Ryan Dosier – I know what you’re thinking, “A list of things? That’s Michael Wermuth, Jr.’s territory!” Well, that’s true… but we’ve got nothing else to use for a post today, and it’s almost Christmas, and I felt the need to list some of my personal favorite Muppet Christmas songs! These span from various Muppet Christmas productions (Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, A Muppet Family Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Letters to Santa) to Muppet Christmas albums (John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, Green and Red Christmas, Merry Christmas from Sesame Street), and other places! So get your music ready, and prepare to have a listen to these wonderful Muppet Christmas favorites!
12. “My Best Christmas Yet,” The Muppets, A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
Say what you will about this 2008 special, but I just love this song. It’s Paul Williams, it’s Muppets, it’s Christmas… it’s hard to go wrong. The Muppet-filled finale gives us solo verses from the likes of Rowlf and Robin the Frog, the latter of which had not been heard since It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. But aside from that, this song stands on its own as fun both lyrically and tunefully. Kermit and Gonzo leading the vocals works brilliantly and showcases the wonderful voices of Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz. What I love is all the little side-plots going on during this song: Swedish Chef revealing to the turkey that he made a tofu turkey for dinner, Zoot lighting a menorah, Fozzie giving Clare and Clare’s mom Christmas sweaters, rats in stockings, Bunsen dancing with Beaker… everywhere you look is fantastic Muppet mayhem.
11. “Everyone Matters,” Kermit the Frog and Gonzo the Great, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
Another showcase for the beautiful vocals of Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz, this song is the obvious emotional highlight of It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie for me. Yes, Kermit returning to the theater is fantastic, but nothing can top this beautifully sad, yet eventually uplifting song. The imagery of a down-trodden Gonzo singing with Kermit on a park bench is great. The message and lyrics and everything about this song is moving… “If only I could go back/and take another crack at/all the things I’ve left undone/I’d do them right” is such a great lyric, and speaks to us all in different ways. It’s a crying shame that this song lost when it was nominated for an Emmy… I’ll forgive, but only because it’s Christmas.
10. “Merry Christmas Baby,” Pepe the King Prawn, The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas Album
I believe this marks Pepe’s first solo song ever, and it came on this great album released way back in 2006. Honestly, who knew Pepe could sing this well? I guess anyone that knows how unbelievably talented Bill Barretta is would realize that. This song is catchy, fun, and unbelievably well-performed and suited perfectly for Pepe, who joins the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Ray Charles, who also performed this song. I’m such a fan of this that I listen to it even when it’s not Christmas, just for Pepe’s fantastic vocals. Besides, how often do you get to hear Pepe call out to Zoot for a rockin’ sax solo?
9. “Little Saint Nick,” Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together Album
One of the Electric Mayhem’s greatest performances is this Christmas classic from the Beach Boys. Dr. Teeth and Janice’s leading vocals have never been better, and Floyd’s repetitive back up singing is perfection. This song more than almost any other just sounds like Jim, Frank, Jerry, Richard, and Dave were having a ton of fun. I had a hard time choosing between this song and “Jingle Bell Rock” from A Muppet Family Christmas for my favorite Electric Mayhem Christmas song… but “Little Saint Nick” just barely wins out for having more Floyd. I love me some Floyd Pepper.
8. “True Blue Miracle,” The Sesame Street Cast, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
There are so many great songs and performances in this near-perfect Sesame special (and this isn’t the only one you’ll find on this list), it’s impossible not to include some of them on any list of the greatest Muppet Christmas moments. This song performed by Bob, Olivia, Gordon, Susan, Maria, Luis, Mr. Hooper, David, Bert, Ernie, The Count, and more classic Sesame Street favorites is absolutely beautiful. You would really be hard-pressed to find a song that sings the beauty of the Christmas season better than this. Lyrics like, “Once a year, the street I live on sparkles like the sky–all hung with lights for Christmas!” make this song stand out as one of the true greats. And if that isn’t a true blue miracle, I don’t know what one is.
7. “It Feels Like Christmas,” The Ghost of Christmas Present and The Muppets, The Muppet Christmas Carol
It is so unbelievably hard to pick out just a few great songs from The Muppet Christmas Carol. Let’s face it, they’re all good. “One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas” is a great showcase for Kermit, “Bless Us All” is one of the most beautiful songs ever… but “It Feels Like Christmas” always takes the cake for me. It’s the real show-stopper of the movie, plus it boasts great vocals from Jerry Nelson as the Ghost of Christmas Present. It’s another example of a fun Muppet number that you can’t help but smile during. Also… Michael Caine tries (and fails) to dance at one point. How do you beat that?
