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The Five Worst Christmas Holiday Songs You’ll be Hearing Again and Again and Again

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This year the holiday season (we aren’t allowed to use the X-mas word anymore, right?) started earlier than ever, at least as far as piped in music in the mall and elevators and waiting rooms is concerned. For the first time ever I was hearing cheery young voices spreading holdiay spirit before Halloween, and I could tell it had the ghoulies and ghosties creeped out. At least they have the decency to stick to screams and howls and generally avoid coordinated vocalization.

Too much Christmas holiday music can become tedious and that tedium can turn to nausea, but the truth is that some of those seasonal tunes are damned fine music. We’ve got Brahms and Beethoven and Handel and Chuck Berry and Bing Crosby and Martha Reeves and quite a few others contributing some memorable and even moving tunes. The problem is that over the years that library of fine music has been joined by a treacly aural crap and thematically questionable or even disturbing tunes which I don’t need to hear even one more time, much less over and over while stuck in a line at Walmart.

This brings us to the five worst holiday songs of all time:

#5: Santa Baby
Written by Javitts and Springer
Performed by Eartha Kitt

This creepy bit of sleaze has kept the sexiest voice on the radio in whiskey and facelifts for years, and now Madonna has climbed on the bandwagon with her inferior version, guaranteeing more airplay for the raunchy classic. But frankly, I don’t want to hear or have my children hear a song about seducing Santa Claus, and I especially don’t like the image of the big fat bearded guy being straddled and ridden by a husky-voiced 80 year old woman who looks a lot like the scary fetish doll from Trilogy of Terror…and I’m not talking about Madonna here, though she’s a bit scary too.

#4: Little Drummer Boy
Written by Davis, Onorati and Simeone
Performed by Everyone

“Baruppapumpum” is not a word in English OR in Aramaic, though it does sound a bit like the sound a glock makes when firing a burst over the heads of unruly Palestinians at a West Bank checkpoint. I was first introduced to this horrible song through a version recorded by Joan Baez. You’d think it couldn’t get any worse than that, but thanks to the David Bowie duet with Bing Crosby this ultimate in sappy Christmas drivel has taken on iconic status and has now been covered by everyone from Joan Jett to Chicago and the two trampy Simpson sisters. Here’s a clue. There’s no drummer boy mentioned anywhere in the gospels. He’s not even in the crazy apocryphal ones written by Essenes living in caves and eating sand lice with a nice garnish of hashish.

#3: All I Want for Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth
Written by Some Vaudeville Hack
Performed by Exploited Toothless Rugrats Everywhere

Thankfully this song is not as popular as it was when I was a child. It doesn’t hold up as well over time as some of the songs on this list. But I guarantee that sometime in the next month you’ll hear a quavering little voice piping out the sentimental schmaltz about holiday tooth replacement programs, confusing the tooth fairy and Santa Claus in a truly troubling way. While not as patently offensive as the top two on this list, this song still ranks close just because it’s so irritating.

#2: Here Comes Santa Claus
Written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman
Performed by Gene Autry

What made Gene Autry think that he needed to follow up Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman with an even stupider and more annoying song? Thank god the pride of Hillsboro Texas (at least until they got their big outlet mall) discovered real estate and owning football teams and stopped singing for a living. This song has the most idiotic lyrics of any song I’ve ever heard, and at Christmas time that’s really saying something. Not even in crappy neighborhoods of doublewides are you likely to find a street called ‘Santa Claus Lane’, and if you did Santa himself would be too embarassed to deliver presents on it. Consider the presence of this one on the list as a nod to all of the wretched Gene Autry Christmas songs every one of which deserves a spot.

#1: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Written by Tommy Connor
Performed by Jimmy Boyd and Others

You remember Tommy Connor, right? He was like the poor man’s Spike Jones only not actually talented or funny. His one claim to fame is this gem of infantile voyeurism, holiday adultery and lifelong trauma. Like #5 on this list, this is a song you can’t let children under a certain age actually listen to, because it both sexualizes Santa and suggests that he’s not real. The song tells the story of little Jimmy who creeps down stairs to peep at the Christmas tree and catches Mommy kissing Santa Claus under the mistletoe. Unstated, but implied is that he assumes Mommy is stepping out on Daddy with a fat and jolly mythological figure, retreats weeping to his bed, becomes a sexually dysfuctional serial killer and ends up years later dressed in a Santa suit made of human skin as the SWAT team closes in on his house. What could make this song worse? Jessica Simpson ‘sings’ it on her new Christmas album.

So there they are. I’ve limited the list to five, because if I started adding more there would be so many worthy inclusions the list might never end.

Certain songs do qualify for horrible mentions, however. Chief among those are any songs performed by puppetoons. If puppetoons are involved the song has to be awful. Also deserving a special horrible mention is the damned song with the dogs barking Silent Night. Why would any radio station put this on the air for 3 minutes of torture and channel switching?

