Worst Christmas songs of all time.

Back in my college radio days we used to joke about how cool “The Grateful Dead Christmas Album” would be. Nowadays I’d sooner listen to that than any of these songs. Even the Bob Dylan Christmas album, which really does exist, would be preferable. Barely.

Image from musicradar.com

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” by Elmo and Patsy. Someone tell me, what the hell is Christmasy about injuring senior citizens? Oh, it’s done hillbilly-style, so I guess that makes it good-hearted wacky fun. I refuse to play this piece of krep on my radio show, no matter how often it gets requested. Each year I tell the station owner (my sister) that I’ll play it only if the listener ponies up $50 for our local Senior Resource Center. Hell, if he or she donates $600, I’ll play the stupid thing for a solid hour.

“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt and later Madonna. As someone summed it up in The Onion: “Hey, Santa, I’ll Put Out If You Do.”

“Christmas Shoes” by Newsong. What a piece of manipulative, treacle-y garbage. Patton Oswalt nails this one in his not-safe-for-work stand-up routine. He observes, “I missed the part of the Bible where Jesus is real bitchy and catty about people’s footwear…!”

“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney and Wings. Sounds like it was composed in a rush under a deadline for the PTA-approved Holiday Pageant. But Sir Paul wrote it and sang it. An actual Beatle, fer crimeny sake.

“Snoopy’s Christmas” by The Royal Guardsmen. I have much the same reaction as I do to Elmo and Patsy, above. Here’s a loveable comic-strip beagle, trying to annihilate an enemy pilot. That just shouts Christmas, doesn’t it?!

Anything by Kenny G. Elevator music. Just sayin’.

“Last Christmas” by Wham!  I hate Wham! and George Michael. But I’d hate this song no matter who sings it. “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. But the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.” Nothing like a drive-off-the-bridge song with your eggnog and krumkake.

“Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters. I don’t care for The Carpenters. But just like the above song, I’d dislike this song no matter who sings it.  It doesn’t help that Karen Carpenter sounds like a Stepford Wife.

“Christmas All Over Again” by Tom Petty.  I dig Tom Petty. I’ve been a fan since I first heard “American Girl” in 1977. And I guess he deserves some slack, because he recorded this for the “Very Special Christmas” benefit CD for disabled kids. But, man, this is a clunker. Not his best work.

“I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” by Gayle Peevey and later by others. Whiny little entitlement princess making unachievable demands on her parents. But she’s a precious unique little snowflake, I bet, so Daddy and Mommy will get one for her. “Oh, what joy and what surprise, when I open up my eyes, to see a hippo hero standing there.” What the hell is a “hippo hero”?! The Three Stooges covered this song, so that redeems it a bit. But the Jonas Brothers covered it too, so for those of you keeping score at home that cancels out the Stooges.

“I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas” by Barry Gordon. In a similar annoying vein as wanting a hippopotamus. Although Relient K covered it too. And Barry Gordon has become a pretty cool grownup.

“Hey Santa” by Carnie and Wendy Wilson. Their dad gave us “Little Saint Nick,” which makes me joyously happy. But this is just awful. “Why does it feel like it’s colder than winter even by the fireside? My baby said he’d be home for Christmas, and now it’s almost midnight.” Answer the clue phone, girls. You’re nothing but his booty call.

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” by Andy Williams and countless other smooth ’60s crooners. This one has bugged me forever. “There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow.” Okay, that’s cool, but marshmallows for toasting? Don’t you do that around a campfire in the summertime? And then: “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Scary ghost stories?! The only one I can think of is Dickens’ “Christmas Carol,” and only one of the ghosts – Marley –  was even vaguely scary. I think they’re confusing Christmas with Halloween. Still, there’s probably not much demand for a good old-fashioned Halloween carol these days.

11 Comments on “Worst Christmas songs of all time.”

  1. Tamyra says:

    I sometimes play in the Kingdom of Loathing, every Yuletide ( the kingdom has it’s own calendar so this happens several times a year) you can “buy” marshmellows for “toasting” at the yuletide bonfire and “listen to scary ghost stories” then you can “eat” the roasted marshmellows and get “mellowed out” But this would only be fun in the kingdom.

  2. Ann McK. says:

    I hope this will be followed by a best Christmas songs post, and might I request special attention to sad, lonely, and/or ambivalent holiday tunes?

  3. For me it’s a close call between Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” (the harmonies aren’t harmonious to me) and anybody singing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (yes, we danced to this in danceline). They are both an instant station change.

  4. Randall Mikkelsen says:

    I like “Santa Baby.” It’s salty and ribald. It’s just not a Christmas carol. Add to the worst list – the vacuous “Sleigh Ride,” and the Bing Crosby-David Bowie version of “Little Drummer Boy.”

  5. There’s a re-boot version of McCartney’s XMas song. I heard it today on the “All Christmas All The Time” radio at work today. It’s Paul’s original vocal performance over some more modern-sounding electronic tracks. It doesn’t make it any better. Is there any correlation between “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” and Lennon’s “War Is Over”? I know that they sent each-other pop songs like “How Do You Sleep” and “Silly Love Songs”.

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