In 1944, a music teacher in Smithtown, New York named Donald Yetter Gardner asked his grade 2 students what they wanted for Christmas. Most of his kids had at least one tooth missing, “tho” their “anthers” were “thort ” of hard to “underthand”. It hit him that they all wanted the same thing, and in 30 minutes, he wrote “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”
Mr. Gardner thought nothing would ever come of it, but he’d perform it around the school and the community. One particular performance he gave happened to be attended by an executive from M. Witmark & Sons, America’s largest sheet music company at the time. They purchased the song and published it.
As they expected, it was a hit. What they probably didn’t expect was how big of a hit it was and how many prominent artists would cover it over the years.
Its first live radio appearance was in 1948 on Perry Como’s show, The Chesterfield Supper Club, performed by a band called The Satisfiers. It received little fanfare, but that changed in a big way when Spike Jones & his City Slickers took a whirl at it, and took it to the top of the pop charts in that same year and the next.
Since then, the song’s been recorded by some of the biggest names in pop, rock, country and children’s music.
And here’s a duet version of the song performed by Danny Kaye and Patty Andrews of the Andrews Sisters:
Mr. Gardner’s favourite version of the song was done by Nat King Cole:
But our favourite is most definitely this one, beautifully performed by the Count from Sesame Street:
One last note about your two front teeth
If the chilly December weather is giving you a painful sensation in your two front teeth, it’s best to book an appointment as this could be an early warning of a larger issue.