Christmas/Holiday Cheer: Christmas (W)rappin’

Today it’s a couple of classics that date back to my high school years, though it was much later before I paid either of them much mind.

“Christmas Wrapping” over the last decade or so has become one of my very favorite Christmas songs. There have been a wealth of online articles about it in recent years; at this point, the song’s writer and leader of the Waitresses, Chris Butler, must know to expect interview requests as the year winds down. This one, published Tuesday at Yahoo! to mark 40 years since the song first made waves, finds Butler expansive and reflective on the legacy of “Christmas Wrapping.” It includes more from him than I recall seeing previously about the hard life and times of the group’s late vocalist, Patty Donahue, who died from lung cancer in December 1996. Reading this piece only served to reinforce what I’ve been feeling hearing “Christmas Wrapping” this year: a bit of sadness that Donahue didn’t get to know just how deeply her voice, her talent has ingrained itself into the culture, especially at this time of year.

Butler has regularly given credit in these articles to Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin'” as an inspiration for his similarly-titled composition. When the 40th anniversary for “Christmas Rappin'” arrived two years ago, Smithsonian Magazine published a detailed account of how it came to be the first hip-hop song released by a major label in 1979. That turned out to be a landmark moment for the music industry, and life-changing for many of the folks involved.

It sure is a fun track, too.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, enjoyable holiday season, that you’re able to unwind and do it right this time.

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