We just can't have Christmas without some villain attempting to spoil the fun, and while Pac-Man saved the holiday back in 1982, which popular pop culture character could possibly step up and do the same in the futuristic world of 1996? Let's see... 1996... post-Mario, pre-Pikachu... ah, it must be Sonic the Hedgehog! When Dr. Robotnik kidnaps Santa Claus and declares himself the new top elf, he changes the rules so that everyone must give him presents instead of the other way around. This will not stand! Sonic and Tails go the extra mile to set things right, and you can learn all about what the history books won't teach you in Platypus Comix's recap of Sonic Christmas Blast.
Then Santa notices that Sonic is now wearing a ring with a weird squiggle on it, which was one of the gifts Sally gave him last year. "I KNOW I've seen that symbol before! It was carved into the caves where I was imprisoned!" They go back to the cave again and Santa reads the rest of the squiggles. "It says anybody who has that ring can unlock the secrets of ULTIMATE VELOCITY! Super speed!" Well, Sonic already has that. What good will this do? Actually it's supposed to be speed even more super than Sonic is normally capable of. Y'know, instead of pulling something like this out of their hats, or worse areas, they could have done a tiny bit of research into the games they're basing the special on, and said Sonic can transform into Super Sonic by collecting a Chaos Emerald. That I'd accept, even if it's deux ex machina, because it's canon. This, however, screams lazy.
Animated material based on a beloved video game character often contradicts the source material in some way, but considering that it's the holiday season I suppose we can find it in our hearts to forgive the company behind this, DIC, for the error. However, I am less forgiving about the company causing Sonic's gaming downfall. Yes, the truth can finally be revealed about the animation division's role in causing just about every subsequent Sonic game to fail to live up to the original Sega Genesis adventures. Behold the terrible truth!
Santa is eternally grateful. "You delivered those presents faster than I ever dreamed! You know...." He rubs his beard in thought. "I've been thinking. Maybe that robot was right. Maybe it IS my time to retire. And I want YOU as my replacement! SONIC CLAUS!" Oh no! Talk him out of it, Sonic! He looks like he's about to, but then he admires himself in the mirror with Santa's hat on, and says "Yeeeah, Sonic Claus!" That is seriously where they fade out. Sonic becomes Santa Claus. And if you think about it, when's the point Sonic games started sucking? About the time this cartoon came out. Since 1996, all our Christmas presents have been delivered by Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sega's been using a subpar lookalike!
Here's hoping that DIC has been finding coal in its stockings ever since. For more on Sonic Christmas Blast (also known as An X-Tremely Sonic Christmas when it was supposed to coincide with the eventually-canceled Sonic X-Treme game) and its place in the animated Sonic universe, check out Animated Toast.