This is one of those great overlooked classics, it was never popular, but should not be missed. Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is based on the book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, authors of the Frances books. The story is classic, very similar in many ways to O Henry's classic Gift of the Magi. The movie rendition is from 1977, and features creations from the imagination of Jim Henson.
The simplicity of the story is the greatest beauty of it, Ma Otter is struggling to give her son Emmet what he wants for Christmas. She makes many sacrifices to raise him well, and give him what he needs. Meanwhile, Emmet is a good son, who does what he can to help his mother, but is sometimes misguided in his efforts. The movies does a great job teaching a few moral lessons without making it obvious or talking down to the intended audience.
The movie is a bit dated, it was made in 1977, and the music reflects that, but that can be easily overlooked due to the quality of the story. With our modren computer animation, the 70's muppets are a bit odd, their strings and wires are very visible, but again, the overall quality prevails.
I loved this book and movie as a kid, but as a mother, I now understand why my mom cried when she read it to us and why she gave the movie to me as a gift. Kids will love the movie, otters are just cute, the antagonists are goofy and loud and the songs are fun. Moms will appreciate the bigger story, and hopefully can use the lessons to discuss the real meaning of Christmas.