Every year around this time, people start asking the same question: Will any new contemporary Christmas song ever come close to achieving the status of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You?” The answer is likely no, as becomes clear when you consider the sheer volume of new holiday music releases that drop yearly. Not many of those become standards, and fewer still even have a shot at becoming timeless.
Knowing this, Jimmy Fallon tried to do something else — he aimed to make a definitive Christmas song for right now, instead of going for timelessness. On the December 6 episode of The Tonight Show, the host recruited heavyweights Megan Thee Stallion and Ariana Grande — two of the absolute biggest and best in the game right now — to help bring the song, “It Was a… (Masked Christmas),” to life. The results may save lives!
The premise of the song is that it’s a good thing to remain cautious of COVID-19 in order to protect yourself and your loved ones during the holidays. Fallon sings, his voice frosted with Auto-Tuned, to wear a mask, get a vaccine booster shot, and say hey to folks via Zoom when necessary to avoid risky meet-ups. It is a chillingly bleak reminder that we’re still in a pandemic, though the message is softened by two key aspects of the video: many, many oversized and relentlessly cozy sweaters, and the presence of both Meg and Ari.
Grande plays foil to Fallon, accompanying him on the couch, waiting in line for a booster, and on a ski trip, and all throughout, she’s redoubling everything he sings in her own superstar manner. She gets her own melancholy verse — “Last year I was here / Don’t tell me this year’s the same” — before Meg enters in a full nurse outfit, complete with booster syringes (!) on her fingertips.
In one of the more comedic moments, she raps, “Put Purell on everything / Turkey, eggnog, candy canes,” as those very actions are carried out. In one of the more viscerally upsetting moments, Fallon and Grande sing through masks with each other’s mouths on them. There’s also a dancing mask monster?
“I had so much fun,” Meg said on Instagram promoting the clip. Check it out above, then go get your booster shot already.