This year, when Santa Claus reviews kids' holiday wish lists, he'll find more than just the usual pleas for Sony PlayStations. The DVD release of Jim Henson's 1977 classic, Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, means the honky-tonkin' puppets known as the Riverbottom Gang also will be in high demand.

"Comparing perennial to perennial, Emmet has the longer life," offers Michael Polis, senior VP of marketing at Jim Henson Co. "Every holiday season, you'll end up seeing Emmet Otter in some form, which helps to boost the franchise."

Jugband follows the down-on-their-luck Otter clan, who sacrifice in hopes of making their holiday a little merrier: Musician Emmet ruins Ma's washtub to make a washtub bass, while Ma hocks Emmet's tools to buy a pretty frock — each is secretly scheming to win their local talent show and use the prize money to buy the other a "real Christmas gift."

Though this DVD's light on the customary bonuses, we are assured that Emmet's whiskers look sharper than ever — and that his hand-clapping "Barbecue" song sounds like it was hit with a splash of Tabasco! Says Polis: "It's a fun family story, and a great addition to anyone's library."

There is one more bragging factor worth mentioning: The festive Otters seem able to compel even the most macho men to break into a cheery jig. "Just last week," chuckles Polis, "I was on a movie set, and all the crew guys — like out of nowhere! — began singing the Jugband music." That sight alone is worth plugging three holes in a washtub!