On the upside, no matter how horrible a Christmas song may be, if it’s performed by the South Park characters, Alvin and the Chipmunks or seminal speed punk band The Dickies, it is at least somewhat redeemed.

And finally, let’s not forget the final category of those songs which it’s easiest to make up stupid and/or obscene alternative lyrics for. And the winners are The Dreidl Song and Walking in a Winter Wonderland. I leave you to fill in your own alternative lyrics.

Oh, and before someone brings up Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, yes it’s a horrible song, but it’s also funny at least the first couple of times you hear it and that gives it at least some redeeming value.

So, go off and enjoy your Christmas holidays if you can with these songs ringing in your ears.

Dave

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://elsaelsa.com elsa

    “Winter Wonderland!”
    YUCK! I’m from the desert and freezing my ass!

  • http://serenadeingreen.blogspot.com/ Stephen V Funk

    JINGLE BELL ROCK is my personal #1…. ug… !

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Hilarious!

    Personally, I can’t stand any Christmas tune sung by Mariah Carey. But maybe that’s just me…

  • http://www.modernpeapod.com Zach

    “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is “funny at least the first couple of times you hear it?”

    Christmas songs are “redeemed” if performed by Alvin & The Chipmunks or the cast of South Park?!

    I was right with you until those last few comments, even in spite of my perverse love for well-performed Christmas music…but seriously, man, how can a cloying song get BETTER when you throw high-pitched cartoon voices into the mix?

  • http://currentobstacle.blogspot.com/ Darren

    Yes, I agree that “Jingle Bell Rock” should be violently stricken from our collective memories by those thingies they used on Men In Black. Until then I can’t stop mentally seeing Hall & Oates performing a particularly lame version while dressed (badly) in drag.

    Most annoying Christmas video ever.

  • http://www.magicjunk.com/blog Mark Sahm

    Dave, again your satire is bitingly funny and to the point. You took the thoughts out of my head on a couple of these. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Little Drummer Boy compared to West Bank gunfire before, and doubt I ever will again. Nice work.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Zach, the painfully awful gets better when played in under a minute or with high squeaky cartoon voices because then it becomes parody.

    As for Jingle Bell Rock, I should have added it to the list of songs which are great for putting new lyrics to, because it enables the classic couplet:

    (parental advisory)

    Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock.
    Jingle my Balls and Jingle my Cock.

    Which certainly livens up the holidays.

    Dave

  • http://bitm.blogspot.com MazeBorn

    I nominate the Chipmunk’s Christmas Song for #1.5! “Are you ready to sing it now?” “OKAY!”

    We can hardly stand the wait,
    Please Christmas, don’t be late!

    AAAHHHH! Singing rodents!

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    Sweet pick for the Amazon link, Dave!

    My all-time least-favorite Christmas song is “A Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney. Pure dreck, but absolutely insidious in its ability to saturate your brain cells and ooze into your semi-consciousness for months on end.

    Kind of like “Rock & Roll Hoochie Coo” but Christmasy-er.

  • http://serenadeingreen.blogspot.com/ Stephen V Funk

    let’s not forget “the twelve days of christmas” either…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I also forgot to mention that horrible ‘Do they know it’s Christmas Time’ group-sing thing they did for Africa.

    So many bad, bad songs. Now my wife is telling me I ought to have included Jingle Bells as the most prominent of the bad songs.

    Where do we draw the line?

    Dave

  • http://www.magicjunk.com/blog Mark Sahm

    All lines will disappear, DN… because the time of year dictates that decades worth of bad music must be given omnipresence over the airwaves.

    In my opinion, the greater question is whether there’s actually a good timeless Xmas song that isn’t corny. Even the South Park stuff (f-in hilarious as it was) got old after 5 years.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    The really horrifying thing is that every artist thinks they have to put out a Christmas CD with new awful versions of the old standards, and they also feel the need to throw on their own original contribution to the genre and it’s usually wretched.

    Dave

  • Chantal Stone

    The original songs by these no talent pop tarts are the WORST.

  • Nancy

    I agree that these songs were bad enough in and of themselves to begin with; the “new” (& improved? – NOT!) versions REALLY suck! White Christmas drives me berserk. I feel SO bad for the poor clerks who have to listen to these soundtracks over & over & over & over & over thru an entire work day.

    All of this so-called “christmas music” could make someone become an atheist.

  • J. P. Spencer

    “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” was written by Spike Jones. I wouldn’t categorize him as “Some Vaudeville Hack”, but rather the Rosetta Stone of Musical Comedy. While this song is not one of his best pieces, repeated listening of the rest of Spike Jones’ catalog teaches you amazing things about musical arrangements. He was also one of the first musicians to embrace quadrophonic sound in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s. He was Weird Al BEFORE Weird Al WAS Weird Al. Find a best-of collection and skip over “…Two Front Teeth”. You won’t be disappointed.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    OMG, Spike Jones wrong it? That gives me a whole new perspective on the song. When I was researching the article I couldn’t find any easily accessible web references to who wrote it, so I filled int he blanks. I had assumed that it was older than Spike Jones’ era. Now that I know he wrote it I can at least think of it as satirical, but it’s certainly not his best. “Tea for Two” holds that spot for eternity.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Rewind. I did some more research. Spike Jones did perform the song, but he didn’t write it. It was written by Don Gardner and wasn’t picked up by Jones until several years later.

