According to ASCAP
, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," written by songwriter Tommie Connor
, is the 19th most performed Christmas song of the 21st century!
Although keep in mind they announced this in 2003, based on just three years of data. And also bear in mind that most traditional carols (e.g. "Silent Night," "Adeste Fideles," etc.) do not have songwriters protected by ASCAP, and so are not counted in their tally.
Christmas toys all over the place
little Johnny wears a funny smile on his face
Johnny has a secret and the secret he must share
He wants to tell somebody so he tells his teddy bear
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night
She didn't see me creep down the stairs to have a peek
She thought that I was tucked up in my bedroom fast asleep
Then I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus underneath his beard so snowy white
What a laugh it would have been if daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night
The song was originally released in 1952
on Columbia Records
, with 12 year old Jimmy Boyd
on vocals, taking the song to #1 on the Billboard
charts (while simultaneously RCA Victor
had Spike Jones and his City Slickers
competing for sales). (Over in the UK, the Beverley Sisters
, Joy, Teddie, and Babs, would chart with their rendition
Although released as a novelty song, and covered by plenty of other novelty artists (Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, Dan Hicks's Christmas Jug Band, Tiny Tim, and RuPaul (technically, she sang "I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus")), it has entered the American secular Christmas tradition to become a "timeless classic." So you can also find the song covered by Lynn Anderson, Perry Como, Dion, the Drifters, Ferrante and Teicher, Jackie Gleason, the Four Seasons, Brian Wilson, John Mellencamp, Mitch Miller, Rosie O'Donnell, the Platters, John Prine, Bobby Sherman, Andy Williams, the Jackson Five, and the Moscow Boys Choir. In the United States, it seems the version to get the most airplay is that of the Ronettes, thanks to rock-and-roll oldies format stations love of all things Phil Spector.
In 1954, Boyd went back into the studio with his original producer, Mitch Miller, and recorded a follow up single for Columbia, "I Saw Mommy Do the Mambo (With You Know Who)."
Just wanted to let that sink in.
Boyd would go on to a successful recording and television acting career in the 1960s and 1970s.
The public's appetite for the song seems to be in their recognition of the child's innocence
. The song isn't meant to be creepy
-- the man in the Santa Claus suit is the child's own father, although, examining the lyrics
, there is nothing to imply
that this isn't the real Santa Claus, i.e., a visitor from out of town and not the pater familias
. A 2001
made-for-television movie loosely based on the song, features a child witnessing this scene and concluding that the actual Santa Claus is trying to break up his parent's marriage. Hijinks
ensue, as the boy goes on a vendetta
against every department store Santa he can find. The movie stars Corbin Berenson
and Connie Selleca
, and aired on the PAX
network, so it's not that
kind of vendetta.
Hal Erickson, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." All Movie Guide. <http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=A248869> (6 April 2004)
Bob Moke, "Billboard - January 1953." <alt.music.big-bands> 16 February 1998. (6 April 2004)
Jim Steinblatt and Phil Crosland. "ASCAP Announces the Top 25 Holiday Songs." ASCAP.com. 3 December 2003. <http://www.ascap.com/press/2003/topholiday_120303.html> (6 April 2004)
"UK Top Ten: Song Index." Chartwatch. 8 March 2004. <http://www.chartwatch.co.uk/TopTen/songs/songndxI.htm> (6 April 2004)