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What’s the worst Christmas song? December 8, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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I believe it was in the movie “About a Boy” that Hugh Grant plays a feckless playboy who’s constantly humiliated because the source of his wealth is a nauseatingly saccharine Christmas song that became a huge hit for his composer father. Everywhere Hugh goes, they’re playing the sickening song.

Our friend Ben is sure that the inspiration for this part of the plot must have been either “Frosty the Snowman” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But there’s plenty of competition, and not just in English. (“Petit Papa Noel” and “Kling Glockchen” come to mind.) “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “Nothing but a Child,” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” are all enough to set our teeth on edge. And we especially hate when classic Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells” are performed super-fast as though to get them over with as quickly as possible, turning a normally inoffensive jingle into a nerve-jarring jangle.

Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood got into quite an enthusiastic discussion last night about whether “Rudolph” or “Frosty” is worse. We both think that “Frosty” is inherently worse, but the ear-shattering falsetto in which “Rudolph” is so often performed is enough to boost it to number one in the all-time-worst Christmas song category as far as we’re concerned. (Alvin and the Chipmunks, anyone?)

Our friend Ben has another issue with “Rudolph” as well: It’s misleading. In the song, Rudolph is an outcast, mocked and ignored by his fellow reindeer because of his, ahem, non-standard appearance. But once Santa is forced to rely on Rudolph’s red nose to steer his sleigh on a foggy Christmas Eve, he becomes a hero to his former tormentors.

I’m sure the author of those lyrics was thinking of his son (grandson, nephew, baby brother, whatever) when he wrote them, and was trying to suggest that once his true talent was recognized, he’d be a hero to his bullying classmates. And no doubt bullied and outcast children have been buoyed by the happy outcome of “Rudolph” ever since, thinking that if they could only get recognition and praise from an adult authority figure, as Rudolph did from Santa, their peers would suddenly welcome them to the in crowd.

Right. Imagine for a second what would happen to a child who was already outcast, mocked and bullied if suddenly a teacher showered attention and praise on them? It would be an excuse for the heartless pigs who already felt no compunction about their behavior to crank up the bullying and mocking to hitherto unprecedented levels. “Rudolph” is a recipe for disaster.

You might think that the best revenge would be the Bill Gates model, immortalized in that classic film, “Revenge of the Nerds.” Grow up to be Albert Einstein or Mother Teresa or, say, Jimmy Page, and see who was laughing at you then. Go back to your high school reunion with your honors and your millions, and smile benignly at the cheerleaders turned old before their time from waitressing and the football heroes serving out their time as Wal*Mart greeters. 

But our friend Ben doesn’t think that’s the real solution. It’s much more universal, and much simpler: Like who you are. Like who you are as a child, a teen, an adult, a retiree. How? First, know yourself. Then “to thine own self be true.” If everyone did that, accepted themselves for who they were, there would be no bullies, there would be no outcasts. There would be no prejudice, there would be no hatred. Everyone would be too busy happily living their own lives to be threatened by people who were different from themselves.

This post has strayed pretty far off-topic, but come ’round to a message that is certainly appropriate for the Christmas season, the season of goodwill. God bless us every one!

And anyway, which Christmas song do you think is worst?



1. What's the worst Christmas song? « Poor Richard's Almanac | Christmas Songs - December 9, 2011

[…] Read the rest here: What's the worst Christmas song? « Poor Richard's Almanac […]

2. h.ibrahim - December 9, 2011

Nice! I like the movie, Hugh Grant, the ingenue notwithstanding. For me the film is only partially about christmas songs some of which you quite rightly point out are dismal but it is more about how humans are only half humans without human endeavor.

Ha! You’re quite right, the whole song theme in “About a Boy” was very minor and simply added a bit of good humor. I suppose I remember it so clearly because it was the only part of the movie I actually enjoyed!

3. NancyO - December 12, 2011

The remake of “Santa Baby” is absolutely, hands-down, THE worst Christmas song of all time. Madonna takes a really bad song, previously performed admirably in velvety tones by Eartha Kitt, and misses the boat entirely in grating squeaks and squawks. She should have left well enough alone.

Yikes, Nancy, that does sound bad! Thank goodness we’ve managed to miss that one (so far, anyway).

4. William - December 13, 2011

Come on, there is one song that is truly the worst! “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” This is a horrible, horrible song. It was nothing more than a sales pitch to raise money for famine.

While on the topic, there are many, many bad Christmas song versions sung, especially by other modern artists. Can we call them artists?

This is one subject that an entire blog can be dedicated to.

I don’t know that one, William. I thought I’d been subjected to every awful Christmas song there was, but it looks like I’ve been spared a few!

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