    Dave

  • J. P. Spencer

    From what my trusty liner notes say, it seems Jones was the first to actually record it after it was passed on by many artists, but I stand corrected. The author was one Don Gardner.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’ve never heard the Jones version. The version I’ve been traumatized by features some annoying little girl singing the song – not surprisingly.

    Dave

  • http://bitm.blogspot.com MazeBorn

    Hey, you reminded me of a Wierd Al song about nuclear bombs dropping on Christmas. Now I have to go hunt it up…

    “Christmas at Ground Zero” It’s a hoot!

  • http://christxmassongs larry larry

    arf arf arf.arf arf arf, arf hey arf arf arF! HEY!!!

  • http://xmassongs larry

    that was the dogs singing jingle jingle bells or not larry

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Christmas at Ground Zero” It’s a hoot!

    It sure is!

    It’s Christmas at ground zero
    There’s music in the air
    The sleigh bells are ringing and the carolers are singing
    While the air raid sirens blare

    It’s Christmas at ground zero
    The button has been pressed
    The radio just let us know
    That this is not a test

    Everywhere the atom bombs are dropping
    It’s the end of all humanity
    No more time for last-minute shopping
    It’s time to face your final destiny

    It’s Christmas at ground zero
    There’s panic in the crowd
    We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
    Underneath the mushroom cloud

    You might hear some reindeer on your rooftop
    Or Jack Frost on your windowsill
    But if someone’s climbing down your chimney
    You better load your gun and shoot to kill

    It’s Christmas at ground zero
    And if the radiation level’s okay
    I’ll go out with you and see all the new
    Mutations on New Year’s Day

    It’s Christmas at ground zero
    Just seconds left to go
    I’ll duck and cover with my Yuletide lover
    Underneath the mistletoe

    It’s Christmas at ground zero
    Now the missiles are on their way
    What a crazy fluke, we’re gonna get nuked
    On this jolly holiday

  • J.P. Spencer

    Dave,
    That “Annoying little girl” is actually George Rock, Spike Jones’ banjo player. Each member of Jones’ “Orchestra” had their own specialty voice. Rock’s was an annoying little girl. It’s worth noting that Rock used that voice on an Easter follow-up parody called “You Wanna Buy A Bunny?”.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Wow, that just makes the song even more scary, J.P.

    Dave

  • Just John

    The only good version of “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” is the one sung by Count von Count of Sesame Street, and that only works because his two front teeth are used for sucking blood from children.

  • Just Timo

    I can’t believe you all missed out that
    horrid piece of tripe by Sir Paul McCartney.
    I shudder to think what it’s called, but it has bad synths and a very bad childrens choir.

  • Nancy

    There’s a rather comical version of “the 12 days of christmas” I hear once in a blue moon, that features in one verse some guy who sounds like Carrol O’Connor doing Archie Bunker, cursing putting up Christmas lights. I always wish I could hear that one more; it’s very clever.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    While I agree with everything you list Dave, I think the absolute worst ones are the newer pieces of shit like “Grown up christmas list” and “The Christmas shoes.” Gag me with a hairy fork.

    And Timo, the McCartney song you refer to is “wonderful christmastime,” I believe, and I must disagree with you on its quality. Easily the most trippy xmas song ever. I love it.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com FilteringCraig

    I vote for Barbra Streisand’s version of Jingle Bells.

    I wrote about it on blogcritics here.

    Worst… Christmas… Song… EVER!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    No, no. The most trippy Christmas song is Bob and Doug MacKenzie accompanied by Journey doing “The Twelve Beers of Christmas”.

    Dave

  • http://bitm.blogspot.com MazeBorn

    Oh, Nancy – there’s also the Allan Sherman version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with “A statueofaladywithaclock where her stomach ought to beeee” for the fifth day.

  • Joshua

    Nancy (#29): The version you are thinking of is probably “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” by Bob Rivers, which you can find online here.

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/blog The Countess (Trish Wilson)

    I’ll vote for any holiday songs sung by The Cowsills or Mitch Miller. Oh, my ears!!

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/blog The Countess (Trish Wilson)

    Did Florence Foster Jenkins sing any Christmas carols? If she did, she should be at the top of the list.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Dave, there’s just one flaw in your otherwise brilliant deconstructive analysis of these horrid songs. As it’s a flaw that threatens your sanity and possibly your very soul, I’ve taken it upon myself to rescue you from it. It is vital to your continued well-being for you to realize that “Santa Baby” is a song you have perilously misunderstood.

