We love the holidays here at ToughPigs HQ.  It helps that the Muppets are so heavily intertwined with the holiday, from all of their movies and TV specials to the merchandise to the music.  We each all have our own traditions surrounding Christmas and the Muppets, so we thought we’d share them with you!  This is our Christmas present to you! (So… no real presents.  Sorry.)

Below, you’ll find short descriptions of the holiday/Muppet traditions from most of the regular ToughPigs writers.  Maybe you share a few of these traditions too?  Or maybe you’re looking to pick up a few new ones?  Read on to find out!

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Joe Hennes: My girlfriend Sarah’s birthday falls around Thanksgiving every year, and we always celebrate by watching her favorite movie: The Muppet Christmas Carol.  That’s pretty much the official start of the Christmas season for us.  After that, we decorate our tree, which is practically sagging with the weight of all of our Muppet ornaments.  After that, all bets are off when it comes to Christmas TV viewing.  Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Muppet Family Christmas, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, and a few of the awful ones to balance out the season (like A Special Sesame Street Christmas or Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree).  If I have 90 minutes to spare in December, you’ll likely find me camped out on the couch watching something involving a Muppet wearing a Santa hat.

Elsewhere, my family is likely buying me some Muppet-related items I put on my holiday wish list (or at least I hope they are…), and my father has dressed the giant 5’ tall Swedish Chef doll I gave him as Santa Claus.  At some point during the month, Ryan and I host our annual Christmas-themed Muppet Vault, and we get to share our love of the Muppet holidays with a full audience of people with extremely good taste.

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Anthony Strand: Just last night, my wife Roz and I were discussing how there are now too many Muppet Christmas specials/episodes to watch all of them every year. We spend as much time as possible watching Muppet Christmas stuff, and we try to squeeze in all of the good ones, but there just isn’t time to see everything. At some point, we’ll probably both start taking time off of work just to make sure that we don’t miss out on Elmo’s Christmas Countdown.

But there’s one thing we can always fit in, and that’s Muppet Family Christmas several times. We always watch the special itself, but mostly we listen to the audio. Several years ago, my friend Scott Hanson created audio tracks of the entire special (not just the songs), and in December I always have it queued up in my car. It’s amazing how well MFC works as a radio play – the sound design paints a visual picture, there are brief musical transitions between scenes to keep the listener oriented, and the icy patch has that delightful little slide-whistle sound effect. It’s my constant Christmas companion, and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks again, Scott!

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Matt Wilkie: There aren’t many things I do every year consistently enough to consider them a tradition, per se. But one true, blue joy I have each year comes on Christmas Eve when I pour myself some eggnog and watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. This yearly viewing started out as a family tradition, then evolved into a personal tradition when it became one of the high points during a year of low points when my father was in poor health before he passed away. His favorite part was always Bob surprising Linda with the sign-language-accompanied “Keep Christmas With You,” so I always need a few tissues handy when that scene starts up. Luckily it’s no longer a personal tradition as I’ve begun to share it with my girlfriend, and she’s pretty good at remembering the tissues. And just like any good Muppet fan, my year isn’t complete until I’ve watched The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Family Christmas before the year is up!

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Evan G.: Sadly, there are no feature-length Muppet Hanukkah specials, so instead of just sitting around and imagining Carl the Big Mean Maccabee, I traditionally spend my Muppet holiday season watching Muppet Christmas Carol and listening to the Emmet Otter soundtrack on loop. I also take some time to draw a big Muppet holiday picture every year because that way I can imagine the Muppets sent me a Christmas card.

The most important new addition to my Christmas traditions, however, is the Driving the Bus Dance. This dance was brought to my attention at last year’s Muppet Vault: it is the awkward shaking dance performed by Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present at the end of “It Feels Like Christmas.” Last year, my sister and I staged an elaborate recreation of this dance for no one to watch, and we have promised to repeat it on this and all future Christmases. If you’re considering doing the same, remember to look perplexed and somewhat frightened at first, but then ultimately fairly pleased with the idea of generosity.

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Julia Gaskill: My Christmas season always begins the second Thanksgiving comes to a close, and I feel like I hit all the essentials when it comes to Muppet-fying December. I blast my Muppet Christmas playlist every morning on the way to work, rocking out to all my holiday favorites sung by Kermit and friends. I hang my Fozzie, Gonzo, and Beaker ornaments on the “kid’s tree” at my dad’s house. I rock my Gonzo onesie as often as I can without judgement from the roommates. I make sure to notify my family of what Muppet merchandise I already own and what merch I’d like for Christmas. And of course, I watch every Muppet Christmas movie / production as often as humanly possible.

Last year was my first Christmas spent with my boyfriend Stephen. Muppet Christmas Carol is, hands down, his favorite Christmas film (much to my delight), so of course we watched it last year and are excited to watch it again this year once our work schedules align. Best of all, I found out last year he’d never seen my personal holiday favorite: A Muppet Family Christmas. I immediately amended this by showing him the special, which he loved. Thus has started my tradition of introducing him to one or two Muppet holiday specials he’s never seen before each December. This year it’s gonna be John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. I can’t wait!

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Matthew Soberman: Sure, I like to watch the classic Muppet Christmas stuff as much as the next guy. I wouldn’t go a single yuletide without enjoying Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas or A Muppet Family Christmas. But it’s how I watch my favorites that makes for my tradition. My personal annual holiday celebration comes every year with the Christmas edition of The Muppet Vault. There’s just something special about seeing my favorite Muppet holiday moments in a room full of fans. The reactions are always bigger than they would be at home. What may get a chuckle at home gets a big belly laugh with an audience. (You haven’t seen barometers fall sharply until you’ve seen them in the basement of Brooklyn’s Union Hall.) There’s always an abundant amount of holiday cheer in the crowd. We sing along with our favorite songs. We cheer for our favorite characters. We all do the bus driver dance with Michael Caine. And as A Muppet Family Christmas comes to a close, I always lead the cheering when the magic man with the beard shows up. And I’m not talking about Santa Claus.

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Ryan Roe: We’ve been getting terrific new audio-equipped Muppet Christmas ornaments every year for the last few years, so lately I know the joyous season has begun when I adorn my Christmas tree with a crazed, shaggy drummer who screams and a confused Scandanavian cook who gets held at gunpoint by crustaceans.  That’s what Christmas truly means to me.  When I was a kid, a big part of the holiday season was A Sesame Street Christmas, a delightful book I wrote about on this website a few years ago.  It’s a lovely collection of short stories, poems, and crafts, and since I didn’t have access to Christmas Eve on Sesame Street in those days, it was my primary source of Big Bird-related holiday cheer.

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What are your Muppet holiday traditions??  Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or forum!

Click here to break out the Christmas vinyl on the ToughPigs forum!

by ToughPigs Staff

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