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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

The NC Double Scrooge: Songbook Division

Submitted by on December 15, 2010 – 9:22 AM154 Comments

I've made my feelings about various Christmas songs clear elsewhere, so I won't belabor the point, but today's the day in the NC Double Scrooge on which we formally censure the holiday tunes we hate the most. I've never even heard "The Christmas Shoes," but y'all seemed to feel quite strongly about it, so now's your chance to throw it into a semifinal.

Tomorrow, we'll vote on Christmas movies and specials; finals start soon!

NC Double Scrooge, Songbook Division: Please Pick The Three (3) WORST

  • "The Christmas Shoes" (12%, 400 Votes)
  • "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" -- I mean…no (12%, 381 Votes)
  • "Wonderful Christmastime," Paul "Smugbob Casiopants" McCartney (9%, 286 Votes)
  • "Do They Know It's Christmas?," Band-Aid (9%, 279 Votes)
  • Traditional hymns like "Lo, How A Rose" cheapened by pop-star over-singing (7%, 238 Votes)
  • "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" -- and it was fucked up (7%, 234 Votes)
  • "Baby It's Cold Outside" -- because nothing says "the holidays" like date rape (6%, 192 Votes)
  • "Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg" (4%, 126 Votes)
  • "Last Christmas," Wham! (4%, 119 Votes)
  • "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" -- all versions (and the naughty/nice wordplay they bring with them), but especially Springsteen's yelly iteration (3%, 104 Votes)
  • "Little Drummer Boy" (3%, 95 Votes)
  • "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," John Lennon (3%, 90 Votes)
  • "Feliz Navidad" (3%, 88 Votes)
  • "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and the derfy "like Monopoly!" interjections (2%, 74 Votes)
  • "Jingle Bell Rock" (2%, 74 Votes)
  • "Meli Kalikimaka," in which Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters insert an earwig that will not work itself loose until Easter (2%, 62 Votes)
  • "Here Comes Santa Claus" -- seriously? "Santa Claus Lane"? What is he, the Easter Bunny? The idea of Elvis humping Santa Claus does not roast our chestnuts (2%, 61 Votes)
  • "Blue Christmas" (1%, 44 Votes)
  • "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" (1%, 43 Votes)
  • "Auld Lang Syne" -- sounds like an old-timey disease (1%, 36 Votes)
  • Anything Dolly Parton or Willie Nelson sings (1%, 33 Votes)
  • "Frosty the Snowman" (1%, 31 Votes)
  • "I'll Be Home For Christmas" (1%, 30 Votes)
  • "Christmas in Dixie" (1%, 25 Votes)
  • "Mary's Boy Child," Harry Belafonte (1%, 23 Votes)
  • "Santa's Beard," the Beach Boys (1%, 19 Votes)
  • "Christmas in My Hometown," Charley Pride (1%, 17 Votes)
  • "Sleigh Ride" (0%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,104

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  • Isis Uptown says:

    I've made my feelings about Rudolph clear elsewhere. As to Paul McCartney, he's my sixth favorite Beatle. (George, John, Stu Sutcliffe, Ringo, Pete Best, then Paul.)

  • Tisha_ says:

    How is Christmas Shoes NOT "winning" this???

    Also, anyone ever heard The Cat Carol?

    OMG, it's TOTAL cheeseball, but makes me cry even just reading the words. I guess I'm more of a sucker for a mouse and a cat than a small child whose mom is dying and needs shoes.

  • Randall says:

    I would vote for "The Christmas Shoes" 3 times if I could.

  • exilednzer says:

    Wonderful Christmastime makes me want to stab somebody, I swear to God.

  • Stella says:

    For some unexplained reason, I have always LOATHED "Wonderful Christmastime"… glad to see I'm not the only one!

  • Anlyn says:

    Is "Sleigh Ride" what I call "Winter Wonderland", i.e. walking in Winter Wonderland?

    I hate that song because it's one of the most popular for reinterpretation. EVERYONE sings that damn song, and there are a million different versions, and the radio and department stores play every single one. Rot in a barn, Parson Brown.

