Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. And a fat goose means that it’s getting to be that time to shop for presents for your kin. Or if you’re celebrating Hanukkah, it means you’ve got to multiply that by eight. But the question remains: What do you buy for the Muppet fan in your life?
Actually, that’s not the question we’re necessarily asking here. Assuming that most everyone reading this article is a Muppet fan already, we’re asking about what we should make sure is on our wish lists, but we don’t want to sound greedy, so shopping for others it is!
We’ve compiled a handy guide with present ideas for all the gift-receiving Muppet fans out there. Chances are you missed an important book, DVD, toy, t-shirt, or otherwise necessary piece of merchandise, and in the spirit of filling your shelves (and, uh, holiday cheer, I guess), take these awesome Muppety items into consideration before December 25.
Sesame Street Old School v.3
The fact that classic Sesame Street content is available is a Christmas miracle in itself. This set features selections from 1979-1984, which is the era in which I started watching, so naturally it’s the best one. Whether you own volumes 1 and 2 or not, this is a must-have for your shelf.
Hey, remember that Muppet movie that came out last year? Did you make a point to buy the DVD or Blu-Ray when it became available only a few months later? If not, now’s your chance! Relive the Great Muppet Comeback again and again in the comfort of your own home (where no one will be able to hear you belting “Man or Muppet”).
Despite the drama surrounding Elmo these days, the Kevin Clash documentary remains just as inspirational and Muppetational as ever. For anyone who loves Sesame Street, wants to become a puppeteer, or has an overwhelming urge to see Kevin Clash walk past one of those horrible Times Square Elmos, you should nab this one.
Elmo’s Alphabet Challenge
Sesame Workshop releases a lot of DVDs every year, most of which feature recycled content, but this one had an all-new story with almost as many video game gags as Wreck-It Ralph (okay, maybe not that many, but Elmo’s Alphabet Challenge still somehow ended up with more Mario Bros references). It’s a fun stocking stuffer for anyone who wants to see what the current Sesame team can accomplish these days.
Muppet Christmas Carol
Finally, we have a sign that Disney might consider releasing the classic Muppet movies onto Blu-Ray! Muppet Christmas Carol is leading the charge with extra bonus features and crystal-clear quality. Even Scrooge bought one, despite the fact that he’s badly dressed.
A Special Sesame Street Christmas
Want to see some bizarre ’70s Sesame stuff? Of course you do. Everyone should. Buy this terrible/awesome DVD.
Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal
“You know what would be awesome? A print version of Jim’s Red Book.” That’s what we all said, and that’s just about what Karen Falk and the Jim Henson Company gave us. It’s a huge book, chock-full of new stories, artwork, photos, and more surrounding Jim’s life. It’s a gorgeous book, and we hear it’s only the tip of the Henson Archives iceberg. So now we’re all saying, “You know what would be awesome? Volume 2.”
Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet
Do you like Young Adult books? Do you like crude drawings? Do you like books with Muppets in them, no matter what the context? Me too, and that’s why I own the Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet series, the second and third volumes of which came out this year.
Muppet Picture Books
If you’ve visited your local Waldenbooks lately, you may have noticed some new paperback Muppet books on the shelves. Books like “Easter Eggstravaganza” and “Kermit’s Costume Caper”, or YA books like “Presto, Gonzo” and “Fozzie’s Funny Business”. From what we hear, they’re not brilliant, they won’t change your outlook on life, but they are pretty. Of course they are, since some of the books feature artwork by some of our favorite artists: Amy Mebberson and James Silvani! They’re worth the SRP right there!
Memoirs of a Muppets Writer
Muppet and Sesame Street writer Joseph A. Bailey did what we wish everyone who ever worked with the Muppets would do: He wrote it all down. And now his fantastic memoirs are available for purchase! Read all about what it was like to work with the Muppeteers, traveling across the world with Big Bird, and getting to be right in the middle of the most exciting era in Muppet history.
The Muppets: The Four Seasons
The final (hopefully not forever) Muppet Show Comic Book came out, issue by issue, over the past few months, and it’s just as brilliant as the rest of Roger Langridge’s Muppet comic library. The trade collection of “The Four Seasons” was supposed to be in stores by now, but it’s now looking like it will be available by December 16. Which makes it the perfect last-minute gift to complete your collection!
