Episode 9 of Glee's season 3 is the show's annual Christmas presentation. This year the episode centered around production of an old-fashioned TV Christmas special featuring the glee club members.
Glee's 2011 Christmas episode opens with Mercedes singing the lead on "All I Want For Christmas Is You." The song was originally recorded by Mariah Carey and released on her 1994 album Merry Christmas. It has become a holiday classic and has sold nearly two million copies. This year Michael Buble recorded an outstanding new version of the song for his album Christmas and Mariah Carey collaborated with Justin Bieber on his holiday album Under the Mistletoe.
Irish exchange student Rory reveals that he is suffering from homesickness and missing his relatives particularly at Christmas. He sings the classic "Blue Christmas." The song first became a hit in the late 1940s, but Elvis Presley recorded and released the definitive version as an album cut in 1957. It has been recorded many times since by a wide range of artists and ranks as one of the top sad Christmas songs of all time.
Rachel sings the song "River" to show her interpretive skills as a singer. However, Artie nixes the downbeat song for inclusion in the New Directions TV Christmas special. He says "River" will make viewers want to commit suicide. Joni Mitchell wrote and recorded the song for her landmark 1971 album Blue. "River" is not centered on Christmas in its lyrical content. Instead, the events and emotions of the song take place around Christmas time.
"Extraordinary Merry Christmas" is performed as a group singalong. It is a new holiday song written specifically for this episode by the show's executive music producer Adam Anders, Peer Astrom, and Shelly Peiken.
Kurt and Blain are picked as co-hosts of the New Directions Christmas special. They open the show in nostalgic black and white singing "Let It Snow." The song was written in 1945 and originally became a hit in a recording by Vaughn Monroe. "Let It Snow" has been recorded many times since. Although it is undoubtedly a holiday classic, Christmas is not mentioned in the lyrics.
"My Favorite Things" is not specifically about the holidays but its mention of gifts and winter imagery has made it a popular holiday selection. The song was written for the musical The Sound Of Music. It was the subject of a much celebrated, nearly 14 minute jazz version of the song recorded by John Coltrane.
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is one of the songs performed as part of the New Directions TV special. It was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in 1934. The positive response was instantaneous and over 100,000 orders for copies of the song's sheet music were placed the next day. It has become a Christmas classic and the subject of its own animated TV special first shown in 1970.
The Cheerios make their appearance in the TV special performing the song "Christmas Wrapping." The original version was recorded in 1981 by the Waitresses. The song's charming story of a single woman fed up with Christmas has become a holiday classic.
New Directions participate with Sue in serving Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter near the end of this Glee episode. They sing "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in the spirit of volunteerism. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was first recorded in 1984. It was put together in 24 hours with the participation of a wide range of current pop stars. The song was released to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief. The success of the project led to a wide range of other charity efforts by pop musicians including "We Are the World" in the US and two other recordings of "Do They Know It's Christmas?"