    I also can't stand Frosty. Never did like that song, though I used to cry at the movie when I was a kid. I tried watching it a few years ago, and my god, I couldn't sit through it. Ugh.

    Hate Rudolph and Jingle Bells. Jingle all the way up your ass. Bah, humbug.

    Also voted for the traditional hymns cheapened by pop-star oversinging, because those are why I quit listening to the radio during Christmas. And why I need to track down original Christmas classics/carols for my iPod.

  • Sandman says:

    Good grief, who'd have guessed this choice would be the hardest ever presented by the N. C. Double Anything? Please tell me the stakes are that everyone remotely connected with the finalists gets coal in his or her stocking FOREVER? I may have to vote for the Andrews Sisters just on general principles. How anyone ever found their hectoring, nasal "stylings" attractive is beyond me. HAAATE.

  • Melissa says:

    See, this was hard because I love most Christmas music. I even listen to the 24-hour Christmas stations voluntarily. But…oh my god, the Christmas Shoes! It has to be the worst song ever written. My "favorite" part is when the guy thanks God for bringing the boy to him to show him the meaning of Christmas. Yes, let's thank God for killing off some little dirty boy's mother so this other random schmoe can feel properly Christmasy!

  • Oblique Red says:

    OMG THREE IS NOT ENOUGH. Do I vote for the songs that themselves fill me with rage (the Orwellian nightmare "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", the nonsensical "Little Drummer Boy", the unsettlingly-Oedipal "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") or the ones with interpretations that make me want to claw out my own ears? (horribly oversung, this one's for you!)

    Although, "Smugbob." heh. So true.

  • JK says:

    @Randall. Me too. I heard it for the first time last year, and it is stunningly bad.

  • jennie says:

    Can I vote for more than three? Gah. Also: does anyone else hate Manheim Steamroller as much as I do? Anlyn – they're two different songs, though very similar in content. Sleighride is the "It's lovely weather for a sleighride together with you" one, but you hear it without words a lot too.

  • cmcl says:

    I can't believe "The Christmas Song," more commonly known as "Chestnuts Roasting" wasn't included here. I would cast a thousand unrepentant votes for that. It's the one Christmas song that literally makes me groan out loud any time I accidentally hear the opening strains of it. HATE.

    I actually love most other Christmas songs. The juvenile ones like "Batman smells" and so forth are annoying, but since I no longer hang around playgrounds, I'm not usually subjected to them.

    P.S. I secretly loved "New Kids Got Run Over by a Reindeer" when it came out.

  • Profreader says:

    I couldn't vote for "The Christmas Shoes" since I've managed to avoid hearing it so far. Of course now I'll end up getting stuck in an elevator or something and forced to listen.

    Anlyn: "Sleigh Ride" isn't the same as "Winter Wonderland" — it starts out "Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you…" The most hilarious version of this that I've heard was by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme – there are whip sounds (like whipping the horses…?) with Eydie laughing maniacally, "Oh, STEVE…" It's not hard to imagine the two of them indulging in a little, uh, unusual whip action.

    A friend of mine has an enormous retro Christmas album collection, and every year makes mix tapes of the most horrible selections. One bizarre album was an actor — Gabby Hayes? or Walter somebody — I'm blanking right now, but a character actor known for playing the miner-fortyniner types in Westerns — declaiming monologues over music. One went something like, "Welp, none of the kids came back to the farm for Christmas, so I'm out here all alone, sitting in the barn…" You were pretty sure by the end of the song he was going to be swinging from the rafters…

  • Erin in SLC says:

    Question for y'all: what's your take on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," particularly the depressing Judy Garland version vs the cheered-up Sinatra version? I love the former; the latter annoys me simply because of its attempt to whitewash the whole song with happy. It's not supposed to be happy!

    On another matter, I confess that I would mainline Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" and even Celine Dion's version of "The Christmas Song" directly into an artery. Something is seriously wrong with me.

  • Carrie says:

    I am so glad I am not the only one who thinks Baby, It's Cold Outside is a date-rape anthem. Right up there with It's Now Or Never. Really, Elvis? Your love won't wait?

  • TashiAnn says:

    This was the first round where I had selected way more than three options. This one was really hard.

