- Holidays and Celebrations
Muppet Christmas Specials
A Complete List Of Muppet Christmas Specials
The Muppets have appeared in a number of Christmas specials over the years, and I can't think of a better way to spend my holiday season than watching at least a few of these Muppet Christmas specials. Some are feature films, but most of them were made for television. Some you may know by heart, and others are obscure enough you may never have heard of them!
Let's take a look at all of the Muppet Christmas specials that have been produced, shall we?
Photo featured is from the DVD packaging of "A Muppet Family Christmas" which you can read more about here.
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas - First Aired On HBO In 1977, ABC Debut - December 15, 1980.
Believe it or not, the first Christmas special produced by Jim Henson studios did not feature any of the famous Muppets you normally think of. It did originally have Kermit the Frog make an appearance in an attempt to bridge this gap, but his scenes have been cut out of more recent airings and video releases due to legalities.
"Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" is based on the book by by Russell Hoban. The story centers around Emmet Otter and his desire to enter the local talent show so he can buy a nice gift for his mama. At the same time, she plans to enter as well so she can buy him a gift. The story will remind you of O Henry's short story, "The Gift Of The Magi," which you can read for free online here.
I previously discussed the greatness of "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" on mypage discussing under-appreciated Christmas specials.
Clips From Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street - First Aired On December 3, 1978 On PBS
The next Muppet Christmas special to air was "Christmas Eve On Sesame Street" which also had a plot involving Bert and Ernie inspired by "The Gift Of The Magi". It also involved major crises like confirming that Santa can still deliver gifts if your chimney is on the narrow side. It also features a performance by Jose Feliciano of "Feliz Navidad" and more importantly, Oscar the Grouch's classic "I Hate Christmas".
"Christmas Eve On Sesame Street" won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program in 1979.
Opening Scenes From Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
Are Muppet Christmas Specials Part Of Your Holiday Traditions?
Do You Watch Any Muppet Christmas Specials During The Holidays?
John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together - Originally aired December 5, 1979 On ABC
This is the first special with singer/songwriter John Denver hanging out with our Muppet friends. The special featured many classic Muppet Christmas songs, including "The 12 Days Of Christmas" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas". The actual television special is hard to come by, but the soundtrack is usually around.
Rocky Mountain Holiday with John Denver and the Muppets - Aired In 1983
I missed this Muppet Christmas special. John Denver decides to go camping in Colorado with the Muppets and hilarity ensues. Oddly, the soundtrack is lacking in traditional Christmas music or anything resembling Christmas music. The music is much more akin to the sort of songs you would sing around a campfire, which makes sense for a camping trip, I suppose.
Highlights From The Muppet Christmas Specials With John Denver
Muppet Plush Dolls - Perfect For Snuggles!
The Christmas Toy - Aired On December 6, 1986 On ABC
This is another Muppet Christmas special with the Muppet celebs AWOL. Just as in "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas", Kermit the Frog was enlisted to introduce the program, and subsequently saw his appearance end up on the cutting room floor. This Christmas special centers on a toy named Rugby the Tiger who, much like Woody from "Toy Story", is the favorite toy and dreading the possibility of being replaced by a new favorite toy.
Muppet Family Christmas - Aired On December 16, 1987 On ABC
This is my all-time favorite Muppet Christmas special. It is a crime that this Christmas special does not air annually on television. It is a bigger crime that it is as difficult to find on DVD because it is out of print. It makes up for the lack of the well-known Muppets in previous Christmas specials by literally having all of them show up. It marked the first time the Muppet casts of Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock appeared in the same show. Jim Henson makes a cameo, too!
What, you want to know about the plot? Oh, yeah - Fozzie Bear decides to bring some of his Muppet friends home to see his mother, unaware she plans to spend Christmas in sunny Malibu. She even rented her house for the holidays to Doc and Sprocket from Fraggle Rock. Before you know it, a snowstorm hits and things go wild Muppet style.
Clips From A Muppet Family Christmas
The Muppet Christmas Carol - Theatrical Film Released In 1992
This is one of my favorite screen versions of the classic Charles Dickens story, "A Christmas Carol". Surprisingly, in spite of the expected Muppet craziness, it remains very true to the original story with many passages from the book told verbatim by Gonzo in the role of Charles Dickens. Scrooge is played by Michael Caine. There are a number of great songs featured in this Christmas movie, including "Thankful Heart" and "When Love Is Gone".
This was also the first Muppet production following the death of Jim Henson.
Clips From The Muppet Christmas Carol
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree - Originally Aired In 1995
This Muppet Christmas special is based on the book "Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree" by by Robert Barry. No well-known Muppets, but a few very well-known humans do star -- Robert Downey, Jr., Leslie Nielsen, and Stockard Channing, to be precise. The story follows a family of mice looking for the perfect Christmas tree to live in, only to end up in the tree Mr. Willowby has claimed as his Christmas tree.
Elmo Saves Christmas - Aired In 1996 On PBS
I guess there was something to the fear on Sesame Street that Santa could have issues with their narrow chimneys. In "Elmo Saves Christmas", Elmo is awakened to the terrifying sight of Santa stuck in his chimney! He saves Christmas by rescuing Santa, of course...but that's not all. You'll have to watch it to see what else happened!
It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie - Television Movie Aired On November 29, 2002 On NBC
This Muppet Christmas special is based on the classic Christmas film, "It's A Wonderful Life". Kermit the Frog feels useless as the Muppet Theater is struggling. He is shown how different things would be if he wasn't around by his guardian angel, played by David Arquette. There are a number of appearances by NBC stars at the time, including the cast of "Scrubs" and Joe Rogan for a "Fear Factor" segment.
Clips From It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
Elmo's Christmas Countdown - Aired On December 23, 2007 On ABC
That Elmo once again has to save Christmas on Sesame Street! Somehow, word is that Oscar The Grouch has the most Christmas joy on the street, which doesn't make much sense for someone with the name "grouch". With that as the best Christmas-ness level, imagine the work for Elmo to prove the true level of Christmas spirit on Sesame Street.
A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa - Originally Aired On December 17, 2008 On NBC
The Muppets are trying to get their letters to Santa, and wait until the last possible minute. They attempt to get their mail sent from the nearby post office, only to return home and find they ended up with other kids' letters to Santa, including their neighbor Claire. Needless to say, they have no choice but to attempt to rectify the situation by traveling up to the North Pole to deliver the letters directly to the man himself.
This is the last Muppet Christmas special produced to date, and features Jane Krakowski, Uma Thurman, Jesse L. Martin, Nathan Lane, and Paul Williams. Williams also wrote the original songs featured in this Muppet Christmas special, too.