...but I couldn't miss this one this year
December 23, 2003 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Christmas Wrapping is one of the most enduring (and arguably one of the hippest) Christmas songs of the past twenty years. Though a quintessential keyboard-and-sax driven New Wave tune, the endearing singleton's account of the year in dating on Christmas Eve tops the Christmas charts every year, and has survived reinterpretations by the Spice Girls and Save Ferris. This year, the eclectically-talented Chris Butler reflects on its inception.
posted by pxe2000 (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Off the rare great Christmas LP. And pun as fuc.
posted by liam at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2003

Always in my top three songs of the holiday season...marred only by the knowledge that the wonderful singer, Patty Donahue, passed away in 1996. The song is a bouncy treat, infused with a sense of optimism long before the happy ending.

My other two faves are Andy Williams "Happy Holidays" and the Vince Guaraldi classic "Christmas Time Is Here" from the Peanuts special.
posted by davidmsc at 10:41 AM on December 23, 2003

This is a great song, I listen to it all year long actually and really like the hoppy sound and the nice ending and all that.

Not all Christmas music has to suck, there's plenty of good stuff out there for the Kazaa'ing.

Best Christmas song in my book: Eartha Kitt singing "Santa Baby".
posted by fenriq at 10:54 AM on December 23, 2003

Whoa -- forgot about that one, fenriq...grrr! Hot stuff.
posted by davidmsc at 10:55 AM on December 23, 2003

I've just recently been able to get Lena Lovich's "New Toy" off repeat in my mind... Damn Target commercials.
posted by KnitWit at 10:55 AM on December 23, 2003

Heard Mr. Mojo's Christmas by the Wise Men while tooling around the city this afternoon. It's a Doors takeoff -- imagine a cross between "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "The End" Listen to it here (scroll half-way down).
posted by sixpack at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2003

Ok I'll bite, from the link biography link here it says Patty left the Waitresses in the middle of recording their second album and "Only those close to the situation know the real reasons behind this and it's not my place to comment on them."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Now I'm far more curious than if he'd just said she split during recording and left it at that.
posted by aaronscool at 11:16 AM on December 23, 2003

I was born on Christmas Day, by Saint Etienne always hits the spot for me.
posted by gdav at 11:26 AM on December 23, 2003

"Christmas Wrapping" has always been my favorite christmas song, ever since I was young. No one else I know personally has ever heard of it.

Madonna's version of "Santa Baby' is unforgivably bad.
posted by evinrude at 11:39 AM on December 23, 2003

I think that Waitresses song is my favorite Christmas tune of all time.

I love Everclear's "I Will Be Hating You For Christmas," the hidden track on "So Much For The Afterglow," for obvious reasons.

Jimmy Kimmel's "Christmastime in the LBC" is also a popular in the eyeballkid household this time of year.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2003

This is definitely my favourite XMas track. I love the New Waves/80s vibe.
posted by trillion at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2003

Fairytale of New York is definatly my favorite holiday song this time of year... coming close is Dar Williams Christains and Pagans.

Everclear's is good... as is Blink 182's I Won't be home for Christmas, and of course, The Ramone's Merry Christmans, I don't want to fight
posted by niteHawk at 12:14 PM on December 23, 2003

I always liked "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC. Superfunky Christmas!
posted by pejamo at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2003

can't wait to sit down with Kazaa and this thread tonight.
posted by KnitWit at 12:36 PM on December 23, 2003

i remember playing this song nonstop, a couple years ago. i had no idea it was so old (not that that's a bad thing).

if any of you on kazaa want to hear dashboard confessional actually do a semi-happy song, they have this christmas mp3 floating around... not sure what it's called, but it has the word "gift" in it.
posted by lotsofno at 12:40 PM on December 23, 2003

Madonna's version of "Santa Baby' is unforgivably bad.

Every version of "Santa Baby" I've ever heard is bad: Madonna's, Cindy Laupers and Everclear's.

I made collecting alternative Christmas tunes a hobby of mine back in 2001 and released a two-CD sampler as a card-stuffer holiday gift.

My top five would be (not that this was the point of the thread or anything):
1) The Vandals and/or No Doubt's version of "Oi! To The World"
2) The Eels: "Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas"
3) The Kinks "Father Christmas"
4) James Brown's "Santa Clause, Come Straight To The Ghetto"
5) They Might Be Giants' "We Just Go Nuts At Christmas Time"

A clear argument for filesharing since most of this stuff is off of odd, out-of-print comps or Christmas singles long-vanished.

