Christmas Songs

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WARNING: Never, ever listen to this.
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"All of a sudden there comes Christmas, and there is an absolute tidal wave of darling little girls and sweet little boys making millions of dollars on records singing enchanting little Christmas songs that are perfectly nauseating."
Anna Russell
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In the days when sales of vinyl singles really did control the position of songs in the charts, Christmas was the time when Glurge-laden songs topped the charts for weeks as children bought them for grandparents (and grandparents for grandchildren). Ubiquitous in stores, malls, and practically every other place with a PA system in November and December. Every so often somebody will pen an Anti-Christmas Song as an antidote, but the only real way to escape the onslaught is to become a Hikikomori - or go off the grid entirely - for two months a year.

Nevertheless, everyone's got an album that they lovingly pull out from the bottom of the CD cabinet when December rolls around. Despite all the cheap, irritating, and soulless renditions (and re-renditions, and re-re-renditions ad nauseum) to be heard all over the place during the holiday season, the original simple melodies are still there, just waiting to be heard and to remind us why these songs really are merry and bright.

In other words, when done right, these are still indisputably Awesome Music.

By the way, traditional hymns centered around the Nativity are the actual Christmas carols. Tunes about snowfall or Santa are just plain ol' Christmas songs (or, in some cases, winter songs).

Trivia note: At the end of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army reached the outskirts of Saigon, the American Forces Radio Service had to alert Americans in the area without panicking the local populace, all while in the process of smashing their equipment and recordings. As one Vietnam vet put it, he knew the end was near when AFRS began playing Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" in April.

If you're looking for the story by Charles Dickens, that's A Christmas Carol. (Except when it's Yet Another Christmas Carol.)

Examples of Christmas Songs include:

Straight

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But I'd never steal from Santa, 'cause that ain't right
So I headed home to mail it back to him that night
But when I got home, I bugged, 'cause under the tree
Was a letter from Santa that said the dough was for me!

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  • Anyone else have a soft spot for Twinkle Twinkle Little Me? It's beautiful.
  • "Silent Hill", by Thomas Howard. No relation to the actual Silent Hill.
  • Oddly enough, "When You Wish Upon A Star" is considered a Christmas song in Japan, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The star referred to is probably the star that led the Magi.
    • In Scandinavia it's possibly tied to Disney's tv special "From All of Us to All of You", a perennial must-see.
  • The Nutcracker Suite, by Tchaikovsky. Either the straight orchestra version, or various interpretations. Notably, a swing version originally peformed by Les Brown and his Band of Renown, later played by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
    • There Is also a Jazz Rendition of the whole Suite that was arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn as apart of the album Three Suites that includes a Jazz rendition of Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite" and "Suite Thursday" his tribute to John Steinbeck. You can hear the whole thing starting here.
  • "Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters. Borderlines on Glurge (because of the way it's sung more than the lyrics; this is the Carpenters, mind you).
  • Probably worth mentioning here but there is actually a Mariasama ga Miteru Christmas Album. No original songs but several of the seiyuu singing Christmas Carols.
  • "I'll Be Home for Christmas", which debuted during the height of World War II.
  • "Some Children See Him", one of a number of carols written by Alfred Burt. Can be Glurge-ified because of its Anvilicious socio-political message.
  • Coldplay's "Christmas Lights" provides us with yet another example of heartbreak at Christmas.
  • Angels and Airwaves' "Star of Bethlehem". In the album's final release, it was split into two songs: "Star of Bethlehem" and "True Love".
  • "We Need a Little Christmas", written for The Musical version of Auntie Mame.
  • Carbon Leaf's Christmas Child album has several original Christmas and winter-themed songs, including the title song about a child counting down the days left, and "Red Punch, Green Punch" about the type of family Christmas parties you find boring as a child but fondly look back on later.
  • Auld Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg is technically a Christmas song, as it mentions that the events of the song happen on Christmas Eve (Probably because the songwriter needed something that rhymed with "sleeve"). The song is actually about a guy who runs into an ex-girlfriend by chance and the two of them spending the evening catching up on what they've been doing since the apparently amiable breakup.
  • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. It's a song that gets played all the time on the radio. It also serves for a crazy dance.
  • "Jingle Bell Rock"
  • "March of the Toy Soldiers"
  • "Frosty the Snowman"
  • "The 12 Days of Christmas"
  • "Winter Wonderland"
  • "My Favorite Things", taken from The Sound of Music
  • "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas"
  • "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
  • "I don't want a lot for christmas... there is just one thing I need...". Listen to the radio regularly during December, and you will DEFINITELY hear this song.
  • "Guanaguanare", by Jesus Avila.


