.
  • The scene where Mr. Nezzer shrugs was animated by Ron Smith. When the crew saw that for the first time, they were quite surprised at how they saw Nezzer shrug.
  • The scene where Buzz-Saw Louie exits the factory only to fall was animated by Tom Danen.
  • According to the commentary, Mr. Nezzer's chair moves up and down like an elevator as him hopping up and down stairs would be difficult to animate.
  • Phil states that due to Mr. Nezzer turning into a good guy, it would be impossible for him to return to being an antagonist. As such, the decision was made for him to come back as his own brother with a bigger nose.
  • Out of all the first 16 episodes of the show, this is the only episode that was not included in any of the Bob and Larry's Favorite Stories! VHS compilations.
  • Some copies of the original 1996 VHS print were oddly missing the sticker label on the cassette.
  • The Arabic, Japanese, and 1st Spanish dubs are the only foreign dubs of the episode to use the original animation. Some scenes, however, were modified and later used for the new animation.
  • The Japanese and 1st Spanish dubs of the show often end with this episode.
  • The Arabic, Slovenian, and 1st Spanish dubs' credits use an instrumental version of "Can't Believe it's Christmas".
  • In the original Latin Spanish dub, when Junior screams "Mom! Mom! I need more toys!" and when Lisa comes up from the kitchen, more of Junior's living room can be seen when the camera pans over to Percy's house, which was never seen in the English version.
  • Foreign dubs change references to Mouse Trap to other games.
    • The Brazilian dubs change it to dominoes.
    • The Slovenian and first Latin Spanish dubs change it to Monopoly.
    • The second Latin Spanish dub (Telexitos Airing and Rerelease) changes it to hide and seek.
  • The Norwegian and Japanese dubs leave in George saying "Oy, my spinely!" in the credits.
  • In the Finnish dub, Bob's English name is used by accident once.

Differences Between Versions

Main article: The Toy That Saved Christmas/Differences


  • Although the 1998 Lyrick Studios reprint normally uses the updated version of the episode, some copies of it as well as its screener tape oddly contain the original 1996 version of the episode.
  • The kids state they have been waiting for Christmas for a million hours. A million hours is actually 41,667 days, and equates to a total of 114 years. It is possible that they were just using an exaggerated figure of speech showing they have been impatiently waiting several days or about a month for Christmas.
  • The sledding package somehow lifts the kids straight up in the air instead of just crashing into them. Although, it is possible they simply jumped over it.
  • The package, though short in width and height, is long in length, but when the kids open it up, it is a standard-sized package with the top facing upward.
  • In the 1997 version, George's pickup truck is full of wrapped packages as he is driving, but when he delivers the only package addressed to Dinkletown, it is nearly empty. On that note, why is it the only package not wrapped in Christmas paper like all the others?
  • Commercials coming from Mr. Nezzer's TV studio air in that all nearby TVs turn on by themselves to broadcast them.
  • Mr. Nezzer's delivery system is impractical in that by using penguins on sleds, it can only reach the towns that are reachable by sled. Also, after each delivery, the penguins have to hike back up the mountain to the factory with their sled in tow, meaning delivery would be so slow that a significant amount of children would not receive their Buzz-Saw Louies until after Christmas had passed. By building the tubes to accommodate this system (one for each town reachable by sled), although the sleds may have been given a boost by the time they come out, a lot of money was thrown out. Had he used a shipping system such as the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, Amazon, or UPS, he would have been able to reach more households and could have also easily bypassed the collapsed bridge and gotten Buzz-Saw Louies to Puggslyville.
  • It is unknown how Louie ever managed to come to life, let alone be able to talk, despite being a toy.
  • It is unknown who exactly Billy is, given that he is only mentioned in this episode.
  • All of the Buzz Saw Louies in their boxes (except the one coming to life) are just 2D pictures in most of the shots.
  • Louie's talking function stays fine in the snow even as it could have melted and water could have corroded it.
  • Only a single, yard-long fence with a skull head "Danger" sign is being used to protect bypassers from the collapsed bridge.
  • Mr. Nezzer leaves no locks for his TV studio's doors, likely to show the convenience of being able to tell everyone.
  • The scene with the protagonists listening to George's story segues into Annie's bedroom without a wall, yet when the scene shifts to George telling her the story is not over yet, there is indeed a wall.
  • The group are right in front of the penguin guard when he comes by, meaning surely they should have been caught on the spot, yet somehow they were still able to hide within the space of the drinking fountain without repercussions.
  • Upon seeing the protagonists "borrowing" his TV studio, Mr. Nezzer is much more concerned about someone ruining "his" Christmas than the toy he made inexplicably coming to life.
  • The protagonists are tied up in such a way they could easily hop off the sled if they wanted to. Strangely enough, they somehow manage to stay ON the sled (even after Louie cuts the rope apart) despite the fact it is cruising at high speed through a tube and down the mountain!
  • If the buzzsaws on the Buzz-Saw Louies could actually cut through wood, the toy as a whole would be recalled later for containing a choking hazard as well as a safety hazard and never be sold in real life.
  • The single, yard-long fence holds up pretty well as Mr. Nezzer crashes right through it.
  • The collapsed bridge is flat when Larry is looking at it from the fence, but when Mr. Nezzer flies off of it, it is warped upward.
  • Louie somehow has enough strength that he is able to grab Mr. Nezzer by his suit, and on top of that, depending on Mr. Nezzer's weight, it would be improbable that the suit would not rip in the time it took for George to reach them.
  • Depending on how long George took to even reach Mr. Nezzer, Louie and the penguins, it would be unlikely that they could actually hold on for hours.
  • Louie's furniture is all toy-sized and as such, its purpose is negated. However, even if Louie is starting small, it could take a while to make bigger furniture.
  • It is unknown if Annie went to sleep after George told the whole story.
  • When this aired on TV, they cut out Larry's line "Just don't send us to Puggslyville, the bridge is out," making it seem like Mr. Nezzer is talking to thin air.
  • Jimmy appears in the DVD Settings menu, despite not actually appearing in the episode.

