Once again we find ourselves in the throes of the holiday season. Imagine with me, if you will, the Julie Andrews classic “My Favorite Things.”
Shopping and baking and baking and shopping,
Eating and wrapping and singing and mopping,
Parties and pageants and shepherds and kings,
This is a list of some Christmas-y things.
Ugly sweaters, crummy weather,
Waiting in long lines,
Just listen to songs about Christmas-y things,
And then you will feel just fine.
Unless you’re listening to one of the five worst Christmas songs ever (in no particular order).
Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Rod Stewart & Dolly Parton
This has never been one of my favorite standards; giving Christmas the sexy treatment is weird to me. Even so, there are a couple of renditions that I don’t mind (Rufus Wainwright’s take, for instance). The Stewart/Parton duet is not one of them. If there’s a worse mental image than that of Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton enjoying the implied ‘festivities’ of that song, I sure as heck don’t want to know.
It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Barbara Mandrell
There are no redeeming qualities to this song, except maybe that Miley Cyrus hasn’t covered it. The schmaltzy lyrics are atrocious (“that craaaaaazy snowball fight”) are made worse only by Mandrell’s grating vocals. Ethel Merman must’ve been proud.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by the Jackson 5
To my grave, I will declare that Michael Jackson is one of the greatest musicians—and arguably THE single greatest performer—of all time. But my praise extends only to his solo career. Listen to little Michael: “I did, I really did see mommy kissing Santa Claus. And I’m gonna tell my dad.” Am I the only one who can see Joe Jackson pounding the ever-loving snot out of Santa over this allegation? From the way he’s pleading with his brothers to believe him, Michael probably expected a pretty sound beating over it, too.
Christmas in Kansas City by Brad Millison
If you aren’t from KC, you’re probably not familiar with this one. Consider yourself lucky. Yes, the Plaza lights are pretty, but the song is best summed up by an adjective that rhymes with both “pretty” and “city.” Bonus points if you know the word I mean.
Christmas Shoes by NewSong
There’s a pretty funny (and very R-rated) Patton Oswalt rant about this song that you can find online if you wish, but here’s my own rant. People tend to be depressed enough during the holidays, you guys. Just stop with the sad stuff, okay? And why is the kid dirty from head to toe? Being poor is not synonymous with being dirty. And lastly, the guy says, “I knew God had sent that little boy to remind me just what Christmas is all about…” Really?! Because I thought Christmas was all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Also, I don’t like the little kid singing. Or the grown-ups.
Christmas Dinner, Country Style by Bing Crosby
Bing is the patron saint of Christmas music as far as I’m concerned. Had this song been treated by anyone else, it would not have skirted by with only an honorable mention. I’m not a mom, but I hold a rather traditional view of a mother’s role (I’d love to be like Donna Reed or June Cleaver); even so, I think this one’s pretty bad. Yes, it’s bouncy and happy and sounds cute, but I weep for Mother. Based solely on the lyrics, we can assume her primary objectives are to pop out kids (7 at least) and fix a big supper. And with 7 kids and big suppers come lots of laundry and dish washing. No seconds, I’m good.
Little Drummer Boy by anyone who’s ever performed it, including little Richie Petrie from the Dick VanDyke Show (whose spectral image hovers atop that of stained glass)
If I’m being completely honest, I’m less likely to want to jab pencils into my ears when I hear this song versus any of the aforementioned. Nevertheless, I’d like to pa-rum-pum-pum-pummel everyone who has perpetuated its existence over the last 70+ years. And I guarantee I’m not alone in this camp.