Christmas in Hollis” is a single by Run-DMC that was included on two 1987 Christmas compilation albums featuring various artists: A Very Special Christmas (A&M 3911) and Christmas Rap (Profile 1247). When Bill Adler first asked Run-DMC to contribute to A Very Special Christmas—the first in a series of various artists compilation albums produced to benefit the Special Olympics—they refused. After Bill—who was then the director of publicity for Rush Productions, which managed Run-DMC—gave the band the idea for “Christmas in Hollis,” they changed their minds and agreed to be on the album. (Other contributing artists included Whitney Houston, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Madonna, and Bob Seger.) The track was produced by the group along with Rick Rubin and was originally released as a single in 1987 by A&M. In 2000, thirteen years after it was first released, it reached number 78 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart
The title refers to Hollis, Queens, the New York City neighborhood in which the members of Run-DMC grew up. The track samples Clarence Carter’s 1968 holiday song “Back Door Santa”, as well as “Frosty the Snowman”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Joy to the World” and features an Acme siren.
“Christmas in Hollis” was included as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Tougher Than Leather.
The music video for “Christmas in Hollis” takes place at the North Pole and in Hollis, Queens. At the end of the video, Santa is seen flying away with his sled being pulled by a dog. The video was directed by Michael Holman with cinematography by Mark Richardson, both NYU film students at the time, and features a cameo appearance by Bannah McDaniels, DMC’s adoptive mother. “Christmas in Hollis” went on to win Rolling Stone’s Best Video of the Year award in 1987, beating out Michael Jackson’s “Bad” directed by Martin Scorsese.