There are many things that define a ‘90s kid, including a love for Disney Channel Original Movies and a Beanie Babies collection. But at the holidays, a ‘90s baby can be spotted when they blast ‘NSync’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.”
The 1998 holiday hit is part of the boy band’s Home for Christmas album, which is one of four records they released before their breakup in 2002. The group, which is made up of Chris Kirkpatrick, Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and JC Chasez, reunited in 2023 for Trolls Band Together’s “Better Place” single, but for the generation who grew up on them, December is all about their holiday record.
“The Christmas album is my favorite album we’ve ever done. I love all of the [original] songs and remixes we did,” Bass said during a Stubhub Q&A in December 2016. “The ironic thing is I did not like ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.’ I don’t know what it was, it’s just a little too, like, uppity-cheesy for me and I’m more of a dramatic Christmas listener. But I’m so glad [the band] didn’t listen to me because it’s really grown on me and I love that song [now].”
Scroll down to see why ‘90s kids can’t stop singing “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” every Christmas season:
The Lyrics Are Catchy — Simple, But Catchy
The band hooked listeners in from the start, but the chorus is what ‘90s kids can’t get out of their heads. “It’s a wonderful feeling / Feel the love in the room from the floor to the ceiling / It’s that time of year / Christmas time is here,” the group sings. “And with the blessings from above / God sends you His love / And everything’s OK / Merry Christmas, happy holidays!”
The Music Video for ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’ Was Iconic
The late Gary Coleman was an elf in the music video, need we say more? In addition to the comedian being featured, all of the members wore Santa hats, flew around in a festive sleigh and magically saved Christmas after St. Nick got sick and was stuck at home. There was also a lot of garland, dancing with extras on set and fake snow.
Justin Timberlake’s Frosted Tips Hairstyle Stole the Show
Timberlake’s fashion choices while in ‘NSync were iconic, including his frosted tip hairstyle in this video and his denim on denim look at the 2001 American Music Awards with then-girlfriend Britney Spears. While Timberlake has since ditched his icy blonde locks — and he and Spears split in 2002 — fans will always have this video to hold onto.
It Was Featured in ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’
Many ‘90s babies will remember the hit holiday track playing on the end credits of 1998’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas. The movie starred ‘90s icon Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Timberlake’s now-wife Jessica Biel. When college student Jake (Thomas) gets stranded in the desert he goes on the adventure of a lifetime trying to get back home for Christmas.
It Was Released at the Height of ‘NSync’s Career
Home for Christmas was the band’s second studio album following 1997’s ‘NSync. The holiday album was certified double platinum. The group later released two more records, 2000’s No Strings Attached and 2001’s Celebrity, before their split.
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The Song Made the Billboard Top 40 in the U.S.
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” was the only single from Home for Christmas. It charted at No. 37 on Billboard’s Top Mainstream chart.
It’s Been Covered By Several Artists
In 2016, the a cappella group Pentatonix covered the track for their holiday album, A Pentatonix Christmas. David Archuleta released his rendition three years later for 2019’s Winter in the Air record, while Betty Who dropped her version in 2020. The following year, Tauren Wells sang it for a non-album single.
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‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’ Even Has an Animated Music Video
If the original music video doesn’t do it for you, ‘NSync released an animated version in November 2023. In the updated clip, the band is transformed into paper doll form as they ride a sleigh through New York City above bustling residents preparing for the holidays.
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