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Tyler Clark presents: Local Mythologies writesTop 25 Christmas Songs of the Last 25 Years: #3 - The Cast of SNL, “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”

It's the holiday season, which means Christmas music. Lots and lots or Christmas music, most of which was written before the people listening to it were even alive. While "Jingle Bells" and "We Three Kings" are great, and resilient, we're devoting this year to finding the best Christmas song written since 1989. We continue today with #3, and an infectious piece of Christmas cheer from the cast of Saturday Night Live.

 



#3: The Cast of Saturday Night Live, "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" (2000)

It began on Saturday Night Live. On a snowy night in December 2000, NBC viewers tuning in to their favorite sketch comedy program were treated instead to a sonic slab of concentrated holiday cheer. Performed by Horatio Sanz and his backing band (which included a visibly nervous Jimmy Fallon and Tracy Morgan busting out his most minimal of dance moves), the song extolled the virtues of Christmas. The same can be said of many songs. However, this one was different. The lyrics were single-minded in their pursuit of merriment, and the players, realizing this, seemed to struggle to contain it. They'd tapped into a wild, untamed version of holiday festivity, and knew they were no match.

For the next few Christmases, the song returned. Each year, around December, it would flare up in a fit of cheer, only to disappear back into the wintery ether. After 2004, it didn't return, and we thought we were safe. We thought we were cured. However, songs this infectious find a way of returning. In 2009, while researching covers during the recording sessions for his new album, Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas was exposed to the song. It fused with his own musical sensibilities, mutating into an even catchier arrangement. When the song once again appeared on a 2011 edition of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it was more powerful than ever.


The video above reveals the frightening realities of this fearsome song, which quickly overcame even the powerful defenses of the Roots. The song would soon spread to the rest of the audience, lodging itself in each head and colonizing each brain with its relentless Christmastime joy. Today, no one among us can remember a day when the song wasn't here, wasn't gleefully blasting from the radios of winter. We do remember the brave sacrifice of the comedians who fought, and failed to contain it, even as we each hum along.

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Categorized: Christmas Top 25

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