I heart almost all Christmas movies, but far and away the best is The Muppet Christmas Carol. A few weeks ago, when my sister came over for a day of cookie-baking and movies, she asked me, "Why do you like the muppets so much?" My flip response was "I don't understand why you even have to ask that."
But then I kept thinking about it. What is it that so appeals to me?
Well, just like with any truly great children's book, the Muppets work on multiple levels. There's the humor of these funny-looking puppets. The humor of juxtaposing fuzzy, funny puppets saying very dry or serious things. The humor of them saying the obviously funny joke. They're both silly and smart. They don't take themselves seriously but they also don't dumb themselves down.
They teach things without being "Educational." Think about how much information you learn about Dickens by what Gonzo and Rizzo talk about. Yet it never feels like a lesson. There are rewards for people who already know about Dickens, too--like in the opening song when one of the mice says, "Please, sir, I want some cheese."
And there's the lovely Christmas message, of course, to the Muppet Christmas Carol--that life is about the people you share with. Our friends and family are what give everything we do meaning. And on that note, I'm off to join my family in eating as many cookies as possible before sugar shock sets in.