Donald Yetter Gardner
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Gardner wrote the song in 1944 while teaching music at public schools in Smithtown, New York. He asked the class what they wanted for Christmas, and noticed that almost all of them had at least one front tooth missing as they answered in a lisp. Gardner wrote the song in 30 minutes. In a 1995 interview, Gardner said, "I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country."
The song was originally recorded by Spike Jones & His City Slickers on December 6, 1948 (that version reached the top of the charts in early 1949), but also recorded by numerous other singers and performers, including George Strait, The Platters, The Andrews Sisters, Nat King Cole, and the cast of Sesame Street.
Gardner later became a music consultant for a major music publisher in Boston, Ginn & Company, wrote songs for music textbooks, and composed numerous hymns. His published hymns include "Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone but by Every Word of God" and "Oh, Give Thanks Unto the Lord."