As you may be well aware, the Muppets were recently part of the new Cee Lo Green Christmas song, “All I Need is Love.” Overall, I found it to be an underwhelming song (though the music video is pretty darn cute), and it really only managed to get “Mahna Mahna” stuck in my head on a continuous loop. However, it did get me thinking about my personal favorite Muppet Christmas music that’s already out there, which I really enjoy listening to at this time of year. With that, I set out on the mission of compiling a playlist of Christmas music, featuring – who else? – the Muppets, that I think does the best job capturing the holiday spirit. I promptly came up with fourteen songs that I think do a particularly wonderful job encapsulating a good dose of holiday cheer in their lyrics and melodies.
14) Everyone Matters – It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
I was uncertain if this song should make it onto the list. Not because of the fact that I’m not really a fan of A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (I actually think this song is the highpoint of the entire special), it’s just that this song doesn’t sound very Christmasy. Seriously, they could replace the word “Christmas” with just about any other holiday and it would work (well, okay, maybe the line “on the most miserable Arbor Day of my life” wouldn’t carry the same weight, but you get the point). In the end, I decided to include it on my list, because it has such a nice message behind it. For some people, the holiday season can be hard, whether you’re on your own or going through a rough period of time. Either way, it’s easy to feel insignificant around this this me of year, which is where this song comes in. It’s a nice reminder that no matter how “small and useless, ambiguous and clueless” you might feel around the holidays, you still matter. Kermit said so, so it has to be true.
(Plus, okay, I may be totally biased about this song due to the fact Gonzo sings it.)
13) Twelve Days of Christmas – A Christmas Together
A classic that cannot be passed up. You really can’t go wrong when you throw John Denver and the Muppets in adorable Christmas clothing.
12) My Best Christmas Yet – A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
I realize most people aren’t exactly fond of Letters to Santa, so I’m treading on delicate territory here as I’m part of the small community who absolutely loves that Christmas special. However, I don’t think it can be denied that the soundtrack is especially catchy and has some really nice, Christmasy tunes on it.
This song is about the ending of another year filled with “beautiful endings we’ll never forget”, and how the coming together with family and friends makes for a joyous Christmas. I think it’s a lovely song, and a nice ending number for the special. (Also, I can’t be the only one who is convinced that the way they sing “my best Christmas” is intentionally supposed to sound like “Muppet Christmas.”)
11) The Peace Carol – A Christmas Together
There’s a lot of beauty in this song. The combination of John and Richard’s voices is lovely, and while a tad more religious than most other Muppet Christmas songs, it’s a wonderful song all together.
10) It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – A Red and Green Christmas
I have a soft spot for this song, seeing as I can never turn down a Gonzo-Rizzo duet (again, I am Gonzo biased). It’s just a really fun rendition of a classic Christmas song, and you get to hear Gonzo and Rizzo argue about food. That’s Christmasy, right?
9) Thankful Heart – The Muppet Christmas Carol
With Scrooge’s realization of the importance of Christmas, we are thereby given the message of every single version of Christmas Carol out there. It’s all about being thankful for what you have and appreciating the people around you (and coming to terms with the fact that Christmas is an awesome holiday). While Michael Caine’s singing voice may not be as fine as his acting, it’s truly a sweet song and puts a skip in your steps.
8) The Christmas Wish – A Christmas Together
This has quickly become my favorite Christmas song to listen to this particular holiday season. I think the message behind the lyrics is beautiful: “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.”
It’s all right there in the first verse of the song. This time of year is about accepting people for who they are, not for what they personally believe in, and that we as a people “come together” for “a time to put all differences aside.” I think this is generally an overarching theme seen in a lot of Muppet productions – the notion that everyone is different, but hey, that’s cool.
Is there anything more fun than blasting this song every Christmas Eve and tormenting your family as you refuse to stop playing it on repeat? Probably not. It really is the perfect tune to get you excited for the following day, and it’s also a pretty swell sum up of how Christmas Eve can make us feel. “There’s something in the wind today that’s good for everyone. Yes, faith is in our hearts today, we’re shinin’ like the sun. And everyone can feel it, the feelin’s runnin’ deep, after all there’s only one more sleep ’til Christmas.”
I also like to take into consideration that this was most likely Steve’s first big musical number as Kermit. While I think Steve’s performance of the character has come miles in the last twenty-two years, it’s clear that he put so much heart into this song back when he recorded it. A wonderful performance by a wonderful performer.