For meta-meta, former Kottke darlings and synth-pop never were's Barcelona released an excellent Waitresses/Patty Donahue tribute in the form of ZeRo-oNe-INFINITY's "Hanted By The Ghost of Patty".
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:11 PM on December 23, 2003

kitt's santa baby is much preferable to her getting nothing for christmas which is just dreadful, even for a novelty song.

ramsey lewis sound of christmas best christmas album. ever.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:15 PM on December 23, 2003

(shriek) Ogre, that "Father Christmas" song has been buried in my psyche for years -- haven't heard it since ~1988 or so. Thanks!
posted by davidmsc at 1:19 PM on December 23, 2003

Yes. Christmas Wrapping, hurrah!

What a shame about Patty Donahue.

And my very favouritest Xmas record is Snow by the Cocteau Twins (their versions of Frosty the Snowman and Winter Wonderland).
posted by Grangousier at 1:21 PM on December 23, 2003

Son of Santa. Also, please see the appalling "Horny Holidays".
posted by psychoticreaction at 1:22 PM on December 23, 2003

argh! why must you taunt me?! is there any place i can find an mp3 of "haunted by the ghost of patty"?
posted by pxe2000 at 2:00 PM on December 23, 2003

My current favorite is "Plant the Halls" by suddenly, tammy!

Runners-up (besides the ones that have been mentioned already):

Art Carney - "Santa Claus and the Doodle Li Boop"
Jane Siberry - the entire "Child" live album
Gayle Peevey - "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"
Go Home Productions - "Christmas on the Block"
Mark Mothersbaugh's "Joyeux Mutato" album

and for sheer gumption,

Pansy Division - "Homo Christmas"
posted by starkeffect at 2:31 PM on December 23, 2003

Incidentally, Chris Butler holds the Guinness world record for longest pop song (69 minutes), for "The Devil Glitch".
posted by starkeffect at 2:34 PM on December 23, 2003

starkeffect, you are totally right on. I don't know the Art Carney song, I'm definitely going to hunt it down.

My MeFi Christmas playlist:

Hark! by William Orbit aka Torch Song

Little Drummer Boy Grace Jones (on Pee Wee's Xmas special) (with the Salsoul Orchestra pulling in a tight second)

White Christmas by the Ravens

Coventry Carol by 22 Brides

Schoolgirl Psychedelia by Fantastic Everlasting Gobstopper

O Come O Come Emmanuel by Anne Dudley of Art of Noise

Christmas California by Cynthia Dall

Black Christmas by The Emotions

Close Your Mouth by the Free Design

Dasher, With the Light Upon His Tail by Kitty Wells

Nicholas Was . . . by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Christmas Past by Blegvad & Greaves

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Daniel Givens

2010.12.25 by Mansfield

Welcome Christmas by Love Spirals Downwards

Santa Claus Is Comin to Town by Joseph Spence

The Rockefeller Tree by I Am The World Trade Center (a band that predates 9.11, thank you)

Christmas Treat, Peppermint by The Sisterhood

and that doesn't include the big band stuff that I also love
posted by divrsional at 6:46 PM on December 23, 2003

Some of you might enjoy "(LGH) for Christmas" by the Screaming Santas. "LGH" stands for "Let's Get High"... and the lyrics talk about "dropping some frosty windowpane," etc. It's funny but it's also a great power-pop hook. The Santas include members of Northwest power-pop bands the Posies, Tube Top, and SuperDeluxe, and released one mid-90s ep.

Dammit, I need a copy of the Kinks' "Father Christmas" on mp3. I only have vinyl. And the iTunes music store doesn't have it. Do they want to force me to download a free copy?
posted by litlnemo at 7:03 PM on December 23, 2003

"Christmas Wrapping" and the Vince Guaraldi "Charlie Brown" music: Great, great stuff.

