Come on, you know you know it. In fact, we’d be willing to bet that by the end of this article you’ll be humming this little ditty. And then have it stuck in your head all day …
Anyway, back in 1944 in Smithtown, New York, music teacher Donald Yetter Gardner visited his wife’s second grade classroom. Upon asking the students what they all wanted for Christmas that year they gave him many a lisping response as they talked through their missing front teeth. Inspired by all the toothless children, he went home and in under a half hour had written the now-iconic holiday tune.
For the first few years after Gardner wrote it, the song received little attention. But by 1949, it rose to number one on the pop charts and sold nearly 1.5 million copies after Spike Jones and the City Slickers recorded it. Since then it has been recorded by the likes of Mariah Carey, George Strait, and Nat King Cole.
Gardner continued to have success in music after this song took off—though nothing quite like what he received from “that silly little song” as he once called it.