6) I Believe – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Don’t remember this song? That’s okay, cause I sure do! I don’t know if this song should technically qualify for the list since it’s not from an actual Muppet film/special, but whatever, I love it and I’m putting it on the list, so there’s no stopping me now. This song was featured in 2008 during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and contains Kermit (and a mob of poorly choreographed children) singing about leaving “doubt behind” during this time of year and believing in Santa. Needless to say, it’s a sweet song. It’s about the importance of Santa Claus; the reason we have him and why we need him. Santa represents belief, love, and miracles, which sets the tone for the Christmas season for many of us.
There is a different version of “I Believe” sung by Kermit and Tiffany Thornton (yeah, I have no idea who she is either), but I personally prefer the Macy’s Parade rendition. Though, that might just be me projecting jealousy on the fact that Kermit sang with some blonde twenty-something year old girl who isn’t me. (How could you, Kermit?!)
5) Carol Sing – A Muppet Family Christmas
If you can get your hands on an audio version of this song, do it! The Muppets essentially hit every important Christmas song that existed by the mid 80’s in under ten minutes. Christmas music is wonderful at this time of year, no doubt, but there’s just something so much more special when your favorite Christmas song is sung by a Muppet (this song is pretty much the only time I don’t find “Good King Wenceslas” to be the most dull Christmas song in existence).
Muppet Family Christmas is considered one of the best Muppet productions out there, and for good reasons. Not only does it bring together the Muppets, Sesame gang, and Fraggles, but it’s chalk full of wonderful gags, fun musical numbers, and sweet moments. The “Carol Sing” highlights almost every character nicely, seeing as just about everyone gets a bit to sing, and emphasizes how they’ve all come together to spend the holidays with one another. I dare you to tell me you don’t tear up a bit when Fozzie and Ma Bear sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” I DARE YOU.
4) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – A Christmas Together // A Red and Green Christmas
I really can’t choose a favorite on this one, because I am crazy in love with both of these renditions. I guess if I had to choose one, I’d have to go with Rowlf and John’s rendition, seeing as there’s something so sentimental about John and Jim (who both passed on when they were fifty-three) singing together. However, the Kermit version on the Red and Green Christmas album is hands down one of my favorite tracks, and warms my heart to listen to each year. In my honest opinion? Get both songs.
3) It Feels Like Christmas – The Muppet Christmas Carol
If you claim there is a more Christmas love-inducing song out there, you are a liar. This song will put just about anyone in the holiday spirit, with lyrics such as: “It is the season of the heart, a special time of caring, the ways of love made clear. It is the season of the spirit, the message if we hear it is ‘make it last all year.’” It’s no wonder Scrooge’s opinions on Christmas take a total 180 after this song plays in the film!
2) I Wish I Could be Santa Claus – A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
Much like the song “I Believe”, I think this song does a lovely job of summing up the importance of Santa Claus; however, where “I Believe” summarizes why the jolly fat man is essential as an icon of Christmas, “I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus” explains how we as a people are responsible for the message of Santa Claus. The song focuses on Gonzo’s want to fulfill a friend’s Christmas wish, which is the reason he yearns to take on the roll of Santa. Then, by the end of the song, he comes to the realization: maybe the actual man isn’t as important as the idea of what he’s supposed to represent every December. As the last verse so nicely summarizes: “I wish we could be Santa Claus, perhaps we can. The job’s about the giving, not the suit, and not the man. It’s all about the caring and the part that we must play, in spreading joy, and peace on earth, and love on Christmas day.”
As already stated, I’m plum crazy for the Letters to Santa soundtrack, and I find this song so sweet, while managing to capture the essence of the holiday season in a nostalgic way. I think it speaks volume to all of us who are a bit older but still love finding the joy in Christmas. While Santa and receiving gifts are nice, we see how “love is the message of the season” and Santa is, if anything, a vehicle for that ideal. Plus, come on, a Gonzo-Fozzie duet? How can you resist that? (*cough*Gonzobiased*cough*)
1) Bless Us All – The Muppet Christmas Carol
Well this is it, folks. The crème de la crème of all the Muppet Christmas music out there. To me, this song is Christmas. It depicts the importance of coming together with “the loving family [we] hold dear”, be they your actual family or your closest friends, and being thankful for the gift of life. It’s also a nice reminder that, even though Christmas comes once a year, we should be thankful consistently for what we have, because “every day’s a gift”.
Not to mention this song showcases the wonderful singing abilities of the late Jerry Nelson, which I think emphasizes this particular holiday season that we should be grateful for the time we’re given and the people in our lives. It’s pretty hard to disagree when you’ve got the cutest frog in the history of television and film delivering the message to us, am I right?
Click here to sing some Christmas carols over on the ToughPigs forum!
by Julia Gaskill