Album: The Doris Day Christmas Album (1964)
Play Video


  • Written by Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough, this whimsical song about a magical land filled with toys for girls and boys debuted in the 1903 operetta Babes In Toyland, a popular Christmas-themed extravaganza with a cast of Mother Goose characters. "Toyland" occasionally shows up on Christmas playlists, with versions from Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Jo Stafford, Johnny Mathis, and – most notably – Doris Day.

    In 1964, Day interpreted the tune as a melancholy lullaby that recalled the innocence of childhood and the fleeting nature of time - for once you grow up and leave Toyland, you can never return again.
  • Babes In Toyland inspired several film and TV adaptations. Most took liberties with the plot and music, but some retained the popular song. Virginia Karns, as Mother Goose, sings it at the beginning of the 1934 film, starring the comedy duo Laurel & Hardy; Dennis Day sings it in a 1955 TV movie; and Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello perform it in the 1961 Disney adaptation. A revised version from Leslie Bricusse plays while Drew Barrymore floats into Toyland in the 1986 TV special.
  • This was used in a commercial for the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 in 2018. In the ad, a boy eagerly expects a Mercedes each Christmas to no avail. Years later, after giving up hope on his wish, he wakes up on Christmas morning to find one parked in his driveway.

Comments: 1

  • Daniel Morales from Lockhart, TexasWhile we sat around the fire in my backyard the other day, I sang a song for some new friends. It was a spanish song and my young friends loved it and asked me where I heard it the first time. Of course I could not remember exactly where I heard it, but it was one of those songs that my mother used to sing as she swept or moped the floor way back in the 1940s. I still don't even remember the name, but I do remember most of the words.

    At any rate, it came to me that there are many beautiful songs that many people have not ever heard and would be thrilled to learn to sing them again.

    I'm sure that there is someone somewhere that does play them on radio or something.

    Today I was looking for a song that I heard long ago called "Toyland" and another one call "Puff the magic dragon" both of them having to do with children
    and I did find both of them. But I wonder if perhaps they should be re-introduced, I feel quite out of place when I listen to most of the new songs which to me seem to have little meaning and some of them are downright ugly. Dan
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gavin Rossdale On Lyric Inspirations and Bush's Album The Kingdom

Gavin Rossdale On Lyric Inspirations and Bush's Album The KingdomSongwriter Interviews

The Bush frontman on where he finds inspiration for lyrics, if his "machine head" is a guitar tuner, and the stories behind songs from the album The Kingdom.

Al Jourgensen of Ministry

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger

Kelly Keagy of Night RangerSongwriter Interviews

Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger tells the "Sister Christian" story and explains why he started sweating when he saw it in Boogie Nights.

Jello Biafra

Jello BiafraSongwriter Interviews

The former Dead Kennedys frontman on the past, present and future of the band, what music makes us "pliant and stupid," and what he learned from Alice Cooper.

Edie Brickell

Edie BrickellSongwriter Interviews

Edie Brickell on her collaborations with Paul Simon, Steve Martin and Willie Nelson, and her 2021 album with the New Bohemians.