    After such seasonal auditory torment, perhaps you can no longer listen closely to the lyrics, which are replete with Freudian imagery. Some of them may be open to various interpretations which are beyond the scope of this discussion. However, there is no ambiguity at all in the repeatedly emphasized imagery of the refrain, which not only implies but actually requires a specific spatial orientation of the parties involved. There is no way Santa can “hurry down the chimney tonight” unless the interaction occurs in some configuration that places him vertically above the other party, most likely in that traditional configuration known colloquially as the missionary position.

    Therefore it is simply impossible that Santa is being “straddled and ridden” by whomever is singing, and I hope my clear explanation of that unassailable fact will help to free your mind of such a truly traumatic image.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Besides that, how could the original Catwoman NOT be sexy as all hell?!?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Victor, I fear you’ve thought about this way too much. It scares me.

    Dr. Pat, of the three Catwomans I like Lee Meriwether the most, followed by Julie Newmar for sheer extremely tall weirdness, with Eartha Kitt third, but the best would be Lee Meriwether’s looks, Eartha Kitt’s voice and Julie Newmar’s quirkiness.

    Dave

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    I’ve given this matter no serious thought at all. I just happen to think very rapidly, so it takes several paragraphs to explain a briefly passing thought.

    If I were to think about this a great deal, it might take several volumes to express my views, but none could read such a thing and emerge sane. In fact, I doubt I’d still be sane after writing it. If indeed what I am now can be called sane.

    (Pseudo-Lovecraftian style inspired by the original Batman movie, which featured Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, and had a central plot element shamelessly stolen from “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” one of the creepiest stories ever written, by the way.)

  • http://www.thisistexasmusic.com Patrick

    I have this love/hate thing with “Feliz Navidad.” It’s so simple and catchy, but here in Texas one hears it over and over and….

  • SFC SKI

    THe best Christmas Rock Song is “Run, Run Rudolph” Keith Richards’ cover of the Chuck Berry original.

    All the other Christmas soings get overplayed, especially if they start being played in Novemeber. At least I don’t work in a department store anymore, 8 hours a day of the same 10 songs was a bit too much to take.

  • Brian

    Unfortunately I still work in retail, and If you want to hear a truly awful Christmas song, might I recommend “Santa Claus is coming on his boogie-woogie choo-choo train”. Dont ask me who sings this peice of trash, it’s bad enough I had to hear it all last year, thankfully the Muzak gods seem to have removed it from the rotation this time around.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    The title of that song alone is enough to give me a mild case of nausea. Thankfully I’ve never heard the actual song.

    Dave

  • nugget

    do you get paid for posting? I enjoyed this satire.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ah, if only we got paid in more than the joy of our efforts…

    But glad you enjoyed it.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    I do not appreciate your attack on “The Little Drummer Boy”.

    First, “Barumpabumbum” is not meant to be a word. It is the sound of a little boy playing the drum.

    Second, does it matter if there is a drummer boy in the Gospels or not?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Anthony, here’s a little friendly advice: before you take your SATs, pay somebody to help you improve your reading comprehension skills.

    A sense of humor could be helpful to you at some point, too.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    AG might want to start by just reading the tag at the top of articles just to check if it happens to say ‘satire’.

    Dave

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Sure, that’s a good way to avoid embarrassing oneself here at Blogcritics, but it won’t be much assistance on the SAT, where such helpful hints are far less abundant.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Is that why AG has been less active here lately? Has he been studying for the SAT?

    Dave

  • http://www.fifthdentist.blogspot.com The Fifth Dentist

    Good list Dave. In my opinion, Little Drummer Boy should be number 1 with a bullet. The Bowie / Crosby duet is the worst combination since apply pie and herring.

  • Dave Nalle

    Little Drummer Boy might deserve a promotion because it does get played a lot more than some of the others on the list and in more different awful versions.

    Dave

  • GoHah

    nothing against Joan Jett, but anytime anyone mentions “Little Drummer Boy” I hear her version in the head–nice and edgy and all, but not Christmassy. I guess I should be glad that I’ve never heard the Chicago and Simpson Sisters take. I don’t mind the Bing Crosby version all that much, but the TV visuals from the Crosby Special remains one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen–I remember having to explain to my grandmother who the bloke with the bad teeth was.

  • GoHah

    I meant the Bing Crosby/ David Bowie version.

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    Ah, it’s easy to slam the worst but it takes real courage to admit you like ANY holiday music. Is it even music? Me, I got got a copy of the International Pop Orchestra’s Christmas Favorites, pure 1965 easy listening. I will drop it like a nuke the evening before when my hapless relatives arrive. Too bad for them, I won’t share my Rx, the only reason I’ll be humming that night… ummm… these are the sounds of the Nixon people ossifying.

  • patricia

    Every time I hear The Twelve Days of Christmas, I get the urge to go partridge hunting…and, as for golden rings, I will wear them only if they are covered with diamonds, emeralds or rubies

  • Anthony Grande

    Dave, taking time out to talk to you guys is getting hard but I do my best to give the only full time Conservative viewpoint on Blogcritics.org.

