Christmas music includes some of the most beloved and joyous songs of all time. Many evoke powerful feelings of hope, kindness and redemption, and bring forth joyous memories of loved ones and Christmas celebrations long past.
And then there’s the other kind, which are so annoying and seemingly inescapable that they make you want to punch a reindeer. The truth is, just because a song includes references to Christmas, or Santa, or eggnog doesn’t make it worth listening to.
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Early in December the Ejes Gist Media asked readers to submit their suggestions for worst Christmas song ever. We received 126 responses, ranging from well-loved Christmas classics like Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song to irreverent obscurities like ACDC’s I Want A Mistress For Christmas.
Of the 38 bad song titles submitted the following six were the most suggested, with each being cited eight or more times. Quotes following the song titles are all comments left by Tribune readers as to why their submission deserves the title of Worst Christmas Song Ever.
6.) The Little Drummer Boy – “It needs to be killed with fire, then stabbed for good measure”
It may come as a shock that such a staple of Christmas music as The Little Drummer Boy could also one the most detested Christmas songs of all time. It shouldn’t. The Little Drummer Boy is routinely cited on internet lists as one of the 10 most annoying Christmas songs of all time. It’s just soooo serious, soooo sincere – soooo darn tedious. With 21 pa-rum-pa-pa-pums spread through its lyrics, The Little Drummer Boy is like a Christmas version of Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall – and who wants to suffer through that more than once.
5.) I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – “Ugh, who wants to hear this song?”
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmasis sung by an adorable little girl who wants nothing more than to have the animal that kills more people in Africa than any other delivered to her doorstep on Christmas morning. Its also one of the cruelest earworms to ever infect the listening public. Gayle Peevey’s nasal tremolo will drill into your brain and lodge there until saliva starts dripping from the corners of your mouth. Surprisingly, the 10-year-old Peevey got a real hippopotamus in 1954 after her song shot up the top of the charts. Matilda the hippo lived at the Oklahoma City Zoo for 45 years until dying in 1998. Too bad the song wasn’t buried along with the hippo.
4.) Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – “Freakin’ hate that hillbilly strain”
There is no middle ground with Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer;” either it just isn’t Christmas until you’ve heard it at least once, or you wish you could trade places with grandma every time it comes on the radio. Released by husband-and-wife duo Elmo and Patsy in 1979, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer gained infamy in 1985 when a Davenport, Iowa disc jockey played it 27 times in a row before the station manager could stop the insanity. The song reminds me of the creepy drunk uncle who comes to visit every Christmas, only to tell the same humorless joke over, and over, and over, and over …
3.) Baby It’s Cold Outside – “It’s gross”
Defenders of the 1944 Christmas duet, Baby Its Cold Outside, argue that its an innocent victim of political correctness and the #MeToo movement. But if you take a hard look at the lyrics, Baby Its Cold Outside comes off sounding a little, well – date rapey. The whole song is premised on some guy ignoring his date’s constant protests as he continues to badger her into staying the night. At one point the woman asks the man “Say, what’s in this drink?” which is pretty jarring to a generation that knows how roofies work. The only thing more disturbing is John Legend’s and Kelly Clarkson’s attempt in 2019 to sanitize the song by substituting lyrics like “It’s your body and your choice” and “I want you to stay, it’s not up to me.” Should have just let it die a natural death.
2.) The Christmas Shoes – “Makes me want to push Q-tips too far up into my ear canals”
If you’re into pure Christmas schlock than The Christmas Shoes is the song for you. It was a breakout hit in 2000 for the contemporary Christian music group NewSong. The Christmas Shoes tells the story of a man waiting in line to buy one last present, when he hears the boy standing in front of him tell the clerk he needs to buy a pair of dress shoes for his dying mother because, “I want her to look beautiful if momma meets Jesus tonight.” The man buys the shoes for the boy, then reflects that God surely must have put the child in front of him that night to teach the man the true meaning of Christmas. Not only is The Christmas Shoes dark and emotionally exploitational, the whole song ends up being about the guy standing in line, not the boy or his dying mother. And is the true meaning of Christmas really to put on proper footwear before meeting Jesus?
1.) All I Want for Christmas is You – “Makes my ears bleed. So terrible”
It’s said that familiarity breeds contempt. That’s certainly the case with All I Want For Christmas Is You. People hate it because they can’t escape it. Walk into any department store, gas station or grocery store during the month of December and you are guar-an-teed to hear it. First released by Mariah Carey in 1994, the song reportedly took just 15-minutes to write. It has gone on to sell more than 14 million copies and earn Carey more than $60 million in royalties. On Christmas Day 2018 All I Want For Christmas broke Spotify’s single-day streaming record with 10.82 million plays – then broke it again the next year with more than 12 million. Even if you could escape Carey’s vacuous, boppy voice blaring across every street corner, you’re sure to be assaulted by other versions of the same song released by Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, John Mayer, Shania Twain, Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Cee-Lo Green, Lady Antebellum, Mumford & Sons, Dolly Parton and of course Michael Buble – whose entire musical career seems to be founded upon recording Christmas songs written by and for other people. All I Want For Christmas Is You is like some black-ops torture device meant to break the enemy’s will. Resistance is futile.
Dishonorable mentions among Tribune readers’ list of worst Christmas songs ever: Do They Know Its Christmas – Band Aid; Last Christmas – Wham!; I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson 5; Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt; Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney; Christmas Don’t Be Late – Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Suffer our ears the Christmas music multitude that rains down upon us each December. Merry Christmas ya’ll.
# Christmas Song
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