Christmas Music: The Good, the Bad, and the Annoying

Of course, it’s that time of year when many radio stations deviate from their usual set up and start playing Christmas songs on the radio regardless of what everyone else thinks or believes in. Sure they may be annoying but not all of them are bad. So in order to evaluate I’ll come up with a system on which Christmas songs I think are good, bad, or just plain annoying after hearing them all the time. Now here are my evaluations for Christmas songs.

The Good

Many traditional Christmas songs I’d put in this category since many of them are over 100 years old and we still play them. I’d especially reserve many traditional religious Christmas songs like “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “The First Noel,” and “O Holy Night.” Of course, Christmas has always been a religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ but even public school children play these songs (like I did in band from fourth grade to high school) since the melodies are so pretty. And let’s just say these songs have so much cultural and musical value that no one’s going to care whether these violate the separation between church and state (well, almost no one). In fact, as long as it’s good Christmas music, I don’t care if it’s played in public schools since many of the recent secular Christmas music has a good chance of sucking anyway.

Classical music with Christmas songs also belong here like The Nutcracker Suite, “Patta Pan,” “Ukranian Bell Carol,” and “Ave Maria.” These are beautiful melodies and I see no reason why anyone shouldn’t be made to listen to them.

Many recent Christmas songs like “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” or “Walking Around the Christmas Tree” since many of them have been treasured for generations and aren’t overwhelmingly annoying. Besides, many are also in Christmas canon.

I’d also put many funny Christmas songs in this category as well since I always like a good laugh now and then. Some of the songs from Stephen Colbert’s Christmas special are hilarious like “Another Christmas Song,” “Little Dealer Boy,” “There Are Far Worse Things to Believe In,” and “Cold, Cold, Christmas.” I’d also like to add “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” since it has so many clever insults, the spoof of that Nat King Cole song talking about roasting critters, the one about a girl wanted a hippo for Christmas (though real hippos are perhaps among the most aggressive and dangerous animals on the planet), and others.

The Bad

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”- the Bruce Springsteen version is particularly bad since he sounds constipated singing it.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You”- decent song until the music video featuring Justin Bieber came along.

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”- I actually had to learn this in music class in elementary school and even then I thought it was kind of messed up. The kid basically sees his mother making out with Santa Claus which may cause the boy to either think his mother’s been cheating on his dad or (far more likely) that Santa is actually his dad and doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, his Christmas is ruined and he’ll spend significant time in therapy as an adult.

“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”- when you really think about it, this is a really sick song trying to make light of something not funny at all. I mean it’s about an old woman who gets killed being run over by Santa Claus while walking home after getting drunk on Christmas Eve. Seriously, do any of you know how many people get killed during the holidays from drunk driving accidents?

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”- this is pretty messed up, too, and may romanticize date rape. A man tries to convince a woman to stay at his house for unspeakable activities while she really wants to leave. Apparently the guy doesn’t get that no means no and does anything he can to keep her there. Jerk. Still, since this was probably recorded in the 1950s, I don’t think he’d have access to roofies since they were a 1970s product. Nevertheless, it’s pretty creepy and misogynistic and there are plenty of YouTube videos on this.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” -a Christmas song to make us feel guilty about starving children in Africa, apparently not one many people would want to hear.

“Christmas Don’t Be Late”- a song by Alvin in the Chipmunks which explains why the Nat King Cole parody “Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire” is so goddamn funny. Seriously, this song is torture and I wonder if they use it at Gitmo during the holidays.

“Christmas Shoes”- it’s like the Christmas song equivalent to a Thomas Kinkade painting, in a way his reputation is known to art students. I listened to this song once and it’s just so saccharine and badly written. Same goes for other Christmas songs.

“Santa Baby”- hmm, so the girl in this song treats Santa Claus like he’s her sugar daddy and willing to bang him to get whatever she wants. Perhaps she should just forget about banging Santa and marry a Wall Street banker if she’s such a gold digger. Also, her sexually suggestive references to Santa are kind of disturbing.

“Jingle Bells”- well, perhaps it’s one of the more annoying songs but if you read some of the lesser known verses, you find that this isn’t the innocent Christmas carol you thought it was. Sure it’s about youthful fun but sometimes this song makes light on what you’d call a reckless driving incident shown here:

“A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upshot”

Then there’s another verse where he falls out of his sleigh and his rival just laughs at him. In the original version there’s another when he’s giving his friend advice on how to pick up girls, find a faster horse, and take off at full speed, obviously not learning his lesson on led to his problems in the first place. Some things haven’t changed since 1857.

Many country songs pertaining to Christmas tend to fall into this category since they could range from either depressing like John Denver’s “Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk for Christmas” to the obnoxiously political which I don’t want to go into. These songs either make me feel annoyed, depressed, or angry.

The Annoying

“The 12 Days of Christmas”- not a bad song but kind of too long and not appropriate for a Christmas concert.

“Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer”- sweet kids’ song but I’ll eventually get sick of it by the time Christmas rolls around.

“The Little Drummer Boy”- never really liked this song and played it in band once, have been fed up with it ever since.

“Frosty the Snowman”- will be in my head for days on end to the point of driving me crazy. Has also been done to death.

“Dominick the Donkey”-this is one deriving from Italy yet might be best used to divert intruders. It’s just so annoying that it drives me insane.

“All I want for Christmas Is My Two-Front Teeth”- might have liked the song when I was a kid but now can only tolerate it being played once a year.

“Feliz Navidad”- just don’t get me started.