One of these Christmas songs is not like the other

You know you’re old when you hear once cutting edge raging music softened into nice elevator notes and played in the lobbies of dentist offices. But every Christmas there’s one song that doesn’t get watered down so much, it’s definitely festive and has that sound, but still doesn’t seem to quite fit in. It’s a little too, brash, and yet so appropriate it’s now a Christmas classic. I even caught my 85 year old mother tapping her foot when it came on the local radio station the other day. That punkish rock song and some of its story below.

The Star — “I go back and I try to think of what the original inspiration was. I think it was just very much that for years I hated Christmas,” says Hoboken resident Chris Butler, founder of the Waitresses and writer of the bittersweet, cool but sentimental Christmas Wrapping.

The song is as much about a harried lifestyle and trying to make connections as it is about Christmas. And that’s a lifestyle Butler knew well as a musician and songwriter trying to break big in New York in the early 80s – a lifestyle that has mellowed in middle age. He may never have cracked the Top 40. But so what? He’s made it to age 56, continues to make music, is a husband and the father of a 6-year-old son.

“Everybody I knew in New York was running around like a bunch of fiends,” he says of Christmases back around the time he moved from his native Ohio to New York City and formed the Waitresses. “It wasn’t about joy. It was something to cope with.”


  1. comfychair says

    Not xmas music, but I once heard an Alice in Chains song (‘Rooster’, iirc, it’s been years ago) Muzak-ified and playing in the grocery store.

  2. blindrobin says

    Back in ohh about 1979 or so we used to call those ‘The Hollyridge Strings do Def Leopard moments’.

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