Fraggle Rock Classics
It’s been a while since Archaia has released new Fraggle Rock comics (hey guys, can we haz more??), but they’ve been quietly releasing trades of the old Marvel comics from the mid-1980s. In fact, there are now two trades available for your reading enjoyment! So go get them, and then enjoy them, dangit!
Dark Crystal: Creation Myths
The first volume of Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, which works as a prequel to the film, came out in January of this year. Involvement from the Frouds not only gives it a sense of legitimacy, but it also promises that the book is freaking gorgeous. Volume 2 comes out in January, 2013, so prep for that with the first book under your Christmas tree.
Tale of Sand
We would be remiss not to include Tale of Sand, one of the best Henson products to come out this year. The book, written by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl, is truly visionary, and the art, provided by Ramon Perez, is stunning. If you still don’t own this book, do yourself a favor and skip the “wish list” and buy it today.
Feeling cheap this holiday season? Buy a few Muppet PEZ dispensers for your loved ones! They’ll forgive you once they taste that sweet chalky goodness from Animal’s neck.
Funko Pop figures
Sure, the Funko figures are a little creepy, what with their soulless eyes and all. But they’re neat and bizarre and collectable, so why not treat yourself to a few? Personally, I’m planning on buying a Manha Manha and two Snowths, because they are things that exist and I need them and why are you questioning my methods??
This melty-looking fellow seems to be made for the Muppet fan who’s getting tired of all those Kermit toys that actually look like Kermit. Why not try one that looks like he was accidentally left in the microwave??
Star Wars figures
The newest batch of Star Wars toys is only available at Disney parks. So if you don’t have any friends in Orlando or Anaheim, we’re all best friends on eBay.
Decorate your bedroom with miniature construction workers! Unfortunately, you’ll have to sleep on the couch if there’s a union strike.
This year’s Muppet Hallmark ornament is Fozzie Bear, who tells bad jokes when you press his button (but for some reason, he never actually says “Wocka Wocka”, which is unforgivable). The cherry on top is the spotlight that shines on him every time he has a line, which adds a whole new wave of awesomeness to what could’ve been a very basic ornament. You’re forgiven for the “Wocka” gaffe, Hallmark.
Toys R Us plush
Toys R Us has a new batch of Muppet beanbags and plush dolls, which should be a mainstay in every single toy store everywhere. So if you’ve been denied that special Muppet to cuddle with at night, now’s your chance.
The winners of Threadless’ Sesame Street T-shirt Design Contest have been announced, and I didn’t waste any time in ordering a few of my favorites. The selection is actually really great, with some obscure choices and trendy designs. Some of the winners from their Muppet contest are still available too, so you can pretty much buy an entirely new wardrobe on this website alone.
But that’s not to say there aren’t other websites with just as good a selection! WeLoveFine still has a bunch of Muppet and Sesame designs from their own contests, as well as some kids’ clothes and pajamas. We love WeLoveFine because WeLoveFine loves Muppets.
Cafe Press (Fraggles)
Not to be left out, The Jim Henson Company put their t-shirts in the hands of Cafe Press. Their Fraggle Rock design contest ended with some snazzy winners, and you can buy those designs on shirts, hats, mugs, magnets, and whatever else Cafe Press can laser print onto.
Kinect Sesame Street TV
If you have an XBOX Kinect, this “game” is a must-have. I used “quotation” “marks” because it’s not quite a game, more of an interactive TV viewing experience. You get to play games with the characters throughout episodes of Sesame Street. Or your kid does, I guess. But I’d be the one jumping around with Grover and Elmo if I had this one in my home.
Fraggle and Labyrinth perfume
ToughPigs’ own Julia got the Fraggle Rock perfume as a gift for her birthday a while back, and it sounds like she was mighty happy with it. So if you think there isn’t enough radish aroma in your friend’s life, maybe this is the gift they need.
I’m sure we missed a few things, which is not a bad problem to have, since it means that 2012 spawned more Muppet merchandise than we could recall. And there’s always vintage stuff on eBay, crafty stuff on Etsy, and things stolen from my living room (please don’t steal anything from my living room!). Happy shopping, Muppet fans!
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com