"A Holly Jolly Christmas" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and most famously performed by Burl Ives. The song has since become one of the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs written by ASCAP members, for the first five years of the 21st century.
"A Holly Jolly Christmas" was written by Marks in the early 1960s and featured in the 1964 Rankin-Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which Burl Ives portrayed the narrator, Sam the Snowman. Originally to be sung by Larry D. Mann as Yukon Cornelius, the song, as well as "Silver and Gold," was given to Ives due to his singing fame. This version was also included on the soundtrack album for the special and later released as a single.
The song was re-recorded by Ives for his 1965 holiday album, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. This version of the song has a somewhat slower arrangement than the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer version, and has since become the most commonly-heard rendition on radio. The song's enduring popularity is evidenced by its reaching #30 on the BillboardAdult Contemporary chart in 1998, as well as #21 on the US Country Digital Songs chart and #5 on the Holiday 100 chart in 2011.