All I want for Christmas – the background

Back in June, AussieMindy shared a story about being 8 years old without her front teeth at Christmas time – and hearing the song ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” over and over again.

writing music about teethThat got me thinking – where did that song come from?

And what are all the words of it?

So I went out and found some answers…

The story of the song

Don Gardner was a primary school teacher who asked his grade 2 students what they wanted for Christmas as part of a song writing activity in 1944. Apparently, most of his class had at least one missing tooth and spoke with a lisp because of the resulting gap in their mouths.

That night, Don wrote a song in about 30 minutes to have a little fun with his students and their missing teeth.

His students sang it at annual Christmas concerts and it didn’t go much further until he sang it at a music teachers conference. A woman who worked at Witmark music company heard it, passed it onto her boss and the song was published in 1948.

Spike Jones & his city slickers recorded the song, including the falsetto boy’s voice, in December 1948 and reached the top of the charts in 1949. Since then, it has been recorded a number of times by various artists including Dread Zeppelin, the  Andrews sisters, the Chipmunks, Nat King Cole and Count von Count (of Sesame St).

As well as inspiring various parodies, it is said that this song was the first light-hearted Christmas song and inspired songs such as “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer” and “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus“. So thank you Don and your grade 2 students for giving us this silly song 🙂

Don Gardner died in 2004 and those grade 2 students would be about 75 years old 🙂

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth lyrics

missing two front teeth for ChristmasEverybody pauses and stares at me

These two teeth are gone as you can see

I don’t know just who to blame for this catastrophe!

But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

 

All I want for Christmas

is my two front teeth,

my two front teeth,

see my two front teeth!

 

Gee, if I could only

have my two front teeth,

then I could wish you

“Merry Christmas.”

It seems so long since I could say,

“Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!”

Gosh oh gee, how happy I’d be,

if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

 

All I want for Christmas

is my two front teeth,

my two front teeth,

see my two front teeth.

 

Gee, if I could only

have my two front teeth,

then I could wish you

“Merry Christmas!”

 

 

13 Responses to All I want for Christmas – the background

  • Clauzetta says:

    Thanks for sharing about the background of this song. After several years of hearing this Christmas song, I did find it annoying. But the story behind this song is indeed inspiring.

  • Jaxx says:

    Wish I’d thought of it before old Don did – 30 minutes work for riches and fame sounds like Christmas to me, hohohoho!

  • Juanita says:

    I rememerb my family singing that to me for weeks on end one year – I was about 7 yeards old. I went to bed hoping and wishing Santa would bring me two front teeth so the song would go away, lol. I woke up in teh morning to find both front teeth had broken through the gums – they werent full teeth size yet but enouh I could show everyone i DID have my two front teeth so they stopped singing this silly song 🙂
    Nice o tread the story and all the lyrices – I do’t think anyone ever knew more than the chorus when they sang at me…

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Santa is a very clever man to bring you teeth, Junaita 🙂 But he does always do his best to bring what chidlren really want!

      Glad you enjoyed the story of Don and the kids, and hope you enjoyed remembering that toothy Christmas (probably more than you enjoyed the lead up at the time!)

  • GaryG says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am sharing this with my sister and her twins who both lost their front teeth last week. So nice to finally know the story behind the song! And thanks for the lyrics too…

  • vida_llevares says:

    It’s fun to know where and how this song has originated. I do hope this kid got his or her two front teeth for Christmas.

  • darkmeiji says:

    That was an interesting story. I have been wondering what the writer of the song was thinking since I don’t know any Christmas tradition or story involving front teeth. Now I know, and it makes better sense.

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