Parody/Humorous

  • "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" by Dr. Elmo
    • And the sequel song, "Grandpa's Gonna Sue the Pants Off of Santa"
    • There was... an acoustic blues version of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" done by Poe
    • Dr. Elmo also made a 2000 election version - cue the hanging chad jokes.
    • This troper also swears he heard another sequel song: "Please Don't Make Me Play That Grandma Song Again" (That one, I can believe.)
      • You are correct. This troper has it on CD; Dr. Elmo takes the role of a beleaguered radio DJ who is weary of playing that song. The self-deprecating humor (he criticizes his own singing) is brilliant.
    • Da Yoopers did a parody called "Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck."
    • You know what? He released an entire album this troper had when he was young. Not all of them were specifically sequel songs, but all but one of them were parody songs. It was pre-2000, but it had the other two songs already mentioned. The latter one was sung as a radio request DJ rather than as Dr. Elmo, though.
    • A parody of a parody: "Grandpa Got Runned Over by a John Deere" by Cledus T. Judd. And yes, it's still a Christmas song... sorta.
    • There was also (during the height of their career) a parody song called "New Kids Got Run Over By A Reindeer" ...
  • Most of the Bob Rivers catalogue.
  • Bob Dylan Must Be Santa. Nothing like a good old-fashioned Hanukkah themed Christmas song!
  • Jethro Tull with their whole Christmas Album (though a few almost play it straight, at least in spirit).
    • Also, 'A Christmas Song' one of their earlier songs (reworked on the Christmas Album). Starts off as a traditional carol and then changes theme.
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Once in Royal David’s City
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby.
You’d do well to remember the things He later said.
When you’re stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties,
You’ll laugh when I tell you to take a running jump.
You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making;
The Christmas spirit is not what you drink...

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...[outro] Hey, Santa, pass that bottle will you?

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The four calling birds were a big mistake / for their language was obscene / the five golden rings were completely fake / and they turned my fingers green!

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  • The Twelve Pains of Christmas.
  • Thrash band Whiplash has a song called I Hate Christmas, with arguably one of the greatest lines in all of music: "Jingle Bells, I'll see you in Hell!"
  • Rhan Wilson's Altared Christmas series. The gimmick? What if you played Christmas songs in a Darker and Edgier minor key? It's a lot better than it sounds, that's what.
  • You Ain't Getting S*** for Christmas. The song is hilarious when ma "Takes the two fruitcakes and the turkey and throws them out the front window."
  • Ray Stevens has several, including "Xerox Xmas Letter," (an over-the-top Christmas letter for "Nightmare Before Christmas" (where he dreams that a bunch of lawyers take Santa to court for wearing fur, smoking, working only one day a year, etc.).
  • The Jingle Bell Barking Dogs.
    • And their feline counterparts.
  • There is a disturbingly hilarious parody of "Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland" called "Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear", about crossdressing.
    • That's courtesy Bob Rivers, a parodist who basically makes a living off of songs like "Grabbe Yahbalz" ("Grab your balls like Michael Jackson! Fa-la-la-la-la...), "The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen", and, most brilliantly, "O Little Town of Bethlehem" set to the tune of "The House of the Rising Sun", with a pretty good Dylan impersonation.
  • And let's not forget "Monster Holiday", the Christmas-themed sequel to "The Monster Mash".
  • ACDC gives us "Mistress for Christmas", which (as one might have guessed from an AC/DC song) is less about the "Christmas" part and more about the "Mistress" part.
  • "Please Santa Claus" by Anna Russell.
  • The 12 Guido Days of Christmas.
  • "No More Christmas Singles", the Spitting Image... er... Christmas Single.
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No more Christmas singles
They're worse than any war
If we hear Aled Jones again
We'll throw up on the floor

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  • The entire Oi to the World album by the Vandals, but especially "My First Christmas As a Woman".
  • "Elf's Lament" by Barenaked Ladies and featuring Michael Buble.
  • This commercial for (the fake) "The Sharks A Capella Holiday Album". It manages not only to make fun of and lampshade holiday songs and albums, but also the commercials that are used to peddle them as well.
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Announcer: Yes, vocal tones so unique and distinctive, only your dog can truly appreciate them!

