Christmas in Hollis is a single by Run–D.M.C. that was included on two 1987 Christmas compilation albums featuring various artists: A Very Special Christmas and Christmas Rap. A&M Records originally released the song as a single in 1987 off of the A Very Special Christmas album. The track was produced by the group along with Rick Rubin, and has become very popular during the holiday season. It reached # 78 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 2000, 13 years after it was first released.
The track samples Clarence Carter’s 1968 holiday song Back Door Santa, Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, and Joy to the World.
Christmas in Hollis has also been featured in a few Hollywood films and TV shows since its 1987 release. It was featured near the beginning of the 1988 action film Die Hard, the 1987 drama Less Than Zero, as well as in the 1996 comedy film Jingle All The Way. During a Beavis and Butt-Head Christmas special, Beavis and Butt-Head watch the video (with Beavis attempting to rap along with it).
It was also used during the 2007 episode titled “Chuck Versus the Crown Vic” of the TV series Chuck. During season 2 of the U.S. TV sitcom The Office, the song was played near the end of the episode “Christmas Party” when series characters Kevin and Darryl were DJing the music. Christmas in Hollis was also played on a Christmas episode of The Simpsons‘ twenty-second season, titled “The Fight Before Christmas“. The song was also played during an episode titled “The Other Side of the Mall” of the TV series Human Target. Several snippets of the song are used in the Season 1 finale of Orange Is the New Black.
Christmas in Hollis is one of the most famous Christmas Rap songs, but it’s far from the first. In 1979, Kurtis Blow’s Christmas Rappin’ became the first Hip-Hop song released on a major label. The 1981 seasonal favorite Christmas Wrapping also could be considered Rap.
Editor’s note: I am not certain if I heard this song first on A Very Special Christmas album, or in the film Less Than Zero that came out the same year, but what I do know is that the song always reminds me of the latter. The movie, a favorite of mine, is one I always get an urge to re-watch during the holidays. My favorite part of the song is the “but each and every year we bust Christmas carols” – at which point it becomes impossible not to dance around to the song – impossible!