When the head of the record company asks you to write a Christmas song, you do it, even if you’re sort of a Scrooge. That’s how “Christmas Wrapping” by Akron, Ohio new wave band The Waitresses came to be in 1981.
ZE Records was putting out a Christmas compilation featuring songs from its various artists. The Waitresses founder Chris Butler worked through his personal “Bah Humbug” feelings for the holiday season to write lyrics from the perspective of a woman frustrated by the exhausting pace of Christmas in New York City. In fact, “Bah Humbug” are the first two words in the song.
With Patty Donahue singing, “Christmas Wrapping” tells the story of a woman who meets a guy in a ski shop. They two exchange phone numbers but have trouble getting together for an actual date. This goes on for months. Then, as the woman heads out on Christmas Eve for some last minute cranberries to go with her tiny turkey for one, she bumps into the guy at the A&P supermarket. He is also there for cranberries and the two finally reconnect.
In the end, the song is about the magical moments and happy endings that could only happen at Christmas time. Perhaps Chris Butler isn’t as much of a Scrooge after all.