Fixed Goofs/Goofs

  • Annie's pillow case is blue when the camera pans to the outside of the window, but when the scene shifts to the inside of her bedroom, her pillow case is yellow.
    • From here, it proceeds to change between white and yellow between shots focused on Annie and George throughout the episode.
  • Annie's hair can be seen clipping into the pillow on several occasions.
  • In the shot where George attempts to remind Annie that her mom might be mad at her if she does not get sleep but is interrupted by Annie, his mustache appears to be split in half.
  • Some white on Annie's mouth can be seen when she turns her head on the pillow. This could be from the pillow clipping through her mouth.
  • In the original version, as George is heading down the hill into Dinkletown, his mustache turns white before returning to its grey color upon his arrival. Though this was fixed in the 1997 version, a goof was introduced which sees George clipping into his seat during the shot.
    • On a similar note, George's grille guard, as well as his Fib ornament, flickers as he stops his pickup truck. This does not happen in the 1997 version, likely due to the redesigned truck.
  • Percy clips through the door frame as he jumps out the front door.
  • In the original version, while Percy sings in his house, both he and Lil' Pea's mouths move. This was corrected in the 1997 version in that Lil' Pea's mouth no longer moves and only Percy's does.
  • Both of the Peas' mouths move at the same time only Percy is singing while standing on the package.
  • As the children are singing "Ya, hey, we're glad to say that Christmas time is here!", George's mustache turns white (again if you are watching the original version).
  • Lenny is missing his mouth in one shot.
  • The Buzz-Saw Louie commercial was animated at 60 fps, with the exception of Mr. Nezzer and Mr. Lunt's mouths, which are still animated at 30 fps, making their movement look choppy.
  • As Laura and Lenny whine and beg for Buzz-Saw Louies, somehow their parents disappear and Baby Lou appears beside them as the scene pans outside their window.
    • The original version also features all the glass on the windows changing colors as the scene pans outside the front window. This does not happen in the 1997 version, likely due to the windows now revealing the outside of the house.
  • In the original version, the interior of Louie's toy box changes colors between shots. This does not happen in the 1997 version.
  • When Laura and Lenny bonk into each other while whining for Buzz-Saw Louie, their mouths are missing.
  • When Louie pushes himself off the shelf in his toy box, he is placed towards the exit due to falling off the second set of shelves, but he is in the middle of the room when he starts running towards it.
    • The box also disappears.
  • In the original version, Bob is missing in the shot where the snow and the sled fly from the impact of the sled crashing into the fence, after which he magically appears upside-down in the snow. This was corrected in the 1997 version by having Bob flip in the air and then land upside-down.
  • As Bob, Larry, and Junior exclaim "Ooh!" upon Louie stating his intent to find out the true meaning of Christmas, Bob's eyes are detached from his nose.
  • When Louie moans that "This is hopeless! Christmas is ruined!", a small spot on Larry's scarf flickers as he moves his body around.
  • In the original version, when Junior asks the group to follow him, Larry's scarf is seen clipping into his body as he follows Junior. Though this was fixed in the 1997 version, in both versions Bob twitches while following Junior.
  • As Louie states to Junior why he does not want to go back in the factory, he and Bob are floating on a still blurred background that does not move.
  • Junior clips through the frame of the door when he opens it.
  • In the original version, as the group are running past the door to Mr. Nezzer's TV studio before Junior comes back and says, "That's it!", Larry's scarf is once again clipping into his body, which was also fixed in the 1997 version.
  • As Laura and her family are watching the protagonists' broadcast about the true meaning of Christmas, Laura's mom is clipping through the end of the couch until she begins sitting.
    • On a similar note, she manages to lose half of her eyeliner in a single blink but gains it back in her next shot.
  • In the original version, Mr. Nezzer's tie is missing in the scene in which he is marching down to his TV studio to capture the group. He regains it in the 1997 version.
  • In the 1997 version, as the group are discovered and captured, Baby Lou clips into his dad as the camera pans to show the television.
  • As Mr. Nezzer says "...and I intend to keep it that way!", his belt (as well as his tie in the original version) clips into his suit.
  • In the original version, as Mr. Lunt says "Right away boss!", his teeth are closed. They are open in the 1997 version.
  • In the original version, during the moment Mr. Nezzer says, "...if those people really cared what you had to say...", the rope clips through Louie's body and slightly phases into Larry's as well. This shot was reanimated in the 1997 version, thereby fixing this.
  • As Laura brings in the present from behind her, it can be seen clipping through her dad.
  • There is caution tape (which is broken due to the group's sled going right through it) over the route to Puggslyville as Mr. Nezzer heads down in his own sled. When the penguins head down, however, there is no caution tape.
  • When the rope is first seen, there are knots on the rope, but when the rope is thrown, there are no knots.
  • In the original version, when Louie is about to say, "Let's see what this baby can really do!", his arm clips through the penguin's wing. This does not happen in the 1997 version.
  • On the shot where Buzz-Saw Louie starts up his buzzsaw; despite being on a penguin's sled, the background stays static as if the penguin was not moving.
  • As Mr. Nezzer is about to reach the collapsed bridge, the penguins' sleds briefly turn red before returning to grey in the next shot.
  • In the original version, the sky background flickers as Mr. Nezzer is caught by Louie and the penguins. This does not happen in the 1997 version.
  • When George is on the box, sliding down the hill to the children, the box clips through the snow. Also, in the same scene, the snow goes over the box in one shot.

