The Muppets Christmas Toy
1999 VHS cover to the special.
Written byLaura Phillips
Directed byEric Till
StarringDave Goelz
Steve Whitmire
Kathryn Mullen
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
Camille Bonora
Steve Nallon
Music byJeff Moss
Dick Lieb
Country of originUnited States
United kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerDiana Birkenfield
ProducersJim Henson
Martin G. Baker
Production locationToronto
EditorGeoff Craigen
Running time50 minutes
Production companyHenson Associates
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original release
  • December 6, 1986 (1986-12-06) (US)
  • December 18, 1993 (1993-12-18) (UK)

The Christmas Toy is a 1986 television film, directed by Eric Till and produced by The Jim Henson Company, featuring Jim Henson's Muppets, including Rugby the Tiger who remembers how he was the Christmas Toy last year, and thinks he is going to be unwrapped again this year. The film, which originally aired on December 6, 1986 on ABC, was sponsored by Kraft Foods.[1]

Originally introduced by Kermit The Frog, it was released on VHS format in 1993. In 2008, HIT Entertainment (distributed by Lionsgate) released the special on DVD, but edited out Kermit's opening introduction due to legal issues with Disney. The plot of the film and many of the characters bear a striking resemblance to those of Disney's Toy Story film franchise, released nine years later in 1995.[2]

The film later inspired a spin-off television series called Secret Life of Toys.[3]


When no people are around, the toys still play in the playroom. But since a toy will be frozen forever if a person catches it out of position, they have to be very careful. It's Christmas Eve, and Rugby the Tiger remembers how he was the favorite Christmas toy last year and wants to be the favorite again this year, not be replaced by another toy. However, he does not realize that if Jamie unwrapped him again this year, she would see him out of his normal place that she usually puts him and he'd be frozen forever. Mew, the cat's toy mouse, follows him out of the playroom to help him after informing the other toys that Rugby left.

Meanwhile, Apple the Doll, whom Rugby supplanted as favorite toy, leads a group of toys out of the playroom to rescue Rugby. Once they meet up with him in the living room, Apple tries to tell him what Christmas is really about. But Rugby refuses to believe her, and tries to get into the Christmas package and lets loose Meteora, Queen of the Asteroids, who does not know she is a toy, and thinks she has landed among aliens. The other toys must get Rugby out of the box and Meteora back in it before they are found and frozen forever.

But Mew is caught, and frozen. Only then does Rugby realize what a good friend Mew has been to him, and how selfishly he has been acting. Rugby sings, telling Mew how much he cares for him. This brings Mew back to life, and then the other toys also know how to revive their other frozen friends.[4]

On the morning of Christmas Day, Jamie and Jessie enjoy their new toys alongside their current toys. While the kids are away, the toys sing "Together at Christmas." Kermit joins in at the end of the special.

Featured cast

Actor Role
Marsha Moreau Jamie
Zachary Bennett Jesse
Jane Fisher and Susan Hart Natalie the Cowgirl Doll
Diana Birkenfield Mom

Muppet performers

Actor Role
Dave Goelz and Ian Allen Rugby Tiger, Ditz (played by John Thirtle)
Steve Whitmire and Nigel Plaskitt Mew (played by Heather Tobias), Dauntless Dragon
Kathryn Mullen and Louise Gold Apple
Jerry Nelson and Steve Nallon Balthazar
Richard Hunt and John Thirtle Belmont
Camille Bonora and Heather Tobias Meteora, Molly (voice)
Brian Henson and Francis Wright Cruiser
Rob Mills Bleep
Nikki Tilroe and Sue Dacre Ding-a-ling
Jim Henson Jack-in-the-Box (played by John Thirtle), Kermit the Frog (uncredited)


  1. ^ "A Sleighful Of Christmas Specials". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  2. ^ Mike (2011-12-04). "The Christmas Toy Story?". Mike Wilton. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  3. ^ "TV REVIEWS : Muppets Come to Life in 'Toys'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  4. ^ The Christmas Toy presents the darkest holiday of Jim Henson's career The AV Club retrieved 2014-11-15