The following confession of my holiday music preferences is indefensible. But I’m going to make a plea to that all-forgiving reservoir of sentimentality and nostalgia that defines the month of December. I pray that you won’t be completely disgusted when I place the following five words together in the same breath and give it a proverbial thumbs-up: John Denver and the Muppets.
Yes, any collaboration between these two parties is a conceptual nightmare. Yes, a Christmas album would be the pinnacle, the quintessence of such doomed endeavors. But family tradition has fated me to an abiding affection for the album A Christmas Together by John Denver and the Muppets. It’s my own personal Festivus, but without the feats of strength.
I have no delusions about this album exemplifying some kind of esoteric artistic complexity to which the musical community at large is not privy. It is exactly what it sounds like — late 70s ephemera in which Miss Piggy grunts her way through “Christmas is Coming” and the whole of Jim Henson’s creation accompanies Denver on acoustic guitar through “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” At best, it can be enjoyed ironically.
But I enjoy it more than ironically. I could wax schmaltzy about why, but I don’t want to do that to you, assuming you hadn’t already stopped reading by the end of the first paragraph. Suffice to say that the music is inseparable from memories that have taken on the polish and glow of a decade’s distance.