Christmas is bustling, festive and exciting for Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the Elves at the North Pole… Sherman, an aspiring apprentice Elf, tries his best to fit in but can’t seem to do anything right! He’s worked in nearly every department at the North Pole and has triggered a series of disasters everywhere he goes. Santa tries to bolster Sherman’s self-esteem by entrusting him with the special task of guarding his MAGIC TOY BAG until Christmas Eve. When Sherman accidentally shrinks the bag by washing it, he fears there might not be a Christmas this year … Unless the accident-prone Elf can finally make things right!
Sherman wants desperately to be an official elf. But there’s a little obstacle in his way; he ruins everything he touches. From building toy ducks that bark to almost destroying 500 letters from children, Sherman is the dread of every elf department under the snow-laden roof of Santa’s workshop. The harder Sherman tries, the bigger the mess he makes! This is not good for his elf-esteem.
Sherman is given one more chance- helping Mrs. Santa make cookies! But after baking the gumdrops and striping the gingerbread men, he hangs his head and starts packing. Things don’t look good for Sherman. Grindle, a forgiving but exasperated lead elf, goes to Santa to make him aware of this oddity named Sherman.
After his Christmas kitchen calamity, Sherman is sure Santa will never choose him to be an official elf. But Santa may have different plans. He sees the creativity and potential in the hard-working, well-intentioned elf, and calls for the disillusioned Sherman. Santa, it turns out, needs an elf to keep his magic toy bag safe before his night of cosmic travel. A job of utmost importance, Sherman is mortified yet thrilled to take it. Wanting to go that extra mile, he attempts to wash the bag, resulting in an airless scream and six hours of painstakingly sewing another bag for Santa. Although Santa shows Christmas compassion, Sherman sadly thinks there is no magic to his bag. With affection, Santa explains Sherman’s belief in Christmas has created magic in him, and suddenly the bag sparkles. This transforms Sherman, and now a shadow of his former elf (see that one coming?), he is joyfully ready to accept the next exciting Christmas calling Santa has for him!
Being that Santa’s Magic Toy Bag was produced over 30 years ago, the film’s images show softer edges than those to which we are accustomed, but that seems to add to the coziness of Santa’s workshop and the characters in it. Except for Santa and Mrs. Santa, the characters are Muppet-style puppets and can relate well to small children. Both self-confidence and kindness are central threads running through this short but fun Christmas tale. Dove awards it the All Ages Seal of Approval.
Santa’s Magic Toy Bag, produced in 1983, brings back a timeless, wholesome Christmas show starring Muppet-like characters, all working diligently to fill Santa’s magic bag in spite of Sherman, a blundering elf-in-training.