This Christmas (Donny Hathaway song)

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"This Christmas"
This Christmas Donny Hathaway vinyl.jpg
Single by Donny Hathaway
B-side"Be There"
ReleasedDecember 9, 1970 (December 9, 1970)
Recorded1970 (1970)
GenreR&B, soul, christmas
LabelAtco Records
Songwriter(s)Donny Hathaway (as "Donny Pitts") and Nadine Theresa McKinnor
Donny Hathaway singles chronology
"The Ghetto - Part 1"
"This Christmas"
"You've Got a Friend"

"This Christmas" is a song by American soul musician Donny Hathaway released in 1970 by Atco Records. The song gained renewed interest when it was included in 1991 on Atco Records' revised edition of their 1968 Soul Christmas compilation album[1] and has since become a modern Christmas standard, with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers reporting that it was the 30th most-performed holiday song of all time.[2]

Phil Upchurch said the song was "absolutely the premiere holiday song written by an African American". It was written by Hathaway and Nadine McKinnor.[3]


"This Christmas" was recorded at Audio Finishers Studio on Ontario Street, Chicago in the fall of 1970.[1] Ric Powell (see credits below) said that Hathaway was "very upbeat during the session" and that he "knew what he wanted to do musically and the impact he wanted to make with this song" regarding the representation of African Americans in Christmas music.[1] On writing the song with Hathaway (who died in 1979), Nadine McKinnor said she felt "blessed to have written with Donny a song that celebrates the possibilities, the expectations, and the anticipation of Christmas and the good fun and happy loving times", and that the creation of the song "was a God plan. God was in this plan. And Donny Hathaway was a genius."[4]

"This Christmas" was released as a single in 1970, where it saw little success,[5] charting only once on any of Billboard magazine's weekly published music charts. It made Billboard's special Christmas Singles chart on the week of December 23, 1972, peaking at No. 11.[6] In 1991, Atco Records released a revised edition of their 1968 compilation album Soul Christmas that included "This Christmas".


Cover versions[edit]

After the 1991 release of Atco Records' Soul Christmas, the song became particularly notable for the popularity of its numerous covers by other artists, particularly pop and R&B artists. Prior to this re-release, artists who recorded cover versions included The Whispers, The Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips, as well as Patti LaBelle, who titled a Christmas album after the song. A previously unheard recording of the song by Diana Ross from 1974 was released on Motown Records' compilation album Christmas in the City in 1993.

More contemporary notable covers include Yutaka Yokokura (1988), Alexander O'Neal (1988), Gloria Estefan (1993), Usher (1993), Dru Hill (1996), SWV (1997), Christina Aguilera (2000), Destiny's Child (2001), Macy Gray (2001), Chicago (2003), Harry Connick, Jr. (2003), Aretha Franklin (2008), Spyro Gyra (2008), Jordan Pruitt (2008), Cee Lo Green (2012), Lady Antebellum (2012), Pentatonix (2012), John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John (2012), Mary J. Blige (2013), The Summer Set (2013), Maysa featuring Will Downing (2014), The Dazz Band featuring Jerry Bell (2015), Train (2015), The Braxtons (2015), Kurt Elling (2016), Mark Feehily of Westlife (2017), Hathaway's daughter Lalah Hathaway (2017), Sarah Close (2018) and Ne-Yo (2019). A cover of the song by Chris Brown, recorded for the 2007 film of the same name, peaked at No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7][8] Covers by Seal and by American band, Train each went to No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in 2015 and 2016, respectively.[9][10]

Jess Glynne version[edit]

"This Christmas"
Jess Glynne - This Christmas.png
Single by Jess Glynne
Released12 November 2020
  • Donny Hathaway
  • Nadine Theresa McKinnor
Jess Glynne singles chronology
"Lie for You"
"This Christmas"

English singer and songwriter Jess Glynne released a cover version of the song as a single on 12 November 2020 exclusively on Amazon Music.[11]


Talking about the song, Glynne said, "I chose 'This Christmas' by Donny Hathaway as I love the tone of this record and I'm thankful that Amazon Music have given me the opportunity to do my own version of it for them. This year has been such a hard one and there's no doubt this Christmas is going to be difficult for so many people. Music is so important as it gives us moments of escapism and I think more than ever having an uplifting feel good song is so necessary."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hoekstra, David (December 13, 2009). "Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas"". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  2. ^ "ASCAP Unwraps the Top 30 Holiday Songs of the Century". ASCAP. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "This Christmas - Donny Hathaway". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Waldron, Clarence (December 24, 2007). "Writer Of "This Christmas" Song Describes Its Timeless Appeal". Jet.
  5. ^ Hildebrand, Lee (1994). Stars of Soul and Rhythm & Blues. Billboard Books. p. 93.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 39. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
  7. ^ "Chris Brown - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  8. ^ Bowden, Eric. "Which States Have the Most Holiday Spirit?". AccuRadio. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  9. ^ "Seal - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "Adult Contemporary". Billboard. December 17, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  11. ^ "This Christmas (Amazon Original) by Jess Glynne on Amazon Music". Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  12. ^ "Jess Glynne enters Christmas Number 1 race with festive cover". Official Charts Company. November 19, 2019.