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  • The Twelve Days of Christmas with Doug and Bob McKenzie, aka The Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas.
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On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 5 GOLDEN TOQUES!
...and a beer.
...in a treeeeee...

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  • I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus, by Stand Still.
  • Make A Daft Noise For Christmas and Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me (about "a most immoral Santa") by The Goodies.
  • Hark, how the WAA all seem to WAA, joining in rhyme. WALUIGI TIME!
  • 1960s garage-rock band The Sonics did "Don't Believe in Christmas", airing typical holiday disappointments to the tune of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business".
  • "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
  • Kip Addotta's I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus. It's actually Mommy in disguise.
  • The Venezuelan song' "Tun-tun", about a grouchy Scrooge type complaining about all the people celebrating outside and disrupting his sleep. It includes the verse (translated) "If the Kid[1] has born/ then you go to Bethelem/ and me, from my bed/I'll give you my bless".
  • Comedy Choral group Folie Vergue Takititá have a very funny set of parodies of popular Christmas songs that gets updated every year. It includes an awesomely dirty version [dead link] of the "Rudolph the Red-noised Reindeer" song, where turns out that Rudolphs's problem is very tiny.
  • The comedy group Medioevo have "Mi Alegre Parrandón", a parody of the typical cutesy spunky carol by Los Tucusitos and similar children groups, where the "kid" singing ask for such gifts as anticonceptives for her sister (also a second hand bike "so her boss don't have to bring her in the early morning"), a battery radio and a number of personal effects for "[her] brother who is so innocent]" who is now in the Model Prison, and a grill and a big jar of Adobo for her mom to help her with her skewers-selling stall near the Universitary Stadium. It ends with the "kid" having to be forcibly shut up while giving her Long List of wanted Christmas gifts, so the chorus can wrap up the song. Have a Vocaloid version!
  • "The Season's Upon Us" by Dropkick Murphys.

Glurge-laden

These are very much YMMV. One person's Glurge is another person's Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Please don't natter about how you disagree with an entry.

  • The "Coventry Carol" is probably the oldest of these songs. It was originally part of a stage play written in the 16th century; the song is essentially about the Massacre Of The Innocents that takes place after the birth of Jesus.
  • And that old classic, I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas. It sounds like a funny parody, except that hippos are one of the most aggressive and dangerous animals on the planet. Not so funny anymore, is it?
  • "Grandma, We Love You" by the St. Winnifreds Girls' School Choir went to No.1 in the UK.
    • It's not even the strangest thing to have got to No.1 in this country. Our charts are weird.
  • "Granddad" with Clive Dunn likewise.
  • "River" by Joni Mitchell.
  • Almost every song about New Year's Eve, although not directly related with Christmas, but in some countries begins to air about the same time. The glurgiest one is "Faltan Cinco Pa' Las Doce", whenever is the Jose Luis Rodiguez's version or the original one by Nestor Zavarce, who in Venezuela is ritually broadcast into any radial New Year Countdown ever.
  • "Christmas Shoes", the only mainstream radio hit by Christian pop group Newsong, is a story told by a man who was griping about the shopping crunch, reminded of the True Meaning of Christmas by an extremely poor little boy trying to gather enough change pennies to buy shoes for his mother who might very well die on Christmas Eve. Not only glurgy, but also highly manipulative and depressing.
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Little boy: Daddy says there's not much time / You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile / And I want her to look beautiful / If Mama meets Jesus tonight.

