'Live from New York, it's . . . " Jimmy Fallon!

That might not seem overly novel, since NBC's Emmy-winning "Late Night" host is Manhattan-based with his talk show every weeknight. But he finds it a very big deal to return to "Saturday Night Live" as a first-time guest host, which he'll do with the iconic NBC comedy program's Christmas episode on Saturday (NBC/4 at 11:30 p.m.).

"It's like a dream come true," Fallon says of spending a week with executive producer Lorne Michaels and an ensemble cast again. (His own show is in reruns this week.) "I've always wanted to host 'Saturday Night Live.' It's an honor." Fallon was an "SNL" regular from 1998 to 2004, encompassing his tenure as a "Weekend Update" anchor.

With Michael Bublé set as musical guest, Fallon says he believes the essentials for a successful "SNL" guest host stint are in place. "You hopefully have a great cast, which is what they have there, so I'm very psyched about getting to play with them. I think it's the last year for a couple of them; I heard it might be Kristen Wiig's last season, so I'm really excited to work with her.

"They've got some new people who are great as well, Taran (Killam) and Bobby (Moynihan) and Nasim (Pedrad). And of course, there's Andy Samberg, and there's Fred (Armisen), who was in the cast when I was on the show. And Seth Meyers, who's now the head writer, was just a featured player when I was there."

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A VERY SPECIAL SHOW

Being on board for the "SNL" Christmas show has particular meaning to Fallon.

"That was my favorite episode of the whole season," Fallon says. "Everyone's in a good mood, New York is so exciting during the holidays, and they are ready to skewer and satirize as much as they possibly can.

"At the end of the holiday episode, the host normally says goodbye with the cast down on the [Rockefeller Center] ice-skating rink. That is just crazy when it's 1 in the morning in New York City. It's just so cool! I'm hoping the arrangements are being made, because I want to do that. Even if I have to climb over the wall."