  • Drjohnrock

    I heard that horrid “Sana Claus is coming on his boogie-woogie choo-choo train” thing for the first time last night at a Christmas party. I did a Google search on the title and discovered this blog, so the song did one positive thing. Good discussion going here.

    Among the Christmas songs I thoroghly detest are The Christmas Song (“chestnuts roasting on an open fire”). Mel Torme was a talented man but he co-wrote that piece of dreck. The Carpenters’ Merry Christmas Darling also serves to turn me into Scrooge.

  • http://www.oldschoolmp3.com Nathan Heath

    Here is my amazingly awkward Christmas album I put together:

    The Album!

  • http://www.triedit.com robin

    I can’t believe nobody came up with “I want a hippopatamus for Christmas”

    Sample lyrics…
    I want a hippopatamus for Christmas
    Only a hippopatamus will do
    No crocodiles or rhinocerosses
    I only like hippopatamusses
    And hippopatamusses like me tooooooo

  • TDM

    The Greatest Christmas Songs of All Time

    During this holiday season many of you will be attending gatherings or shopping at malls where in the background will be the continuous drone of holiday music. I myself recently attended a Christmas party where everyone was subjected to the continuous repeat of a holiday compilation album being played in the stereo (that is until I snuck off to the garage with a few friends to enjoy a mix CD of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins hits – a 90’s smorgasbord).

    I’ve never fussed over Christmas music since it’s only played for a short time (though the holiday season seems to be getting longer each year starting up as soon as the Halloween decorations come down). Like elevator music, Christmas music is supposed to provide a calming reassuring background noise for shoppers and partygoers, though watching the pushing match between some shoppers you would guess Bolt Thrower was playing on mall intercoms

    Could you imagine hearing 50 Cent rapping about a white Christmas or System of A Down crafting a thrash version of “We Three Kings”? It’s unlikely but after experiencing the onslaught of Christmas music these past few weeks I got to thinking what were the best holiday themed songs ever recorded (well not necessarily the best but my own personal favourites).

    Excluding older artists like Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Burl Ives, Gene Autry and all those other pre-rock and roll performers, I’ve come up with the top five greatest Christmas songs ever sung by contemporary artists – meaning from the rock, pop and hip hop community.

    5. Santa Clause is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen

    A holiday classic written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” was originally recorded way back in 1935 by Joe Harris with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra. It’s been re-recorded numerous times over the decades but it was the Boss’ version that surpassed all other renditions being released as a B-side on his 1985 “My Hometown” single.

    4. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2

    Irish rockers U2 took this sixties classic and made it their own contributing it to the first edition of the popular Very Special Christmas series. Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and originally sung by Darlene Love, the song, like most Christmas songs has been redone countless times over the years but U2’s 1987 version still remains the best rendition.

    3. Christmas In Hollis – Run-DMC

    Run-DMC bring a little hip hop flavour to Christmas with their 1987 hit “Christmas In Hollis.” Released off the first Very Special Christmas compilation, the song and its accompanying video have become fixtures on radio and video stations come every holiday season. The song also closed the group’s 2002 greatest hits compilation, which was released a month before the tragic murder of DJ Jam Master Jay.

    2. Do they Know it’s Christmas – Band Aid

    Released in 1984, this massive Bob Geldof-Midge Ure penned single from U.K. supergroup Band Aid hit number one in the U.K, sold millions of copies around the world (the proceeds went to the Ethiopian Famine relief) and subsequently returned to the top of the U.K charts on two other separate occasions; in 1989 when a new line-up called Band Aid II recorded it after a second Ethiopian famine hit and in 2004 for the 20th anniversary of the project.

    1. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono

    This is the only song out of any Christmas themed song that I can listen to at any time of the year. The ex-Beatles’ Vietnam protest song is still relevant thirty plus years after it’s release maybe even more so this year as this December 8th marks the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. Melissa Etheridge recorded a live version of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” a few years ago that is widely recognized as the best cover version of the song.

    Bonus: Worst Christmas song ever

    It wouldn’t be a complete list unless the worst Christmas song wasn’t included. I came up with a short list that included such forgettable performances from the likes of The Darkness (“Christmas time, Don’t Let the Bells End”), Rosie O’Donnell & Elmo (“Do You Hear What I Hear”), Kathie Lee Gifford (“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”) and a host of others.

    I narrowed the list down to two songs; the first being “Silent Night” from 80’s glam rockers Winger, the other Paul McCartney’s 1979 solo hit “Wonderful Christmastime.” Winger’s interpretation of “Silent Night,” is arguably the funniest and worst version of that song that has ever been recorded. The only thing missing in this crappy rendition was a guest appearance from Slaughter namesake Mark Slaughter, though Winger singer Kip Winger does a fine job of embarrassing himself on his own.