Inside References

  • This episode is very similar to Rack, Shack and Benny, with several references and story similarities included:
    • George narrates the story.
    • In the original release, a Nezzer chocolate bunny box can be seen in the back of George's truck.
    • Mr. Nezzer owns a factory and uses his product to manipulate children.
    • Mr. Nezzer asks if he is "more wily than his brother," to which Mr. Lunt assumes he is talking about Nebby K., whose chocolate factory he used to work in.
    • The reasoning for Mr. Nezzer's actions is that he got "confused."
    • Bob, Larry, and Junior are the main protagonists and they are the only ones that resist Mr. Nezzer's message for most of the story.
    • Mr. Nezzer tries to get rid of the main protagonists, but Laura intervenes in the process.
    • The group is tied up in a rope, which is also the same one used previously.
    • Mr. Nezzer redeems himself at the end of the story.
  • George's pickup truck in both the original and 1997 versions features a metallic ornament of Lumpy on the nose, who appeared in the first and second episodes.
  • When the protagonists enter Mr. Nezzer's television studio, you will notice one of the props from the "Forgive-o-Matic" skit, depending on the version, from the second episode and the couch from "I Love My Lips."
    • The original version features the knives, whereas the 1997 version uses one of the more cartoony sketches from the skit instead.
  • When George delivers the presents to Dinkletown, there is a shot in the reanimated version which shows Christmas presents. One of the presents features wrapping paper covered with various VeggieTales characters.
  • This episode came out at the same time as A Very Veggie Christmas and features a few songs from it. As the protagonists sneak by one of the penguin crew members as he is doing dishes, "Feliz Navidad" can be heard if you listen closely. The original version also features, towards the end, the Peas singing "He Is Born, The Holy Child." This was changed to Junior singing "Away in a Manger" in the reanimated version.

Real-World References

  • George plays a role similar to that of S.D. Kluger from Rankin-Bass' "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town", with them sharing trucks and jobs.
  • Mouse Trap is a board game where to goal is to play against each other by getting the other player trapped in one of the Rube Goldberg-like mouse traps.
  • The penguin guards resemble Feathers McGraw from Wallace & Gromit's The Wrong Trousers in 1993.

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VeggieTales episodes