Sunday, December 16, 2012

John Denver and The Muppets

John Denver and The Muppets - A Christmas TogetherThe sounds of the season make Christmas all the more enjoyble, and it seems everyone and anyone has put out a Christmas album at some point.  Elvis, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nsync have all made Christmases more enjoyable over the years. Well, three out of four anyway.

For me, nothing reminds me of early childhood Christmases like The Muppets.  That’s right, the Muppets.  In 1979, the stars aligned as John Denver, along with Kermit, Mrs Piggy and the rest of the Muppet gang collaborated on a Christmas album that has stood the test of time.

The album takes me back to a special place, to a small house where a Kerosene heater warmed the living room, a rotary telephone was fastened to the wall in the kitchen, and music was played by setting a needle onto the grooves of a record as it turned at 33 revolutions per minute.

My sister and I would sing along to this record as we bounced around the room with spirited excitement, feeling the Christmas magic in the air (it may have been the fumes from the kerosene).   Family and friends would stop by and we would welcome them in from the cold, inviting them to sing along as we decorated the tree.

Money was tight and times were tough, but our troubles were forgotten--if only for a night--as we sang along to our favorite Christmas album.  We played it over and over again, as Mom would flip the record when the needle began its rhythmic bumping on the label.  A little bit of heat, The Muppets album, a few neighbors, and we had ourselves a party.

I'd help my mother with the decorations, as she would always save her Christmas cards and use them to decorate the house, I still remember looking through the cards that felt like a lifetime ago in my four year old mind.

Later, as I lay in my bed, too wound to sleep, my sister and I would listen for Santa’s sled up on the roof, singing the songs from the album that were still fresh in our head.  Did you hear that?  My sister would say, and I would try my best to hear the sound of the sleigh on the roof.

Not long ago, at an estate sale just down the street from my house, I was flipping through a crate of dusty albums when sure enough, I came across the familiar cover.  I opened the sleeve, and for a moment I was back in that small house from my childhood, singing songs and decorating the tree.  I held onto the album, unashamed as I walked through the house with my childhood treasure tucked under my arm. I ended up paying two bucks for the record, and as I walked out with the record I couldn't help but wonder if its previous owner enjoyed it as much as I had.

As an expectant father, I can't wait for my son to experience this album, the full experience.  From the crackling sound of a real record, to the timeless songs that I loved as a child. Not to mention the great singing voices of The Muppets. I look forward to enjoying this classic with my son, and hopefully it can spread its magic all over again.  But I'll have to make it clear, if he makes fun of The Muppets he's grounded.


  1. Pete, Kevin loves The Muppets and has shared this love with our girls. Your story here reminds me of Kevin and his feelings about this group of childhood puppets who still to this today put a huge smile on his face and is now as I said huge favorite with my girls, too!! I am sure your sone will love them just as much :)

    1. Thanks Janine, that makes me feel better, I tried to hide my love for the muppets in my twenties, but now in my mid thirties I don't have to try to be cool!

  2. Sigh...I remember listening to these albums over and over as a kid. What fun you guys are going to have!