Words & Music: Irving Berlin (1942)

Lyrics

Happy holiday,
Happy holiday.
While the merry bells
Keep ringing,
May your every wish
Come true.

Happy holiday,
Happy holiday.
May the calendar
Keep bringing
Happy holidays
To you.

Background

The song was first performed by Bing Crosby in the 1942 film Holiday Inn. While it is often regarded as a Christmas song, in the film it is performed on New Year’s Eve, and expresses a wish for the listener to enjoy “happy holidays” throughout the entire year. The phrase in the title is now most commonly associated with inclusive holiday greetings for the period encompassing Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the New Year.

Performances

Here is a recording by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters:

And here’s a duet version by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme: