"I'll Be Home For Christmas" is sung from the point of view of an overseas soldier during WWII, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family that he will be coming home, and to prepare the holiday for him including requests for "snow", "mistletoe", and "presents on the tree". The song ends on a melancholy note, with the soldier saying "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams."
On October 4, 1943, Bing Crosby recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records. Within a month of release, the song charted for eleven weeks, with a peak at number three. The next year, the song reached number nineteen on the charts.
The song touched the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were in the midst of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows. Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby "accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era".