Ya, I get it. Christmas cheer, sing it loud for all to hear. Fa la la la la… What about the Christmas songs that turn a cheery glow to the least likable of the fifty shades of gray; you know, the one with the puke-ish hue that doesn’t make your palms twitch? The songs that evoke the most basic of white girl responses when their woebegone melody reaches unassuming ears? Today, I blog about Christmas songs that I. Can’t. Even.
1. Christmas Shoes, by NewSong – If you weren’t at least a little touched the first time you heard this song, you don’t have a soul. Small child, Christmas gift for dying mom so she can be pretty to meet Jesus… Well played, NewSong. But the more you listen to this “swell” (Yes, I am making fun of the them for thinking ‘swell’ was a solid lyric choice) Christmas tune, the more you realize how little sense it actually makes. First, why is this kid so good at buying women’s shoes? I can’t even leave the shoe store with the right size every time, so how on Earth did this kid get so good at it? Second, why shoes?! What part of shoes jumps out and screams, “Mom won’t be ready to meet Jesus without meeeeeee,” exactly? If said mom and boy really are struggling as much as the forlorn lyrics suggest, my guess is a dress, perhaps a brush, might have been higher on the list of heavenly fashion priorities. Lastly, where the heck crap is dad? Did he send the boy out on a gift buying witch hunt alone? Really guy? Cue cheesy child choir at the end of the song for full guilt-trip effect. Merry Christmas, wear new shoes for Jesus.
2. Last Christmas, by Wham! – Can’t. Not even when T. Swift covers it, and I love me some T. Swift. What does this song even mean? Anyone? This guy gives someone his heart, and they… regift it? Donate it to Goodwill? Why does this guy even need to give his heart as a gift every year? If he truly is once bitten, twice shy, why is he going to try to give the same horrible gift to someone else this year? And talk about internal conflict. First, he knows a kiss could definitely fool him again, then suddenly he already has a new love (a real one this time, friends,) and is at no risk of being hoodwinked by lovers past; and yet, the song still ends with gag-central lyrics about next year being his year for love with someone special… Somebody really ought to tell this guy that the best way to save himself from shedding those crocodile tears during the holidays is to give better gifts. Shoes, perhaps.
3. Santa Baby, by Eartha Kitt – This song makes the list for personal reasons. As an awkward, lurpy 9th grader, I decided this song was a fantastic choice to sing in the Christmas Talent Show at my junior high school. Painfully shy and a bundle of nerves, I donned a feather boa, mustered all the sex appeal a flat-chested, mid-pubescent giant of a girl could muster, and took the stage. My peers were surprisingly supportive, and I relaxed a little and began my performance. I was on my way, blazing a trail of fame and glory for gawky brace faces everywhere. And then… Do you know how many verses this song has? And how much variation there is between verses? Even the stupid chorus is different every time, I never stood a chance. Suddenly, my well of words to the song ran dry, and I wasn’t even halfway through it. I stammered to a halt, staring helplessly into the crowd. Somehow, I saved face long enough to cheerfully inform the audience that I had forgotten how the rest of the song went, uttered a slightly louder than appropriate “Merry Christmas!” And strode offstage… to collapse in a sobbing heap of defeat and hormones in the hallway. I still blush every time this six-verses-too-long song comes on the radio. We get it, Santa has a gold-digger on his nice list. Boo, you whore.
4. Christmas Don’t Be Late, by Alvin and the Chipmunks – It’s simple; I can’t understand anything but the words “hula hoop,” yet it still manages to lodge itself in my brain for hours on end after I hear it. Hey Chipmunks, get out of my head. Go ruin someone else’s Christmas with your baggy t-shirts and high-pitched nonsense.
5. My Favorite Things, from the musical ‘The Sound of Music’ – I’m sorry, how did this even become a staple in the Christmas song rotation? What, because brown paper packages and snowflaked eyelashes are some of my favorite things, the song automatically lends itself to the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus? Do doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel now belong solely to the spirit of Christmas? This song is sung during a thunderstorm. No holiday festivities, just jumping on beds and wonderful Julie Andrews magic. Whoever thought this was a good choice was wrong. Very wrong.
I apologize for seeming cynical; I love the holidays and Christmas music, truly I do. These songs just don’t add much to the sparkle and celebration that is this time of year for me. I can’t be the only one out there who has put some Christmas songs on their naughty list. Feel free to add your rant, and do yourself a favor: The next time one of these songs comes on, let out a defiant “I can’t EVEN,” and change the station. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Merry Christmas, from my basic heart to yours.
**Featured image Don O’Brien