All I Want for Christmas…

All I Want for Christmas…

Everybody knows this song, but few people know where it came from. It was created by an elementary school teacher in the 1940s and has become a Christmas classic. “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” was an obvious sentiment for teacher Donald Yetter Gardner, who was encouraging his second graders to share what they were going to ask Santa for—and since many of them were missing teeth, Gardner thought that was a great request!

Gardner recalls that missing teeth (and a growing mouth) made it tough for kids to speak, and even more challenging for him to understand them. The song was most famously performed by Spike Jones & His City Slickers, but has been celebrated by a number of rock stars, pop stars and even RuPaul. For Gardner, he never imagined that his silly song would become such a legend.

The Making of the Greats

He recalls that the entire song was written in just 30 minutes that that, “I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country.” He performed it at a conference, and an employee of Wimark heard it—and he was connected with the Perry Como radio show. Four years later, in 1948, it was at the top of the charts as performed by The Satisfiers. George Rock has a one of a kind voice, though, and thought that it would make a great hit for Spike Jones. After another year, it remained a major hit.

Gardner originally wrote the song to end with everyone shouting “Happy New Year!” but that has largely been removed from today’s versions. Every child knows it, and perhaps it’s because it’s the season of wishing and magic that it has stuck with us. Who wouldn’t want to wake up on Christmas morning with a perfect smile?


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