"It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" is the 176th episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and the series' second Christmas-themed episode. It was released as a direct-to-video special on October 30, 2012, before making its televised premieres on CBS on November 23rd, and later on Nickelodeon on December 6th of the same year. Unlike the series' first Christmas episode, "Christmas Who?", this special was done in stop-motion animation, much like many of the Rankin/Bass holiday specials.
The special opens on Patchy the Pirate driving a mail truck (parodying the role of S. D. Kluger from Santa Claus is Comin' to Town) through a snowy mountain area, explaining to the viewer that he wanted to make sure Santa Claus got his letter this year, so he has given the mailman the day off (or so he claims; in actuality, he has tied up the mailman and put him in the back of the truck). His parrot, Potty, however, doubts that Patchy knows the way to the North Pole. As they debate which Christmas song contains the directions in its lyrics, the truck suddenly runs over a (literal) fork in the road. As the truck starts spinning out of control, Patchy suggests they show the viewers what SpongeBob is up to this Christmas.
As the main story begins, it is once again Christmastime in Bikini Bottom, and SpongeBob is preparing for Santa Claus' arrival again. He decorates his house and then goes about asking his friends about their Christmas doings - Squidward wants Santa to leave him alone, Patrick is setting a trap for Santa so he can get him to stop the clocks and make Christmas last all year long, Sandy is trying out her Christmas Magic Analyzer, and Mr. Krabs is also decorating the Krusty Krab for Christmas. But meanwhile, at the Chum Bucket, Plankton, who always gets coal from Santa, is explaining his latest plan to his computer-wife, Karen. He has discovered an element called jerktonium, which can turn even the nicest person unbearably nasty, so he is going to give out fruitcake sprinkled with jerktonium to everyone in Bikini Bottom. Plankton figures that once everyone in the city has turned into jerks, he will look like the nicest person in town by comparison and Santa will have to give him what he wants - the Krabby Patty secret formula.
After preparing his jerktonium-tainted fruitcake, Plankton goes looking for the first victim when SpongeBob shows up. Plankton gives him several fruitcakes, but to his dismay, none of them have any effect on the young sponge. Thinking the plan has failed, Plankton gives SpongeBob the keys to his fruitcake dispenser, and SpongeBob goes about giving Plankton's fruitcake to everyone in town. Sure enough, the consumers are quickly turned angry and nasty by the jerktonium-laced fruitcakes. When Plankton goes to look, he is pleased to see that almost everyone in Bikini Bottom is acting like jerks. However, since SpongeBob's innocent love of the holiday protects him from the effects of the jerktonium, Plankton decides to bring in "plan B" - ToyBob, a wind-up robot in SpongeBob's likeness that will go through town framing SpongeBob for all sorts of naughty deeds.
Back in the framing device, the mail truck crashes at the bottom of a cliff, but Patchy and Potty (and the mailman, still bound and gagged) manage to survive. Unfortunately, with the truck now having a flat tire due to the fork, Patchy and Potty take a break to start a campfire. In twenty minutes, the two become so hungry that they attempt to eat each other.
As the story continues, SpongeBob, completely unaware that he has been giving everyone jerktonium, starts noticing that the citizens are acting pretty mean now, but he assumes they just have holiday jitters. The next morning, on Christmas Eve, SpongeBob sees that nobody in Bikini Bottom seems to have any feelings of goodwill and decides to investigate. Squidward won't help him, so he goes to Sandy's treedome to request her assistance, only to see that she too has become a fruitcake-eating jerk. SpongeBob then accidentally tosses a piece of the fruitcake Sandy's eating into her Christmas Magic Analyzer, and it prints out a reading that reveals to them that the fruitcake contains the jerktonium that has made everyone turn ornery. After telling Sandy he got the fruitcake from Plankton, SpongeBob worries that he's become the biggest jerk in town since Plankton fed him so much of it earlier. Sandy, however, tells him that he's actually immune to it due to his tiny brain and pure heart, but she'll need to make an antidote for everyone else, so she sets her Analyzer to calculate the formula. The analyzer then produces a piece of sheet music that turns out to be the antidote; when SpongeBob starts humming the music, Sandy suddenly returns to her normal self.
With that, SpongeBob greets everyone in Bikini Bottom by singing the song, "Don't Be a Jerk (It's Christmas)", gradually turning them all back to normal. After he finishes the song, Santa arrives, but he says that everyone is on the naughty list, and that Plankton is, by comparison, the nicest one here. Santa proceeds to bring the Krabby Patty formula to Plankton, at which point Mr. Krabs asks how he got on his hands on it, with Santa replying he has his ways (actually, his elves snatched it from Krabs' pocket). SpongeBob attempts to explain the truth, but Santa will not listen, since he also thinks SpongeBob is the worst one of all. At that moment, ToyBob appears and prepares to destroy Santa. SpongeBob, however, steps in to defend the big guy and eventually destroys the robot by covering it in fruitcake shot by Plankton's dispenser. Santa, seeing that SpongeBob really is a good person, looks at the key that was on ToyBob's backside and sees the text "If found, please return to the Chum Bucket" written on it. Plankton tries to escape, but Krabs grabs the formula from him, and Santa's elves drop a sack's worth of coal on him. As Santa takes off into the sky, Patrick stows away on the back of his sleigh and tries to capture him with a net, throwing him and his reindeer off course.
In the special's closing scene, Patchy sees what he thinks is Santa's workshop and goes inside to read his letter, which says that all he wants for Christmas is meet his hero, SpongeBob. However, it is revealed to the viewers that Patchy is hallucinating and has actually wandered into a cave inhabited by a hungry polar bear who starts chasing him. Nearby, the real Santa observes that Patchy is technically naughty for stealing that mail truck in the first place, and Potty agrees with him.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: It's a SpongeBob Christmas!
- SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 8th Season
- SpongeBob SquarePants: It's a SpongeBob Christmas!
- In the CBS airing of the special, Patchy's scenes were cut out. This was most likely done for time constraints on the network.
- Merry Nickmas (another Christmas production featuring the SpongeBob characters in stop-motion animation)
- "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom" (another SpongeBob episode produced in stop-motion)
- Official website
- Encyclopedia SpongeBobia: It's a SpongeBob Christmas!
- Christmas Specials Wiki: It's a SpongeBob Christmas!
- "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" at the Internet Movie Database