"I'll Be Home for Christmas" Song Lyrics (The Story of A WWII Soldier Longing For His Family)

By Karen Harris
The holiday greeting is spelled out by U.S. aviation Cadets in the Southeast Air Corps Training Center. (Getty Images)

"I'll Be Home For Christmas" was written by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent, but it's most closely associated with American singer Bing Crosby, who also struck holiday gold with his recording of another holiday favorite, "White Christmas." Gannon and Kent had approached several other singers to record "I'll Be Home For Christmas," but they all rejected the song because it was so crushingly sad. When Gannon sang it to Bing Crosby during a golf outing, however, Crosby agreed to record it on October 1, 1943, and the rest is history.

A U.S.O. Favorite

During World War II, Bing Crosby was one of the most popular entertainers in the United States and an especially popular U.S.O. performer. The soldiers in the audience begged him to sing "I'll Be Home For Christmas" regardless of the season, and according to Yank, the magazine of the American G.I. serving overseas, Crosby "accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era." A recording of Crosby's performance of the song on the December 7, 1944 broadcast of Kraft Music Hall Radio Show was even released by the United States War Department specifically for distribution to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.