The Christmas Toy

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's going to be unwrapped again this year. The film, which originally aired on December 6, 1986 on ABC, was sponsored by Kraft Foods.[1]

The Christmas Toy
The Christmas Toy VHS cover
Written byLaura Phillips
Directed byEric Till
StarringDave Goelz
Steve Whitmire
Kathryn Mullen
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
Camille Bonora
Music byJeff Moss
Dick Lieb
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Diana Birkenfield
Producer(s)Jim Henson
Martin G. Baker
Production location(s)Toronto
Editor(s)Geoff Craigen
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Henson Associates
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original release
  • December 6, 1986 (1986-12-06)

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 film later inspired a spin-off television series called Secret Life of Toys.[2]


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, as not to be replaced by another toy. However, he doesn't stop to think that if Jamie unwrapped him again this year, she'd 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 won't believe her, and tries to get into the Christmas package and lets Meteora, Queen of the Asteroids loose. Unfortunately, she doesn't know she's a toy, and thinks she's landed among aliens. And it's up to the other toys to get Rugby out of the box and Meteora back in it before they're 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.[3]

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.

Actor Role
Marsha Moreau Jamie
Zachary Bennett Jesse

Muppet performers

Actor Role
Dave Goelz Rugby Tiger, Ditz
Steve Whitmire Mew, Dauntless Dragon
Kathryn Mullen Apple
Jerry Nelson Balthazar
Richard Hunt Belmont
Camille Bonora Meteora, Molly (voice)
Brian Henson Cruiser
Rob Mills Bleep
Nikki Tilroe Ding-a-ling
Jim Henson Jack-in-the-Box, Kermit the Frog (uncredited)


  1. "A Sleighful Of Christmas Specials". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  2. "TV REVIEWS : Muppets Come to Life in 'Toys'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  3. The Christmas Toy presents the darkest holiday of Jim Henson's career The AV Club retrieved 2014-11-15
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