UPDATE: Here’s the “Best of” list.

Christmas. It’s time of great joy and, at least according to American shopping malls and radio stations, it begins somewhere right after the Fourth of July.  

For Catholics, the start of the Advent season is joyous and you can Share Your Christmas Traditions with The Catholic Review.  For others less connected to Christianity, Christmas songs bring them closer to the faith, even when they’re unaware. Bing Crosby’s version of  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” for instance, covers you like a warm blanket.

The right tune can lift up even the most dampened spirits.  Other songs, however, can have us all murmuring “Bah! Humbug!”

So, over the next few days, I thought I’d share my favorite Christmas tunes, but start with the five songs that have me scrambling for the off button.

Without further ado… THE WORST CHRISTMAS SONGS. EVER. (P.S. if you think I’m crazy or can do better, post your comments below!)

5. Santa Baby: It’s the song that makes everyone uncomfortable at the office  Christmas karaoke party. I once played Santa. Never again.

Do we blame Eartha Kitt?

4. Baby It’s Cold Outside: We get it, dude. The date didn’t go that well. Step away from the door and let her go home already.

3. Wonderful Christmastime: No one writes catchy melodies like Paul McCartney. Hardcore Beatles debate whether he was the best band member. When critics create pros and cons lists for McCartney, “Wonderful Christmastime” has to be No. 1 on the cons.  The song is three minutes of a McCartney, what appears to be pogo ball and some jangling bells battling it out for most annoying noise. By the time you’re done reading this, you’re undoubtedly singing “Wonderful Christmastime’s” hook. Sorry about that.

2. Crabs for Christmas: It’s so Baltimore, it’s almost making fun of it. The 1990s area hit is the handwork of David DeBoy. Thick “Balmer” accents abound. It’s the localized “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.” That’s not a good thing.

Check out George Matysek’s The Narthex blog for more on the Christmas wreckage, er, message.

1. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas: Written by John Rox and performed by 10-year-old Gayala Peevey, this 1953 song is like an audio sledgehammer to the head.   I can help but visualize Peevey running around the studio playing air trombone like she’s in the marching band. It plays to the worst commercialism aspects of Christmas. Peevey sounds like Veruca Salt before she longed for a golden goose.

  1. Casey says:

    I love Christmas music — I’m a total sucker for carols. But certain songs (or artists) just cross the line when it comes to taste.

    For example, I’d like to recommend the following overlooked songs (the ones that make “Dominick the Christmas Donkey” seem like Handel’s “Messiah”):

    – “Christmas Eve in Washington” by Maura Sullivan ( http://www.christmaseveinwashington.net/ ) — this is DC’s sappy, schmaltzy answer to Baltimore’s “Crabs for Christmas”

    – “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNsvE33pRSw ) — where do I even begin? This song makes me simultaneously depressed and offended… and it also makes me change the station every time.

    – “Grownup Christmas List” by Amy Grant ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmF2rsDHOZc ) — alright, I’m noticing a trend here…. maybe I just have a problem with pure sappiness.

    – “8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikOWQ9YIb-A ) — You think “Santa Baby” makes you feel dirty? This is a much worse combo of materialism, smut, and stupidity.

    PS: There is a difference between an over played song and a *bad* song. It’s not a good song’s fault if it get’s too popular and then became annoying. 😉

  2. Chris Gunty says:

    Only five “worst Christmas tunes”? I don’t know where to start.

    “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” for its sheer brutality.
    “Jingle Bell Rock” for its register on the annoying meter.
    “Dominick the Donkey,” as mentioned by the previous commenter, for its inanity.
    “This Christmas,” for its sheer stupidity.
    The barking dogs’ Jingle Bells, well, just because.

    This is all from someone who really likes Christmas and Christmas music. My iTunes Christmas playlist has 225 songs for 13.7 hours of music. You just won’t hear any of these (and several others) in that list.


  3. […] Palmer’s take on the worst holiday/Christmas songs got me thinking about two versions of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s […]

  4. […] week ago, I shared my list for top five worst Christmas songs. Now, here’s the best part, literally. These are my favorites, a list to surely debate below […]

  5. loved the cd format and the accompaniment was vastly superior. Everyone liked this cd better than the other xmas one rec’d. We really enjoyed this one.

  6. […] Best and Worst Christmas songs Part I: The Worst December 20104 comments 4 […]

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