♫ I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas ♫ (Annual Redux)

There is a small repertoire of songs that I play at Christmas … none of the typical religious carols, but songs that either have deep meaning for the holiday, or that are fun.  Tonight’s selection, just two days before the big day, is in the second category — fun!  This one goes out to my dear friend, Carolyn, over at Nuggets of Gold, for rawgod’s significant other, Gail, and also for my daughter Chris, who has always loved this one.

This is a Christmas ‘novelty’ song, written by John Rox, and performed by Gayla Peevey in 1953 when she was ten years old. Peevey was a child star who was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma before her family moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma, when she was five. When released nationally by Columbia Records the song shot to the top of the charts, and the Oklahoma City Zoo acquired a baby hippo named Matilda.

Peevey was filmed performing the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in October 1953, airing on November 15, 1953.

A popular legend holds that this 1953 hit had been recorded as a fundraiser to bring the city zoo a hippo; but in a 2007 radio interview with Detroit-based WNIC radio station, Peevey clarified that the song was not originally recorded as a fundraiser. Instead, a local promoter picked up on the popularity of the song and Peevey’s local roots, and launched a campaign to present her with an actual hippopotamus on Christmas.

The campaign succeeded, and she was presented with an actual hippopotamus, which she donated to the city zoo. The hippopotamus lived for nearly 50 years. Peevey, by this point 73 years old, was again present when the Oklahoma City Zoo acquired a rare pygmy hippopotamus in 2017.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Gayla Peevey

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
Don’t want a doll, no dinkey tinker toy
I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
I don’t think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won’t have to use a dirty chimney flue
Just bring him through the front door
That’s the easy thing to do

I can see me now on Christmas morning
Creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy, what surprise
When I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinosauruses
I only likes hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me, too

Mom says a hippo, would eat me up but then
Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian

There’s lots of room for him in our two-car garage
I’d feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage

I can see me now on Christmas morning
Creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy, what surprise
When I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, or rhinosauruseses
I only likes hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me, too

Songwriters: John Jefferson Rox
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

14 thoughts on “♫ I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas ♫ (Annual Redux)

  1. There’s something about children and ‘novelty’ records, isn’t there? Something which just says ‘no!’ Here’s the version I shared on my blog: https://youtu.be/fziK7dCVAdk

    Chris’s Thile’s childlike delight at the end is wonderful to behold. Kate Rusby also does a grown up(ish) version on her album Holly Head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha … I can’t say I’m one bit surprised! It’s definitely not your type of music preference! Sorry about that minute of your life … but, hopefully there are a few million more of ’em and you’ll hardly notice that one. Don’t give me ideas about shutting you away under the Sanity Claus … hey … you’ve already got the white beard for it!
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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