    But after much deliberation the worst Christmas song ever is Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime,” which actually made the top ten in the U.K, reaching number six. This overproduced diddy is really not any worse than any of McCartney’s other schmaltzy hits of that era but takes the cake at being the worst Christmas song ever solely for its incessant chorus – “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time.” It will stick in your head well into the new year.
    Trent McMartin

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Interestingly your top two ‘best’ songs were contenders for my worst songs list, but I decided they were too bland to be truly offensive despite having no redeeming musical quality whatsoever.

    Dave

  • jess

    i freaking vote for CHRISTMAS SHOES….that is the worst song ever! if you haven’t heard it you are very lucky. it’s pretty terrible.

  • Nancy

    “Christmas Shoes”…? That IS an obscure one – probably deservingly. Joshua (#34) thanks a mil for the ref to the Bob Rivers site; those songs are hilarious.

  • teala s

    Personally I think you, Dave, need to think about what you write. Are you some kind of christmas grinch? Your top five songs are some of the most cheerful melodies that get people in the christmas mood. To refer to Ashlee and Jessica Simpson as, “the two trampy Simpson sisters” is quite stupid. I actually am a big fan of both. How can you call preachers daughters trampy? One was a a virgin until she got married. So, next time you decide to call someone trampy, take a look at their background you CHRISTMAS GRINCH!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ashlee wasn’t a virgin until she hit 18, much less got married. And perhaps being a virgin at marriage doesn’t work so well since the senior tramp is now getting a divorce. And did you see her in Dukes of Hazard? The example she sets is what matters, not her personal life.

    Oh, and Bah Humbug.

    Dave

  • Hammo

    Best Christmas song of all time: All I Want For Christmas Is A Stick. I have no idea who made it, but its about all these poor people wishing for funny stuff. I’m not sure thats even the title.

  • Nakhash

    Well, you’ll just LURVE the Baarmy Sheep of North Cumbria:

    Nak

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well, at least it’s better than the singing dogs.

    Dave

  • Carl In Omaha

    Hey Dave:
    I see alot of your readers are true resenters and haters of that stomach pumpingly sick and horrible song by Mccartney “Wonderful christmas time” I too loathe every horriblly bad synth note and Richard Simmonsesque lyric of that piece of musical bile!!! there I said it

  • MD

    12 Days of Christmas–Horrid!

  • Studette

    Hi everyone, I think most of the songs mentioned are terrible as well but I must say I like the comic ones that make fun of the traditional. I know of one called The 12 Days of Christmas by Paddy but can’t remember his last name that is very funny. I am sure most countries have their own funny thoughts on that song. I also tend to like Bonnie M singing some Christmas song. I guess most of the music does start way toooooooo early in the year though as it seems you are not out of one season before you are into another. I think it has become more of a sales pitch now rather than a time of enjoyment. Thank You for the lovely blog on here because it gave me some fun reading.

  • Glenn

    Nobody mentions “Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey”, hee haw hee hee haw hee haw…. HELP!

  • Yi-Peng

    I’m sorry to say that I would probably like to add Santa Claus is Coming to Town to your list of worst Christmas songs. Everytime I hear it during the Christmas season I feel like it drives me up the wall, regardless of whom it’s sung by.

  • http://www.kasiokristmas.com Stewie

    Alright this band has just put the cherry on top of Terrible Christmas music cake!!!!!!!!!

    They have single handedly destroyed what little hope for Christmas music was left. Christmas will never be the same if this gets popular.

    Get your Barf bags out if you choose to listen

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    For sheer unadulterated mind-melting stomach-inverting culture-bludgeoning festive horror, nothing beats “The Christmas Shoes”. I’m truly dismayed, Dave – dismayed! – that you didn’t give it at least a Horrible Mention. (Since this article is several years old, perhaps you mercifully lived in a world where it hadn’t been written yet. You lucky bastard.)

    And while I’m thinking about it, what the hell does “Jingle Bells” have to do with Christmas?!?

    The one that commenter #68 was trying to think of is “Dear Santa”, by Sean Morey. Definitely my kind of Christmas song.

    But usually I’m all about the traditional carols, and even some of those are rather nightmarish.

  • STM

    Yes, I realise this is an old thread … an oldie but a goodie.

    Try this: “Winter Wonderland” belting out of a department store in busy, 42 degrees Celsius (100F-plus) baking hot, downtown Sydney on Christmas Eve when everyone’s out doing their last-minute Christmas shopping and the only respite from the heat – it’s Texas-summer “hot” here at Christmas, BTW – is the airconditioning blasting out of the shop doorways.

    That tune gets a fair workout along with all the others, and it (along with “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”) just seems so bizarrely out of place.

    Christmas in Australia is best spent largely submerged in cool(ish) water, either at the pool or the beach. The only thing white dropping from the sky is seagull poop.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I went to iTunes and lisened to “The Christmas Shoes” which I had never heard before. It’s total dreck and I fell asleep briefly.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Which, since the samples on iTunes are only 30 seconds long, just goes to show how truly awful that song is. Even if you are sick.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan,

    Yes, I’ve often wondered why you Aussies seem so reluctant to adapt Christmas iconography to your own climate. Some sort of nostalgia for the old country, perhaps?

