The Muppets have always been a large part of our Christmases. I couldn’t tell you what I got for Christmas my first year’s of life, but I remember sitting my Muppet stuffed animals up on the couch as Mom, Dad, and I decorated the Christmas tree, listening to the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album. In first grade, my mom stayed up all night long so that I would have Christmas cookies of Kermit with a Santa hat on to take to the class Christmas party. She carved the hats on the dough pressed with the Kermit head cutter. She didn’t throw the icing on either. Every color was put on carefully with her canvas pastry bags and a star tip. Mom paid close attention to details had had all twenty something cookies looking like they came from Miss Piggy’s kitchen.
Christmas would not be the same without the Muppets, just like it would not be the same for some people if they didn’t go stand in line to shop really early on the day after Thanksgiving, or watch “Rudolph,” or listen to Bing Crosby singing “Mele Kaliki Maka.”
I wanted to share some of my absolute “Favorite Muppet Christmas Things” with you. I mean, if Oprah can have have her “Favorite Things,” so can I.
Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas is a heartwarming love story of a mother and son and their sacrifice in order to give the other a good Christmas. This is a clever and cute re-telling of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” The characters are lovable, brought to life by Jim Henson’s band of artists and puppeteers. The music is great, written by Paul Williams, who also wrote the Academy Award nominated songs for “The Muppet Movie.” Out of all the Muppet Christmas shows/movies, this is by far the best “story.” As a side note, Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas is so good, it has been made into a musical, featuring live actors and Muppets made by the Jim Henson Company. Pick up a copy of the movie with a cool behind the scenes look at Wal-mart for about $10.
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is the oldest (pre-Elmo) but best of the Sesame Street Christmas specials. Hey, it features Muppets on ice skates…and the interaction between Grover and the kids is hilarious. Check out amazon.com.
The most fun Muppet special for me is A Muppet Family Christmas. This features Muppets from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock, celebrating Christmas together at Fozzie Bear’s mom’s house. There’s even a cameo by the late, great genius, Jim Henson. Sadly, the DVD is no longer in print. Thanks to youtube you can still enjoy this holiday treat.
Before Pixar’s Toy Story, there was Jim Henson’s The Christmas Toy. I’ve seen this at Wal-mart.
Oh no! Not another take of Dickens’ story. Oh yeah! This version injects the Muppets’ heart and humor into this classic. The Muppet Christmas Carol also has wonderful music by Paul Williams. Pick up the DVD and the CD of this one. This DVD is easy to find at all major retailers during the holidays.
John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together has some of my favorite Christmas song selections on it like “Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” It even has Dr. Teeth, Animal, and the Electric Mayhem singing the Beach Boys’ classic, “Little Saint Nick.” Some people want to hear Elvis or Bing or Dean at Christmas, but I’ll be listening to John Denver and Rowlf the Dog.
Their newest Christmas CD, The Muppets A Green and Red Christmas, won a Grammy for “Best Musical Album for Children” this past year. It’s fun. While some of the voices are different than from my childhood, it’s still the same Muppet fun. Check it out and get it as a stocking stuffer.
The Muppets are not just funny characters and TV icons, they represent my childhood and Christmases past. Now that our family has expanded, I’m glad I can share some of my “Favorite Things” about Christmas with my two little boys as we make new Christmas memories, laughing with Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and the gang.