Five Christmas Songs That Should Be Retired

Candy Canes
Look! Candy Canes!

This year has been the first time that I’ve actually had a job during the holiday season, and alongside the valuable set of skills I’ve acquired through the experience it has opened my eyes to a very large problem with our society today: the issue of all-day christmas music radio stations and the nature of their intentional ignorance and laziness. For the past two weeks I’ve heard just about every Christmas song out there get played twice a day, five days a week in a seemingly fixed rotation where the on-air personality is only present to remind you of what station is providing this oddly specific brand of torture. The good news is that it’s not that difficult for me to make it through the day there because I love listening to Christmas music.

Something special happens in Christmas songs where everybody is hoping for the circumstantially wonderful thing to happen, and that communal feeling of safety and joy is a beautiful thing to experience in song. The bad part is that not every Christmas song actually accomplishes this today despite the fact that they are all still played equally and frequently. This list features both songs which have become overly-offensive and songs which had only succeeded in the first place because of their shock value, and argues that there comes a point in time where the tradition or novelty of a song needs to be overlooked. Here are five Christmas songs which should be retired.


1. “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

This one hurts me because I actually love this track for it’s unique qualities: The over-lapping vocal style forces it to be a duet and the conversational style of the lyrics is a classic quality which made it so popular in the first place; but it’s time for it to be retired unfortunately. A lot of people have recognized the potential rape-iness of the situation with lyrics like “Say, what’s in this drink” and the unsupportable line of “The answer is no/ But baby it’s cold outside“. It sounds bad, but I don’t think that the song really had this mentality in mind when it was made as much as it was just created in a time when people interacted differently. It’s supposed to be about convincing her to stay for the night, but times have changed enough so that it’s now become an obviously inappropriate song which goes against current moral standards. Modernizing it is an option but those never seem to work out, the best case of action would be to take it out of the radio rotation completely and allow audiences to play it only if they so choose.

2. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

This one cracks me up all the time because it’s not even close to being a Christmas song besides the fact that the man happens to be Santa Claus. It’s the story of a girl who goes downstairs to see her still-married mother kissing a married man. Yeah that’s not what the sound suggests, but it’s exactly what the lyrics say is currently happening alongside the danceable beat. The daughter experiences what would probably be an understandably traumatic moment for any child, but we hear it as a Christmas song where she sings “Oh what a laugh it would have been/ If Daddy had only Seen/ Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night”. The naiveté of that belief is comparable to the naiveté of believing in Santa.

3. “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”

This song is hysterical, and I love the fact that it’s actually become popular, but unfortunately it needs to be retired at this point because it is simply not a Christmas song. It’s more like a song which mocks the mentality of basically every other Christmas song out there actually, and that’s hysterical because the way that Santa exists in this song is that he’s the guy who did a hit and run on this boy’s grandmother. Nothing else happens on this Christmas day except for the death of his grandmother, and the narrator sums up the situation by singing, “And we just can’t help but wonder/ Should we open up her gifts or send them back”? This one deserves it’s place in the hall of fame of Christmas songs, but it can’t be played on the radio twice a day or else it loses it’s luster. It should be brought out once a year by clever DJs who got stuck working the night shift on Christmas at their station.

4. “Blue Christmas”

This song needs to be taken out of the Christmas rotation because it’s way to sad to be a Christmas song. Look at the video below and tell me that it doesn’t make you miserable that they actually put a permanent teardrop on the little girl’s face while she draw her gift, a picture of herself crying signed with the words “Blue Christmas”. It sends a pretty strong message, but the fact of it is that I don’t want to think about the possibility of that scenario happening to me or anyone I love during the holidays because this is the time of year where everything is supposed to work out. If I went into this season thinking that this could happen to me on Christmas I would feel consistently bad and scared, and I wouldn’t want to hear this song twice a day to remind me of that possibility.

5. “Dominick the Donkey”

It was really funny the first time I heard it, but how in the hell have I heard this song more than 10 times by now? Why can’t I write a song about Comet the Christmas Caterpillar (a song which has better alliteration might I add) and get it played on the radio twice a day? Because that’s already been done and no one would want to hear it more than once? I agree. Please stop playing this song now so that I can actually enjoy the absurdity of somebody playing it once every ten years, which is pretty much what it was created for.

Did I miss anything that you hate? Do you suddenly want to come to my house for a routine caroling trip? Do I have an oddly specific analysis for songs that are just supposed to be about Christmas dude? Let me know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Five Christmas Songs That Should Be Retired”

  1. Very Very funny. I’ll pay you to keep “Santa Baby” off the air by Ughhh! I can’t even type it… Eartha Kitt must be well, you know..

  2. Thank you very much! “Santa Baby” would have probably made this list if I had thought about it at the time when I was writing, that song makes me cringe every time I hear it. Great nomination!

  3. You make some great observations, Kyle. The celebration of Christmas is based on traditions and nostalgia, and where that applies to music, many Christmas-themed songs that become popular for a any period of time become, for this reason, holiday “standards.” It’s good that you have called this practice into question, because the sentiments and even melodies of some Christmas songs do not hold up so well over many years. Even if I or others have a slightly different list of songs we could do without, thanks for reminding us that we don’t have to give marginal, dated Christmas songs a pass just because they’re about, or take place during, a cherished holiday. (For the record, the worst offender in my opinion is “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong, which drowns the hope and joy of Christmas in the cold reality of a broke child coping with his mother’s terminal illness. What a great sentiment while trimming the tree!)

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