But come on folks, how can your holiday favorites list not also include Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, or Bing Crosby??
posted by sassone at 7:20 PM on December 23, 2003

well, sassone, i hear a lot of that when i'm christmas shopping. if i'm listening to a playlist i make, i'd rather not be reminded of the malls.

interesting (note: not bad) that this has become a thread about holiday playlists. you're making me remember good holiday tunage i might otherwise have forgotten.

my list:
christmas time is here"/vince guaraldi
"river"/joni mitchell"
"jesus christ"/big star
"christmas must be tonight"/the band (the fan page has a nice acoustic version of it that you can stream)
"2000 miles"/the pretenders
"christmas wrapping"/the waitresses
"christmas is all around"/billy mack (yes, it's the scrummy bill nighy. no, it's not very good.)
"o holy crap"/strong bad
"a fairytale in new york"/the pogues
"santa claus"/throwing muses
"st. stephen's day murders"/elvis costello and the chieftains
"the carollers' song"/the green pajamas
"icelandic christmas carol"/bjork
"o holy night"/the sheila divine
"have yourself a merry little christmas"/tori amos
"happy new year"/luna
"hark the herald angels sing"/vince guaraldi and the peanuts (with the "MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE BROWN!" intro)

thanks for all the song suggestions...
posted by pxe2000 at 8:04 PM on December 23, 2003

I'll add one thing.
A good source of some "current" bands doing soem pretty decent xmas songs is the annual KROQ Kevin and Bean CDs...
Look for them on eBay if you are not in the LA Area (as I have to do every year)

This year has the Dashboard confessional song on it, as well as Less than Jake doing Nuttin for Christmas which are both pretty good.
posted by niteHawk at 8:05 PM on December 23, 2003

Fairytale in New York. This is THE best Xmas song ever.
And if you disagree ... then you're a scumbag, a maggot, and a cheap lousy faggot.
posted by seanyboy at 4:08 AM on December 24, 2003

My tracklist from a CD I made for my buddy Rick a couple of years back :

Mojo Nixon - Christmas, Christmas
Spinal Tap - Christmas With The Devil
Crash Test Dummies - The First Noel
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Galaxie 500 - Listen, The Snow Is Falling
John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War is over)
Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song
The Payolas - Christmas Is Coming
Pogues & Kirsty McColl - Fairytale of New York
Pretenders - 2000 Miles
Ramones - Merry Christmas
Run DMC - Christmas In Hollis
Booker T. & The MG's - Silver Bells
Squirrel Nut Zippers - Santa Claus is Smoking Reefer
The Drifters - The Chrismas Song
The Kinks - Father Christmas
Tom Waits - Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
Weezer - The Green Album - The Christmas Song (Japan Green Album)
Bob and Doug McKenzie - Twelve Days of Christmas
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 AM on December 24, 2003

Some of which aren't that great, but had meaning for Old Friends. Some of which are truly great, just 'cause they are.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:48 AM on December 24, 2003

CDDB: Merry Bastard Xmas
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:49 AM on December 24, 2003

The Doors themed xmas song up there reminded me of an even
weirder one called We three Bings - I haven't listened to it in a
while but it's a Bing Crosby impersonator, singing xmas lyrics to a
Doors song. (from the "Blame it on Xmas" comp) Highly recommended.

also, from the excellent goth xmas comps of projekt
I recommend "Welcome Christmas" (that's the song that
the whos down in who-ville sing - try it!) by Love Spirals Downwards.

(I used to be on a BBS that was entirely fileswapping of
obscure holiday songs, umm, so if you need any more...)
posted by milovoo at 7:56 AM on December 24, 2003

i was cleaning off my desk this morning and found a cd that i culled together a few years ago merely labelled "anti-xmas." turns out, it's not so anti and much of it is taken from the previously mentioned kevin and bean xmas cds. tracklist:

it was a very good beer - homer simpson
santa claus is smoking reefer - squirrel nut zippers
storytime with bobcat goldthwait
(sure don't feel like) christmas time - the mighty mighty bosstones
run run rudolph - humpers
i will be hating you for christmas - everclear
behind the holiday, Santa Claus - Ralph Garman
fairytale of new york - the pogues
christmastime in the lbc - jimmy kimmel
santa claus and his old lady - cheech and chong
fuck christmas - fear
christmas time for my penis - the vandals
christmas in hollis - run dmc
merry christmas (i don't want to fight) - the ramones
mele kalikimaka - poi dog pondering
river - travis
santa's beard - they might be giants
christmas in february - lou reed
here comes santa's pussy - the frogs
it was a very good year - frank sinatra
snow - grey eye glances
posted by eyeballkid at 6:57 AM on December 25, 2003

they did a great job on the whoville song! thanks!
posted by amberglow at 7:37 AM on December 25, 2003

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