Christmas is the best. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year. While I stand by my decision to start Christmas carols in October, I accept that some of them are just terrible.
Here are five Christmas carols that need to not exist, in descending order.
5. ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
Ostensibly about Christmas, this is really just a thinly veiled smarmfest by charity group Band Aid. The premise of the song is that people in need may not know it’s Christmas, because they…well, I’m not sure why they wouldn’t know it’s Christmas. That’s the insulting part. These people are without many things, but they don’t lack awareness.
The song is in five parts. The first is about how nice your Christmas will be, followed by a sucker punch that assumes you never think of other people (also insulting) but maybe you should try it for once, you selfish jerk. Then comes the melodrama of overwrought lines such as “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears” or “And the Christmas bells that ring there. Are the clanging chimes of doom. Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” Because you’re a bad person who wishes ill upon others, you see.
Next, we have the question of whether the people in Africa know that it’s Christmas because, as the lyricist appears to think, Christmas is all about the stuff. There’s no mention of Jesus, just stuff and, without said stuff, how are they to know? The final part, in case the rest of the song wasn’t heavy-handed enough, exhorts the listener to “feed the world.” Just in case you’ve forgotten what a terrible person you are in the 30 seconds since you were last reminded.
Smug, smarmy, and self-congratulatory. It’s the anti-Christmas trifecta, but somehow still less annoying than…
4. ‘Last Christmas’
The refrain goes: “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.” Let’s unpack that, because all I have is questions.
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.
Okay, that makes sense.
But, the very next day, you gave it away.
Can a heart be regifted? How, exactly, does that work?
This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.
Is this a Christmas tradition of which I am unaware? Does one need to give one’s heart every Christmas? That aside, was last year’s recipient not special? Because, that might have been why that didn’t work out.
This is a terrible song. Why does it exist? Why does it get so much air time? The only redeeming quality is that it isn’t a truly horrible message for children, like…
3. ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’
This is essentially a song about a kid (Rudolph) who is ostracized for being different until the cool kid (Santa) accepts him, so the rest follow along. Basically, it’s like “Mean Girls” with anthropomorphic animals except, in the TV special, even his parents are jerks to him for being different. It’s a terrible message, and I’m not sure why we’re still singing about it.
This song has a terrible message, but at least it doesn’t fail at the Bible like…
2. ‘Mary, Did You Know?’
Yes, she knew. She obviously knew. For a song that’s trying to be biblical, you really don’t know much about the Bible. Between Gabriel and Isaiah, she definitely knew. Thanks for checking.
Perhaps the only positive thing to say about “Mary, Did you Know” is that it isn’t the absolute worst Christmas song in the word, a dubious honor that goes to…
1. ‘The Christmas Shoes’
This is a hot mess of a song. When it comes on, the only reasonable thing to do is to turn off whatever device is playing, smash it, burn the pieces, scatter the ashes, and salt the earth so nothing will ever grow there again.
What in the world is happening in this song? If you’re lucky enough to have never heard this song, it’s about an incident that takes place on Christmas Eve. A boy’s mom is dying, so he buys her a new pair of shoes so she will look pretty when she meets Jesus.
His mom is very close to dying (the song indicates she might die that very night), so he goes out shopping instead of spending the time with her? Where is his dad, who should have told him his mom didn’t really need special dying shoes but would probably like to spend time with her son? Did he drive the kid there? Did the kid sneak out? What is going on? The kid seems to understand something about death and Jesus, but it seems that everyone failed to mention that Saint Peter wouldn’t really be checking out her footwear at the pearly gates.
On top of all that, it isn’t even a good song, and it isn’t sung well. There are no redeeming qualities to this song. It is the worst of all Christmas songs and, potentially, the worst of all songs that have ever been known to man since time immemorial.
Honorable mentions go to two songs, which have each have one messed-up lyric.
‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’
Why would it have been funny for your dad to see your mom kissing someone else? That’s weird.
‘The Little Drummer Boy’
No, it’s not because he’s playing a drum around an infant. Mary said it was okay, and I’m sure Jesus wasn’t a big crier. What I do wonder is why “the ox and ass kept time,” when that is literally the point of a drum.