6. “The Christmas Wish,” Kermit the Frog, John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together Album
This song is not only one of my favorite Christmas songs ever, but one of my favorite Kermit songs ever. Jim Henson is so perfect here (as he so often was) and Kermit really never sounded better. Everything about this song is beautiful. It’s a song of acceptance, it’s a song of love, it’s a song of peace. When Kermit sings, “I don’t know if you believe in Christmas/or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree/but if you believe in love/that will be more than enough/for you to come and celebrate with me,” he’s telling you and me and all of us that no matter who we are, as long as we love, we’re okay with him. It’s a message on par with any other message Kermit delivers. I love it.
5. “Carol Medley,” The Muppets and the Sesame Street Cast, A Muppet Family Christmas
When choosing a song from A Muppet Family Christmas, it might seem incredibly difficult… but it’s not. The nine minute medley that closes out the special features a million Muppets, a million songs, and shines the spotlight on nearly every main character. It’s amazing how confident Jerry Juhl, Jim Henson, and the rest were in these characters by this point… so confident, that they knew the audience would sit and adore a nearly ten minute medley of songs. The Muppets were really at their peak at this point, and this medley exploits it brilliantly. Whether you have the slightly cut version released on most home video, or the full version from TV broadcast… it really is hard to top this.
4. TIE: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Kermit the Frog, A Green and Red Christmas Album, and Bert and Ernie, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
Yes… it’s a tie on the same song, but anyone who has heard both of these will surely agree with me. It’s impossible to declare either of these versions better than the other. Steve Whitmire’s sweet, calming, and loving voice as Kermit gives me shivers every time I hear it, and Jim Henson and Frank Oz never had a better duet as Ernie and Bert than in the culmination of their “Gift of the Magi” story. It also helps that this song is so perfectly suited for the Muppets that they’ve done it over 15 times (according to Muppet Wiki)… but none of them top the beauty and perfection of Kermit or Bert and Ernie.
3. “Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year),” The Sesame Street Cast, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
Music, lyrics, vocals… all of them come to the forefront in this tour de force of Christmas caroling. Sam Pottle and David Axlerod completely outdid themselves with this perfect piece first debuting on the album Merry Christmas From Sesame Street, and used beautifully–twice–in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. I love the magic of Bob and the kids singing it while doing sign language with Linda, but then the finale version which brings the whole cast together to sing… perfect. Honestly, I think I would love any version of this song… and I’d really like for the Sesame gang to sing it again soon.
2. “When the River Meets the Sea,” Emmet Otter and Ma Otter, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
What is there to say about this Paul Williams song that hasn’t been said before? It’s perfect, it’s beautiful, it’s breath-taking, it’s amazing. Numerous versions of this song have been done, including an exceptional rendition by John Denver and Robin, but none can ever beat the original. Jerry Nelson’s Emmett and Marlyn Sokol’s Alice Otter carry the tune like no one else. This song is also amazing for not pigeon-holing itself as an exclusively Christmas song. You can listen to “When the River Meets the Sea” anytime, anywhere, and still be moved by its beauty. Look for Kermit and Robin to sing the song on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on December 23rd!
1. “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” John Denver and the Muppets, John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together Album
Is anyone surprised by this song being number one? I hope not, because it really doesn’t get better than this. John, Fozzie, Gonzo, Robin, Piggy, Scooter, Lew Zealand, Rowlf, Bunsen, Beaker, Statler, Waldorf, Beauregard, and Kermit sing this song with such gusto and hilarity that it can’t be beat. From Miss Piggy’s hysterical “ba-dum-bum-bum” to Gonzo singing about three French hens, to Lew Zealand singing at all… this is a wonderful piece through and through. Every time this song comes on in the car, I attempt to sing it in the voice of each Muppet… and it ain’t easy. I also love the performance of this that the Muppets did with Jimmy Fallon a few years ago, featuring Sam Eagle, Pepe, Rizzo, and Animal, along with all the others. Hysterical, wonderful, perfectly sung… there is no better Muppet Christmas song… and perhaps no better Christmas song period.
Did your favorite Muppet Christmas song make the list? Tell us yours in the comments below!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org