I’ve already admitted that I’m a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, but I’m finally able to get into the Christmas Spirit now that Thanksgiving is over. Although Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, I actually really like Christmas songs…well…most of them. Here’s a list of the worst Christmas songs ever:
10. Angels We Have Heard On High. It’s not that I actually want to dislike a song about Jesus’ birth, but I kind of actually dislike a song about Jesus’ birth. It’s not the lyrical content or the melody. It’s the fact that it gets absolutely butchered pretty much every time it’s sung in a group. The melody on the “glooo-o-o-o-o-ooooo-o-o-o-o-oooo-o-o-o-o-ooooo-ri-ah” is tough for a lot of novice singers to get (let alone singing the various counter-melodies or harmony). The pronunciation of gloria in excelsis deo is sung about 75% wrong 90% of the time (it’s pronounced more like gloriah een eggshell sees day ah). It’ a beautiful song, but I think that we should come to terms with the fact that not everyone can sing it.
9. Good King Wenceaslas. Public Service Announcement: It’s pronounced Wen-seh-slahs (or the less preferable Wen-seh-sluhs). It’s not pronounced Win-su-luss, Wins-a-lass, etc.
Apparently, King Wenceslas was a real dude and the song chronicles how he became a legend. The problem is that no regular person has heard of King Wenceslas outside of the song. Even then, all most people know about him is that he stood in the window and watched some poor guy gather “winter fuel” during a blizzard. Hardly the stuff of legends.
The whole song is about how Wenceslas and his page went to help a poor man gather wood for his fire in a blizzard. Along the way the page
comes to his senses begins to lose heart and Wenceslas tells the page to walk in his footsteps to keep warm. The song ends with a nice little message about receiving a blessing by helping the poor. Of course, everyone knows that the only reason to help the poor is because of what you get out of it.
Good King Wenceslas is so entirely random. Why do we sing a song about a person who isn’t a biblical figure and didn’t live in biblical times? King Wenceslas isn’t a fictional character like Frosty the Snowman or The Grinch. There are a lot of people who did stuff for poor/dying people. Why aren’t we singing about them? It makes no sense.
8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. This is just a weird song. I don’t get it at all. I think that when it came out in 1952, it was a novelty because it was sung by a child. I wonder if anyone has ever really listened to and thought of the implications of this song.
Evidently, the child doesn’t think that his dad could possibly be Santa Claus, but he isn’t bothered by the fact that his mom is kissing another man. He even thinks that his dad would find humor in his mom stepping out like that. Is the kid that naive, or is he messing with us?
What if it was actually Santa standing under the mistletoe? Shouldn’t he be focused on distributing toys instead of carousing with the children’s mothers? And what about Mrs. Claus? Do the Clauses have some sort of understanding in their marriage?
Christmas songs shouldn’t raise this many questions.
The video below contains the original song.
7. Jingle Bell Rock. I admit that I have no real reason to hate ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ other than its one of the first songs to start getting on my nerves because there are about 300 awful covers and they make sure to play every single version on the radio.
6. Baby It’s Cold Outside. The content of this song is quite questionable. The guy is trying to convince the girl to spend the night with him. The girl keeps trying to turn him down tactfully, but he won’t take no for an answer and browbeats her about the temperature and even resorts to fear-mongering (he tells her she could catch pneumonia and die) to try to convince her to stay with him. There’s a lot that is wrong with this scenario…
Besides the questionable content, the whole singing over duet thing is annoying. It works in musicals (‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is featured in the movie Neptune’s Daughter), but not so much for regular listening.
5. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ is definitely the corniest Christmas song ever. Jingle Bell-ing. Mistletoe-ing. Why must they be verbs? I don’t want to Jingle bell or mistletoe. I just want to enjoy my eggnog in peace. Everything about ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ just screams excess. When I hear this song, all I can visualize in my mind is Andy Williams spinning around among the gaudiest of all Christmas decorations and singing while fake snow falls all around him. It’s sensory overload x10 and I simply can’t handle it.
4. Do You Hear What I Hear?. ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ wins the award for Worst Religious Christmas Song. The lyrics are awful: ‘A star, a star/Dancing in the night/With a tail as big as a kite.’ So kite was the only word that they could rhyme with night? Girl, bye. I can’t today. When I hear this song in my head, I always hear Andy Williams’ voice and it doesn’t make things any better (he wasn’t a bad singer, but his style makes the song even cornier).
Oh, and ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ was written as a song of peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 because it’s always a good idea to mix religion and politics.
3. All I Want for Christmas is You. Did you know that ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ turned 20 this year? I can’t believe it. To be honest, it has actually held up remarkably well for a ‘contemporary’ Christmas song. ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ is a catchy song…and that’s the problem. It’s too catchy. The melody gets stuck in your head for days. DAYS. It’s virtually impossible to escape during the holiday season (except on Contemporary Christian Radio…I don’t think anyone has made a ‘Christian’ version of it…yet).
You hear it in Target. At the mall. In the car. On the television. IN YOUR SLEEP. All of Mariah Carey’s other songs have become passe, but this song keeps holding on like a ghost dingleberry. I’m sure this song is literally Mariah’s Christmas bonus every year.
2. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. Annoying. This song is annoying. That’s all there is to say.
1. The Christmas Shoes. I’m not sure that there is any song that I hate any more than ‘The Christmas Shoes.’ ‘I Want it That Way’ by Backstreet Boys comes close, but my hatred for ‘The Christmas Shoes’ borders on pathological. I refuse to listen to it when it comes on the radio. It makes me mad. Sometimes The Husband will make reference to it just to see me flip out.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a synopsis: ‘The Christmas Shoes’ tells the story of a little boy who wants to buy a pair of shoes for his terminally ill mother so that she can look nice for Jesus when she dies. The story is told from the perspective of a man who is watching the boy attempt to purchase the shoes. As you probably guessed, the boy didn’t have nearly enough money to buy the shoes so the kindly stranger intervened and purchased the shoes, and though it was a big deal for the kid, the kindly stranger was the one who was blessed the most by this occurrence because he got to experience the love of God.
The song is a bunch of sentimental drivel by someone who is hung up on the sentimentality rather than the gravity of the situation. He purchased shoes for a kid’s dying mother. It’s time to be sad. It’s not the time to wax poetic.
I can’t help but think of what happened when the kid showed up to give the shoes to his mom:
Kid: Mom, I got you a new pair of shoes for when you meet Jesus!
Mom: Oh that’s so nice. *thud*
‘The Christmas Shoes’ doesn’t put me in the holiday spirit. It’s depressing. Why is it that we use Christmas as the time to talk about poverty and death in our culture? There are tons of movies, stories, and the like that chronicle people’s misfortunes during the Christmas season. Not cool.
The video has clips from a movie that I’m guessing is based on the song. It seems that Rob Lowe played the kindly stranger in the movie (though he doesn’t seem to be very kind).
Lest you all think that I’m a complete Grinch, I will post about the best, most underrated Christmas songs next week.