I just need to catch my breath :: VOTD (The Holiday Edition)

Christmas Wrapping :: The Waitresses

About the songs :: Christmas Wrapping :: The Waitresses

Christmas Wrapping is a Christmas song by the American post-punk band The Waitresses. It was first released on the compilation album A Christmas Record (1981) onZE Records, and also appears on the Waitresses’ 1982 EP I Could Rule the World if I Could only Get the Parts (1982). It has been included on numerous Christmas holiday compilation albums in the US and UK, including Now That’s What I Call Christmas!: The Signature Collection (2003).

The song received positive reviews from music critics, and Allmusic described it as “one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded.” 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.”

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 saw a 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 she is roasting the “world’s smallest turkey” (courtesy of A&P) for her dinner alone, she realizes she has forgotten to buy cranberries. She runs to a convenience store and, by coincidence, runs into the man (who has also forgotten cranberries), bringing her Christmas “to a very happy ending.” In the final chorus, she admits that she “couldn’t miss this one this year.”

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 had saved “for a rainy day“. Some of the lyrics were finished in a taxi cab on the way to the recording studio. Butler explained 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.”

Written soon after the birth of rap music, the song is “almost rapped” by Patty Donahue; the title is a pun on “rapping”.

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 # 45 on the official UK Singles Chart in December 1982. It has been reissued on numerous Christmas compilation albums in the UK.

Editor’s Note: I could not find an actual music video for this song, but I could not leave it out as it is my all-time favorite Christmas/Holiday song ever. I have included, to go along with a audio/video, a “about the songs” video that the NME released. This is one of those holiday songs that I never, ever tire of hearing, and always look forward to once the end of November comes around.




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