Front cover of picture sleeve of 1982 UK reissue
|Single by The Waitresses|
|from the album A Christmas Record|
|B-side||"Christmas Fever" (Charlelie Couture)
"Hangover 1/1/83" (The Waitresses)
|Genre||Christmas, new wave, post-punk|
|Length||4:30 (single edit)
5:18 (LP edit)
|Label||Ze WIP 6763 (1981)
Ze WIP 6821 (1982)
|The Waitresses singles chronology|
"Christmas Wrapping" is a Christmas song by the American new wave band the Waitresses. It was first released on the 1981 compilation album A Christmas Record on ZE Records, and also appears on the Waitresses' 1982 EP I Could Rule the World if I Could only Get the Parts and numerous Christmas holiday compilation albums. It was written and produced by Chris Butler, with vocals by Patty Donahue. The song received positive reviews and AllMusic described it as "one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded."
In 1981 ZE Records asked each of its artists to record a Christmas song for a Christmas compilation album, A Christmas Record. Songwriter Chris Butler wrote the song in August that year, assembling it from assorted unused riffs. He finished the lyrics in a taxi cab on the way to the recording studio. Butler explained that the lyrics came from "just very much that for years I hated Christmas ... Everybody I knew in New York was running around like a bunch of fiends. It wasn't about joy. It was something to cope with."
The song is told from the perspective of a busy single woman adamant not to participate in the exhausting Christmas period. She has "turned down all [her] invites" and resolves to "miss this one this year". Earlier in the year, she met an appealing man in a ski shop and got his telephone number, but had no time to ask him out. Despite the pair's attempts to meet in the following months, a succession of mishaps keeps them apart. Finally, on Christmas Eve, as the lady is roasting the "world's smallest turkey" (courtesy of A&P) for her solo holiday feast, she realizes she has forgotten to buy cranberries. She runs to a convenience store and, by coincidence, runs into the gentleman (who has also forgotten cranberries), bringing her Christmas "to a very happy ending". In the final refrain, she admits that she "couldn't miss this one this year".
Release and reception
The song was released as a single in the UK in 1981 on Island Records. Although it did not make the charts that year, it was reissued in 1982 and reached No. 45 on the official UK Singles Chart in December 1982. It has been reissued on numerous Christmas compilation albums in the UK.
Writing in 2005, Guardian writer Dorian Lynskey called the song "fizzing, funky dance-around-the-Christmas-tree music for Brooklyn hipsters." In 2012, Daily Telegraph writer Bernadette McNulty called it "one of the most charming, insouciant festive songs ever." Allmusic writer Andy Hinds called it "one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded."
On the UK Official Singles chart, "Christmas Wrapping" peaked at number 45, spending two weeks there. It remains their highest-charting single there. During the 2016 holiday season, the song experienced a resurgence in popularity in the UK, re-entering their singles chart at number 96.
"Christmas Wrapping" has been covered by numerous artists. It was covered by the British pop group the Spice Girls as a B-side for their 1998 single "Goodbye", with lyrics anglicised to include a reference to British supermarket chain Tesco. It has also been covered by Save Ferris (with lyrics altered for a Jewish perspective), Kate Nash, the Front Bottoms, the Donnas, Summer Camp, the cast of the broadway musical Wicked, Miranda Cosgrove, comedian Doug Benson, Martha Wainwright, the cast of the TV show Glee with Heather Morris on lead vocals, and Disney Channel star Bella Thorne. British/Irish girl band The Saturdays did a cover of the song for the film Get Santa. In 2015, Australian singer Kylie Minogue and American singer Iggy Pop recorded the song for Minogue's Christmas album Kylie Christmas.
The song has also been featured on holiday music compilations.
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