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    • There is also a good chunk of possible Values Dissonance; in at the end of the song the narrator concludes that God arranged the whole thing, tragedy included, to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
    • Also the assumption that Jacob Marley Apparel is in effect and that Jesus is shallow enough to care. Oh, and let's not forget that the poor kid is not only about to lose his mother, but blow the last of his cash just to make her smile one last time when he's going to sorely need it to help keep himself alive very soon.
  • "Grown-Up Christmas List", originally performed by Natalie Cole and David Foster but a favorite of cheesy, melisma-loving pop singers everywhere.
  • "Happy Birthday, Jesus" by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Starts out as a cheesy version of the standard Happy Birthday song, and by the time it gets to the lyric "I'm so glad it's Christmas / All the tinsel and lights / And the presents are nice / But the real gift is you" you will probably want to kill.
    • It's usually performed at Christmas concerts by the absolute youngest member of any given choir, too. So imagine those lyrics sung in a wavering, high-pitched falsetto to get the full effect.
      • Another "Happy Birthday, Jesus" was recorded in 1959 by an intolerably sweet moppet called Little Cindy. She was a child evangelist apparently, with a godawful (fake?) Southern accent: "She said you was so awful good/ And then she made me crah/ She said they nailed you to the cross/ They wanted you to dah." It was recently re-issued by John Waters in a compilation album of bad Xmas recordings.
      • And yet another version of "Happy Birthday, Jesus" features an insufferable little boy gaily singing about how he got only one gift that year, his mother's aforementioned song.
  • Another one for the pile: "Merry Christmas" by the Christian band Third Day.
  • "Christmas in the Northwest" by Brenda White. This troper's from Seattle, and cannot go the Christmas season without hearing this song. "Christmas in the northwest / is a gift God wrapped in green!" Gag.
  • "Christmastime in Arkansas Again". A syrupy-sweet reflection about Christmas and an unashamed tribute to the state of Arkansas, with a locally famous weatherman named Ned Perme on piano.
  • "The Cat Carol". Sweet Jesus, "The Cat Carol".
  • "Ven a mi casa esta Navidad" by Luis Aguile, about the singer offering a friend away from their family to spend Christmas with him and his family, fits somewhere between Glurge and Tear Jerker. Most singers covering this song go with glurgey.


Other

  • "I Hate Christmas Parties" by Relient K. It's about as cheery as it sounds.
  • "Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" by Type O Negative is a dirge-like remembrance of people in the singer's family who've died in the last year. It may be the single most depressing Christmas song ever.
  • "Yule Shoot Your Eye Out" by Fall Out Boy. Contains lyrics such as 'Merry Christmas, I could care less' and 'all I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me, before you bury yourself alive.'
  • "Santa Stole My Girlfriend" by The Maine. The title is pretty self-explanatory. Chorus calls Santa an obscene name.
  • O Holy Crap. Good lord, good lord.
  • Jackson Browne's "The Rebel Jesus", originally recorded with Irish folk group The Chieftains for their Christmas album The Bells of Dublin, and then again as a solo version. Listen to the original here and the remake here.
    • Speaking of that Chieftains album, it also includes a hilarious collaboration with Elvis Costello called "St. Stephan's Day Murders". Christmas is over, and a few members of the family have had it with holiday cheer.
  • The Nostalgia Chick did a countdown of the Top Ten Most Disturbing And Inescapable Christmas Songs. With all the Glurge and creepy messages the titular songs featured, it's probably no wonder that she filled it with Dead Baby Comedy and horrific imagery.
  • Pictured above: The Star Wars album Christmas in the Stars, which is not quite as infamous as the Star Wars Holiday Special but comparably misconceived (at least they don't sing about "Life Day" here). It featured the voices of Anthony Daniels and, on "R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas," an 18-year-old named John Bongiovi.
  • "White Wine in the Sun" by Tim Minchin is not exactly a parody, and not entirely straight, and not at all religious Christmas song. It's also an absolute tearjerker.
  • Dar Williams' "The Christians and the Pagans" depicts a pair of neo-pagan (and quite possibly lesbian) women spending Christmas Eve with one's devoutly Christian uncle and his family, and how they're able to overcome their respective cultural differences and enjoy the season together. It leavens its moral message with gentle humor, and is a genuinely great song.
  • In Venezuela, Gaitas Zulianas are often lumped with other Christmas songs, despite most of the songs that are not about partying, how great singing Gaita is or current issues are about either Our Lady of Chinquinquirá (November 18), San Benito de Palermo (December 27), and New Year's Eve.
  1. Baby Jesus, the traditional gift bringer in Venezuela