    I remember being in Sydney for the lighting of the Christmas tree in Martin Place in ’04, and Father Christmas rolling up in a sleigh, wearing full-on winter gear. Meanwhile, there’s everyone else standing around in t-shirts and shorts. Poor bastard.

    There is that story about the sleigh being pulled across Australia not by reindeer but by six white boomers, but it’s not traditional, from what I understand. I think Rolf Harris made it up.

  • STM

    Santa in Australia should be wearing a good smearing of white zinc cream on his nose, red thongs (oops, sorry – flip flops, although if he were a cross dresser I suppose the American meaning wouldn’t be so bad), red boardshorts and a singlet. He should also be sucking on an ice-cold beer, not a glass of milk.

    As for the boomers, yes, I think that’s Rolf making stuff up.

    I don’t think anyone would have much luck tethering six boomers together … they are notoriously bloody dangerous animals, and will absolutely rip you to shreds if you get too close.

    People have been killed by the buggers. That’s why we shoot ‘em Doc.

    I’d prefer reindeer on my roof, as I’m happy with the tiles remaining the way they are :)

    Also, I like the idea that Santa will still be alive past the first delivery.

  • STM

    On Christmas generally, my mother-in-law still makes a HOT baked turkey lunch, with all the trimmings, including Christmas pudding and hot brandy custard.

    This is up in sunny Queensland, mind you, where it’s not unusual to have temperatures of 45C on Christmas Day.

    Of course, the heat has fried their brains up there. I’ve never met a Queenslander (including my wife) who wasn’t completely troppo (mad, that is).

    The Filipinos are crazier, though, when it comes to Christmas. I was up there in early October, and they were selling Christmas decorations already. Every shopping centre was already getting the decorations out.

    One local told me it’s not unusual for people to start in September!

  • Jim Grace

    Do any of you funny people know of or have access to the alternative words to “A Christmaa Song” the first two line of which are Christians roasting on an open fire, lions nipping at their toes….”? Please share them on this site if you know them. Thanks.
    Jim

  • Irene wagner

    Jim Grace, here’s one version of that
    Christmas carol parody. There are others parodied here, some among Dave Nalle’s least favorites. Maybe he’ll like these better…

  • nymphomercial

    ‘The Christmas Shoes’ is the worst…song…ever. You MUST hear this parody called ‘The Christmas Thong’.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Thanks, Nympho… that is hilarious!

  • STM

    It wouldn’t work in Australia though.

    For all those who don’t know, thongs in Australia, which have been worn here since the 1930s, are FOOTWEAR. They are what are known elsewhere around the world as flip-flops. Rubber thongs are essential Aussie summer wear.

    (The lingerie item is known here as a G-string.)

    Which is why I nearly got arrested in a surf shop in Manhattan Beach (LA), when I walked in and asked the girls behind the counter if I could look at their thongs.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Gosh, it’s so easy to get into trouble with the English language…

    Most people know that ‘bum’ is not a vulgar word for a body part in America, and that the word ‘fanny’ refers to a much ruder region of the human anatomy in Britain than it does in the US. But it’s still quite possible to come a cropper on both sides of the pond.

    Like the time shortly after I started work at my current job, when I was discussing a client named Regina with my boss – and pronounced it the British way*. She almost choked on her coffee…

    * With the ‘i’ as in ‘mice’.

  • STM

    Lol. What a hoot. I’d have liked to have been a fly on the wall during the Regina incident.

    All this is true, of course. I wince every time I hear Americans use the term fanny, as it’s just not used in polite conversation on this side of the other big pond (go back to the Regina incident for clues), and always laugh out loud at the American use of bum.

    And what about entree, Doc?? That’s a classic, and almost certain to cause major confusion for those not in the know.

    In America, the entree has somehow morphed over the years into the main course, when the rest of the world still has it as the appetiser (the clue’s in the name, though, entry to the meal – the Yanks are wrong on this one).

    So in SF, ordering an appetiser-sized prawn dish, then getting confused by the waiter and asking for the same dish also as an entree when he asked what I wanted for the entree, plus a dirty-great steak on top of that, became a scene out of Seinfeld … especially when enough food lobbed on the table to feed Zimbabwe and part of Burkina-Faso as well.

    The only was good though, since the rest of the restaurant had been in apoplectic laughter.

    The shrieking waiter was great too, completely unable to contain his fits of giggling, and could have been straight out of a sit-com.

    My favourite is still the misappropriation of thong, however, which is a piece of rubber footwear worn to the beach or pool, NOT an item of sexy lingerie.

    Tipping is another trap in the US. Service staff in Oz and Europe get paid pretty good wages, and customers only tip a maximum of 10 per cent on meals if they’re happy with the service, and to the staff it’s just a bit of icing on the cake and not that much of an issue.

    But that can get you into big trouble in the US, especially if you don’t realise waiting and bar staff get paid low wages and depend on tips to get a living wage.

