I love Christmas. I love the lights and the Christmas trees and even the shopping. I love bundling up against the cold weather and how everyone seems a little cheerier, just a little lighter and happier, even with the stress of the holidays. And I especially love Christmas music.
But there’s a dark underbelly to Christmas music, a twisted, sadistic aspect that takes great glee in the fact that are you forced to listen to whatever horrors can be released under the guise of holiday cheer. Whether it’s at the office or the bank or stuck in line at Macy’s to argue about this stupid 15% off coupon you got that doesn’t seem to apply to anything other than a shitty Donald Trump plaid tie, we’re often trapped listening to Christmas music. If it’s Bing Crosby or Ella Fitzgerald or the Rat Pack, that’s great. Even Mariah Carey can get in on the act.
But then there are those other Christmas songs, those nails-on-a-chalkboard ditties that serve as a giant lump of coal in the stocking that is our ears. Here, then, are the Top 5 Most Annoying Christmas Songs.
5. DOMINIC THE DONKEY by Lou Monte
You say you’ve never heard of Dominic the Donkey? Then you have remained on the Nice list and Santa loves you.
I had never heard of this auditory equivalent of a wet bowel movement either. That all changed this Christmas. “Dominic the Donkey” is the kind of Christmas song that makes you question your decision to have children. I’d wager Gary Busey plays it on loop during the holidays and dances and claps his hands while his family tries to pretend that they’re not shitting their pants.
Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself.
4. GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER by Elmo & Patsy
This song is so universally despised that it seems like a cliche to include it on this list but, like cigarettes on a “Top 5 Causes of Cancer” list, it must be mentioned (incidentally, this song also appears on that cancer list).
Mildly amusing the first time you hear it, the novelty is already gone on a second listen. The only people who continue to enjoy this song are people who suffer from severe brain damage or are clinically deaf. This song is one of the reasons the Taliban gives for hating us.
3. CHRISTMAS CANON by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
I love “Canon in D.” It’s an elegant, masterfully realized piece of music. We used it in our wedding, as many couples do. It’s beautiful and romantic and hard to improve upon.
Which is why “Christmas Canon” annoys the piss out of me.
“Christmas Canon” is like some drunk guard at the Louvre painted a Santa hat on the Mona Lisa and called it “Christmas Lisa.” First off, it’s not a damned Christmas song. Secondly, by trying to shoehorn it into one, you end up sounding like a car full of children making up lyrics on a long road trip. It’s nonsensical and repetitive and makes you want to pull the car over at the nearest McDonald’s Playland so you can get drunk in the bathroom.
And why in Hell are the kids wearing karate uniforms?
2. SANTA BABY by Madonna
Madonna ruins any song she covers. Madonna covering a song is the equivalent of God abandoning the songwriter. Virgil even warned Dante that her “American Pie” cover was blasted from eighteen foot speakers throughout the final circle of Hell. Why would her “Santa Baby” be any less horrifying?
Eartha Kitt’s version was sexy, sultry, and fun. Madonna, however, tries to adopt some kind of Betty Boop voice and ends up making your ears bleed the blood of innocent orphan children with every syllable she screeches out. I would rather be forced to urinate glass shards than listen to this song more than once.
1. THE CHRISTMAS SHOES by Newsong
The existence of this song has ruined my faith in humanity. The first time I heard it was also the first time I keenly felt the absence of God. All I could do was suck sharp breaths and mutter “Nietzsche was right.”
The plot of the song (because songs have plots now) is that the singer is in line at the store when a little boy runs up and starts counting pennies for shoes. Why? Well, as the chorus says:
“Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry Sir?
Daddy says there’s not much time
You see, she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus, tonight.”
Okay. First off, if I’m on my deathbed on Christmas Eve, I’d like my children to spend some time with me before I take the 10:15 skyward. Don’t rush out and buy me a pair of shoes that I will only be buried in. I know you think you’re being a good son, kid, but your mother is at home right now clutching one of your teddy bears close and wishing that she knew where you were.
And where in the Hell is the father during all of this? Is he at home with Mom and doesn’t know where his kids are while their mother is DYING? Is he at the store as well, in which case what a dick? Is he drunk at the local bar? No longer in the picture?
We don’t know. But what we do know is that this song isn’t about the kid or the dying Mom. It’s about how the singer is patting himself on the back for buying the shoes for the kid.
“So I layed the money down
I just had to help him out
And I’ll never forget
The look on his face
When he said Mamma’s gonna look so great.”
That wouldn’t be so bad. It’d be a great act of kindness, actually. Except he follow it up with:
“I knew I caught a glimpse of heavens love as he thanked me and ran out.
I know that God had sent that little boy to remind me
What Christmas is all about.”
Okay, Captain Narcissist. Let me follow this train of thought.
1. God exists.
2. God sends us signs.
3. God gave this little boy’s mother cancer and then sent the little boy out away from her WHILE SHE’S DYING all so that you would be reminded of the meaning of Christmas.
All I can take from this is that the meaning of Christmas is that God is fickle and cruel and plagues mankind with suffering all so that a chosen few can pat themselves on the back for shelling out a couple of twenties at Pay Less.
This song is saccharine and emotionally manipulative on a level that even the cruelest politico can only dream of achieving. It is the single worst and most annoying Christmas song.
It also spawned a Hallmark movie with Rob Lowe:
What about you? What do you think of the above? Got any Christmas songs that you think I missed?
Brad C. Hodson is an author and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. His new novel DARLING is currently available.