Christmas Wrapping

"Christmas Wrapping"
Front cover of picture sleeve of 1982 UK reissue
Single by The Waitresses
from the album A Christmas Record
B-side "Christmas Fever" (Charlelie Couture)
"Hangover 1/1/83" (The Waitresses)
Released 1981
Format 7-inch, 12-inch
Recorded 1981
Genre Christmas, new wave, post-punk
Length 4:30 (single edit)
5:18 (LP edit)
Label Ze WIP 6763 (1981)
Ze WIP 6821 (1982)
Songwriter(s) Chris Butler
Producer(s) Chris Butler
The Waitresses singles chronology
"I Know What Boys Like"
"Christmas Wrapping"
"String Module Error: Match not found"

"I Know What Boys Like"
"Christmas Wrapping"
"I Know What Boys Like" (reissue)

"Christmas Wrapping" is a Christmas song by the American new wave band the Waitresses. It was first released on the 1981 compilation album A Christmas Record on ZE Records, and also appears on the Waitresses' 1982 EP I Could Rule the World if I Could only Get the Parts and numerous Christmas holiday compilation albums.[1] It was written and produced by Chris Butler, with vocals by Patty Donahue. The song received positive reviews and AllMusic described it as "one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded."


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 finished the lyrics in a taxi cab on the way to the recording studio. Butler explained that 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."[2]

Written while hip hop music was beginning to gain prominence, the song is "almost rapped" by Patty Donahue;[2] the title is a pun on "rapping".[3][4][5]


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 met an appealing 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 the lady is roasting the "world's smallest turkey" (courtesy of A&P) for her solo holiday feast, she realizes she has forgotten to buy cranberries. She runs to a convenience store and, by coincidence, runs into the gentleman (who has also forgotten cranberries), bringing her Christmas "to a very happy ending". In the final refrain, she admits that she "couldn't miss this one this year".

Release and reception

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 No. 45 on the official UK Singles Chart in December 1982.[6] It has been reissued on numerous Christmas compilation albums in the UK.

Writing in 2005, Guardian writer Dorian Lynskey called the song "fizzing, funky dance-around-the-Christmas-tree music for Brooklyn hipsters."[7] In 2012, Daily Telegraph writer Bernadette McNulty called it "one of the most charming, insouciant festive songs ever."[3] Allmusic writer Andy Hinds called it "one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded."[1]

Commercial performance

On the UK Official Singles chart, "Christmas Wrapping" peaked at number 45, spending two weeks there. It remains their highest-charting single there.[8] During the 2016 holiday season, the song experienced a resurgence in popularity in the UK, re-entering their singles chart at number 96.[8]

In media

"Christmas Wrapping" has been covered by numerous artists. It was covered by the British pop group the Spice Girls as a B-side for their 1998 single "Goodbye", with lyrics anglicised to include a reference to British supermarket chain Tesco.[7] It has also been covered by Save Ferris (with lyrics altered for a Jewish perspective),[9] Kate Nash,[10] the Front Bottoms,[11] the Donnas,[12] Summer Camp,[12] the cast of the broadway musical Wicked,[13] Miranda Cosgrove,[14] comedian Doug Benson,[15] Martha Wainwright,[16] the cast of the TV show Glee with Heather Morris on lead vocals,[17] and Disney Channel star Bella Thorne.[18] British/Irish girl band The Saturdays did a cover of the song for the film Get Santa. In 2015, Australian singer Kylie Minogue and American singer Iggy Pop recorded the song for Minogue's Christmas album Kylie Christmas.

The song was featured in the film Fred Claus, Daddy's Home 2, the holiday special Shrek The Halls, an episode of Gavin & Stacey, and a season one episode of Gilmore Girls , as well as the 2017 Tv Movie Pysch: The Movie.

In 2013, the song was used in an advertisement for Visa Bank Americard.[19]

The song has also been featured on holiday music compilations.[20]


  1. 1 2 "I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  2. 1 2 Petrick, John (22 December 2005). "How an obscure 80s punk band created a Christmas classic". The Star. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  3. 1 2 McNultey, Bernadette (16 December 2012). "Christmas songs advent calendar: Day 16. The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  4. "The story behind 'Christmas Wrapping'".
  5. "Couldn't Miss This One: Behind 'Christmas Wrapping'".
  6. Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 829. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
  7. 1 2 Lynskey, Dorian (23 December 2005). "Readers recommend: alternative Christmas songs". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  8. 1 2 "Waitresses Chart History (OCC)". Official Charts. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  9. Jane, Ally (6 December 2013). "video vault, episode 15: save ferris "christmas wrapping"". 333sound. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  10. "Artist Of The Week: Kate Nash". Buzzworthy. MTV. 7 January 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  11. Staff (20 December 2011). "MP3: The Front Bottoms Get In The Holiday Spirit With "Christmas Wrapping"". Filter. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  12. 1 2 "Summer Camp Cover "Christmas Wrapping"". Stereogum. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  13. Gans, Andrew (11 November 2004). "Stars From Avenue Q, Wicked, Hairspray and More Featured on "Carols for a Cure Volume 6"". Playbill. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  14. "Christmas Wrapping - Single Miranda Cosgrove". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  15. "CDR Xmas CD".
  16. "A Not So Silent Night". Revelation Films. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  17. VanDerWerff, Todd (14 December 2011). "Glee: "Extraordinary Merry Christmas"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  18. Crooks, Amy (16 October 2013). "Disney "Holidays Unwrapped" Details". Dis411. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  19. "Bank Americard, and Bank of America Commercial (2013 - present)". Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  20. "Now That's What I Call Christmas!, Vol. 2: The Signature Collection". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
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