    So many traps, so little time to enjoy them …

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    …became a scene out of Seinfeld … especially when enough food lobbed on the table to feed Zimbabwe and part of Burkina-Faso as well.

    Yes, and people wonder why the average American is the size of Mars.

    It was a bit of a shock for me, too. I hadn’t been told about serving sizes in American restaurants. The first time I came over to visit my wife (before we got married), she had to work the next day so a couple of friends of hers came by and took me out to lunch. I can still see their worried faces as I happily ordered an appetiser, an “entrée” and a dessert. “Um… are you sure you’re going to be able to eat all of that?” “Yeah, don’t worry.”

    Needless to say, I never made it to dessert.

    And the meal came with bottomless steak fries. I mean, come on.

    My favourite is still the misappropriation of thong, however, which is a piece of rubber footwear worn to the beach or pool, NOT an item of sexy lingerie.

    Yes, what was wrong with the term “g-string”? Were American lingerie designers perhaps afraid that people would confuse their product with part of a violin? That musicians would strike up their bows and… how about we not go there.

  • http://www.my.opera.com/conservativeminority/blog Bev

    I have to disagree. I love Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s version of the Little Drummer Boy. It is not sappy at all.

    I am not crazy about Gene Autry’s Here Comes Santa Clause. It is a very frivolous song, but If I have to hear it, I prefer the Elvis Presely version.

    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause is a cute little ditty. I relate to it through my former job as childcare teacher where the teachers had to have the children perform in the annual Christmas Holiday program. A class of older preschoolers (who are now college age) sang this song to the Jackson 5 version. They did a tremendous job. The parents were over the top delighted with the performance.

    By the way my 82 years old mother can’t stand Bruce Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Comming to Town.

    Now when it comes to real Christmas Music, I mostly prefer to hear them song by classically trained voices, such as Kathleen Battele, Fredrica Von Stade, Denyce Graves, Jessye Norman and the late Lucciano Pavoratti. With that said, I do like some of the contemporary versions of the Christmas Classics.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dpavs JStarr

    |{{{{ You have to have a listen to this xmas remix of stevie wonder’s Sometime at Christmas, this guy called dpavs is also going to feature a 3d virtual stevie in a winter wonderland xmas video…

    checkout the song on his myspace profile page…

  • jim hynes

    my single worst christmas song ever is jingle bells by barbra streisand. when babs recorded that song she sound as if she had three triple espressos before she went and recorded it.i’ll give madonna’s santa baby and do they know it’s christmas a pass because at least those recordings helped to raise money foe charity.my other obnoxious christmas song is i want a hippopotomus for christmae.

  • http://www.ranker.com/list/rock-christmas-albums/christmas-music Mark

    Very true…”Jingle Bell Rock” should be violently stricken from our mind…Here’s a link to a bunch of good
    christmas rock songs

  • Amelia

    your article is soo funny, i’d have to say that “Here Comes Santa Claus” is pretty terrible and “Mommy’s Kissing Santa Claus”? i think someone was high when the wrote these songs….(to RJ)i also want to say that “Christmas at Ground Zero” is hilarous, i’m definatly singing that!

  • Yvonne

    FINALLY, someone who agrees with me (and verbalizes all the reasons why very well)that “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is one of the worst Christmas songs ever written!

  • http://rockjingle.com Theeyeballkid

    Mariah Carey all I want for Christmas is you has to be up there. I’d rather listen to 3 minutes of static than hear this song again.

  • BillF

    The Christmas Shoes and The Cat Carol…in one Momma dies shoeless on Christmas, the other the family locks the cat out in a blizzard on Christmas Eve and it freezes to death.

  • bigg3469

    How about Hillary Duff’s “butchering” of Sir Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmatime” and the ENTIRE William Hung Christmas album ” Hung for the Holidays” as well as the “Techno-Hip Hop remix abominations of the classic Christmas songs sung by Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and others.

  • bigg3469

    To Dr Dreadful; YES!!! I AGREE!! Christmas Shoes is one of the most DEPRESSING Christmas songs EVER! I know I sound like s Scrooge-like meany (NOT!!) But…Who wants to hear about a depressing song on like Christmas Shoes on the most happiest time of the year???

  • Joan

    Gracie Fields also recorded Two front teeth

  • Ed Logan

    This is the most nothing article I have ever seen.

  • S Kane

    I agree with you on most of the songs. But I have a different understanding of your #1. Yes, the kid thinks Mommy’s kissing Santa Claus, but in reality, “Santa” is the kid’s father in a Santa suit and that’s why Mommy’s kissing him. While it’s still creepy, the cheating isn’t actully happening…

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ

    This is still a fairly popular article, I see…

  • JM Johnson

    Re: song #2 – check out this street map of Christmas MI. Not only does Santa have a lane but Mrs. Claus, too!

  • Colleen

    I think the worst christmas song ever is Domminick the Donkey. Also the Christmas shoes is really depressing and I can’t stand it. I thought I was the only one who didn’t like little drummer boy. It’s overplayed and too slow for me