The Three Wise Men (aka XTC): “Thanks for Christmas”
Although there are many possible combatants in the contest for my favorite original modern-era Christmas song, among them “Father Christmas” by the Kinks and “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses (neither of which I’m featuring here this holiday season — got to have something left to go with in future years, right?), my favorite among the favorites is this song: “Thanks for Christmas” by XTC, going under the very not-secret pseudonym, The Three Wise Men.
XTC released “Thanks for Christmas” for the 1983 holiday season, and in my eyes, Andy Partridge nailed the feeling of Christmas perfectly in the melody and instrumentation. Of course, I’m predisposed to loving nearly all things XTC, but it’s hard to imagine that any fan of Christmas music wouldn’t love this as well. It has that uplifting, joyful melody, ringing guitar, and chiming horns — it puts me right in the Christmas spirit any time I hear it.
(It’s always a kick to hear it being played in stores, since typically you don’t get a lot of XTC in those types of situations.) And of course there’s the Andy Partridge sense of humor in their choice of pseudonym and the single’s sleeve art.
“Thanks for Christmas” may be quite hard to find on 45 these days (other than Ebay), but thankfully, it was also included on XTC’s rareties and B-sides compilation CD, Rag and Bone Buffet.