- This article is about the 1981 animated television special. For other uses, see A Chipmunk Christmas (disambiguation).
The Chipmunks wake Dave to tell him there are just five more days until Christmas. As Dave heads to the studio, the Chipmunks tell Dave they'll go window shopping while he gets the studio ready. Alvin owns an extremely rare harmonica known as the Golden Echo Harmonica, of which only two are known to be in existence. At the department store, Alvin sees the other harmonica on display; then overhears a girl say that her brother Tommy is ill and would appreciate the Golden Echo harmonica. However, the mother says the family is too poor to afford it. Alvin feels so bad about Tommy not getting his Christmas present that he runs to Tommy's house and gives him his own prized harmonica.
He later finds out they are to perform at Carnegie Hall on Christmas Eve and Alvin is to do a harmonica solo! Alvin must buy the other Golden Echo harmonica, which is very expensive. He cannot bring himself to tell Dave that he donated his harmonica before he was scheduled for the solo, so Dave yells at Alvin for only thinking of himself. Simon and Theodore agree to help Alvin get ready for his solo by setting up a station where Alvin pretends to be Santa Claus and charges children to have their pictures with him, but that ends in disaster. That night, Alvin has a dream where he goes to the laboratory of Clyde Crashcup, who tells Alvin he has "invented Christmas". In a throwback to Clyde's zany inventions, Christmas is now revealed to be February 12th, and shows Abraham Lincoln in a hollowed out pumpkin being pulled by four elephants. Alvin tells Clyde he needs money for the Golden Echo harmonica, not goofiness. Meanwhile, Dave decides to talk to Alvin, but when he sees Alvin already asleep and even there yelling in his sleep "I need money!" Dave sighs and gives up.
Two days before Christmas, Theodore and Simon donate some of their cash as Alvin makes a last-ditch effort at the department store, but after Alvin leaves Simon tells Theodore all of Alvin's cash is insufficient. When Alvin goes back to the store, an old lady decides to buy him the harmonica, on the grounds he pay her back with one song. Alvin eagerly does so and draws a crowd, but sees that the old lady, whom he intended the song for, is long gone. Now glad everything is back in joint, Alvin gladly joins the Chipmunks at Carnegie Hall. Alvin is surprised to find Tommy there in perfect health. His parents and sister reveal that the rare gift worked miracles for Tommy, and thank Alvin for his generosity. Dave apologizes to Alvin after he found out the full story, and Tommy joins Alvin on stage where both use their harmonicas to perform a dual instrumental.
At the North Pole, the true Santa Claus asks how it went with Alvin, and his wife is revealed to be the old woman who bought Alvin the Golden Echo harmonica.
- Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. - Alvin Seville, Simon Seville, & David Seville
- Janice Karman - Theodore Seville, Angela Waterford, & Cindy Lou
- June Foray - Mrs. Claus & Mrs. Waterford
- Frank Welker - Santa Claus & Doctor
- Shepard Menken - Clyde Crashcup
- R.J. Williams - Tommy Waterford
- Main article: A Chipmunk Christmas (Soundtrack)
- This was the first time Alvin, Simon, and David Seville were voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. as well as the first time Theodore was voiced by Janice Karman.
- This special was directed by Chuck Jones and aired on NBC.
- The first Bagdasarian in-credit logo.
- The special was adapted into a book of the same name.
- Part of the A Chipmunk Christmas VHS.
- Part of the Christmas With The Chipmunks DVD.
- The special was also included in the Alvin and the Chipmunks: Classic Holiday Gift Set.