    There is a radio station in Las Vegas that from the day after Thanksgiving and then all through the New Year plays Feliz Navidad on constant 24/7 rotation.

  • attica says:

    I ultimately didn't vote for 'carols mangled by pop stars', because there are some that I actually like. (No, not Stevie Nicks's.) Give me Alison Krauss singing anything, and I'll moon by the phonograph like that cock-eared dog in the ads.

    But geez, having to choose between Lennon's faux-prole wheeze and McCartney's jingly elf? (On Casio! Hee!) That's a hard fricking call. Three votes are never enough.

  • kategm says:

    Oh…so many songs to hate on.
    Also, I'm fairly certain my little sister had that N'Sync Christmas album pictured up top.

  • Rinaldo says:

    Is "Sleigh Ride" what I call "Winter Wonderland", i.e. walking in [a] Winter Wonderland?

    No. Winter Wonderland is purely a song, with the lyrics as described. Sleigh Ride began as an orchestral piece by Leroy Anderson, master of what was once called "semiclassical" light instrumental novelty numbers. (He also wrote Syncopated Clock, Waltzing Cat, and lots of others.) This one is a peppy 2-beat job depicting an old-fashioned (surprise!) sleigh ride, with jingling sleigh bells, whip cracking, and at the end a horse's whinny. It was then adapted as a song with lyrics like "Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing / Ring-ting-tingle-ing too; / Come on, it's lovely weather / For a sleigh ride together with you." And so on.

    I discovered that I really don't hate most of these — unless they get overplayed, but I manage to avoid that by doing most of my shopping online these days. And as far as I'm concerned, the wrong Beach Boys song is on the list. I mean, "Santa's Beard" may be obnoxious but I've never heard it. Whereas "The Little Saint Nick" and "The Man With All the Toys" annoy me intensely (and I like the Beach Boys).

    Still, pop singers aiming to "style" the classics will always inspire my hatred. Especially "O Holy Night," with attempts at the high note at the end.

  • kategm says:

    Darn it. I forgot to add that while I hate both "Feliz Navidad" and "Mele Kalikimaka" on the simple grounds of earwig-itis, I cast my vote for "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Wonderful Christmastime," and "Happy Xmas (War is Over)." One: shut up Bruce Springsteen and suck a lozenge; two: my three-year old nephew's song about losing his blanket at Target and Walmart is better than yours, Paul; and three: why did Lennon decide that little kids screaming "Merry Christmas!" over and over again would be the best way to end an already-annoying song?

    I'm feeling very Scrooge-like right now.

  • MsC says:

    Aw, I love a lot of these, but I hate more than a few as well. 'Christmas Shoes' in particular is such a horrible, awful story.

  • Jeanne says:

    Christmas Shoes Christmas Shoes Christmas Shoes Christmas Shoes. Damn the souls of whoever wrote it.

    @Anyln I hate Winter Wonderland too! It makes my flesh crawl. I was eating lunch at a Subway a few years ago, and I heard three different versions of it in the space of 30 minutes. Same radio station. Parson Brown can kiss my lily white ass.

  • Grace says:

    Apparently, I've also been lucky enough to avoid ever hearing the "Christmas Shoes". Judging from the other comments, I probably would have ranked that among my top three choices.

    Most of my most-loathed Christmas songs are the ones I was forced to listen to on a 4 hour repeat cycle when I worked retail about 20 years ago (man, I'm old!). Everytime Bruce came on singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" I wanted to stab myself. Another one that I hated, and it seems to have disappeared into the mists of time is Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis". No thanks.

  • Katharine (not the first one) says:

    I hate them all. All. The only Christmas music I can stand, in small doses, maybe the two-three days before Christmas, is classical carols sung by classical voices, with maybe the occasional medieval carol sung by a capella chorus thrown in. Pop Christmas music is the fiery, demonic incarnation of Lite Hits Everyone In The Office Can Agree On, which already has a permanent place on my top first-world annoyances list.

  • PippiStardust says:

    I am surprised that "Santa, Baby" isn't on the list. It is HIDEOUS. I am not a particularly angry person, but whenever I hear that particular song in a commercial or a store, it… I just… FLAMES. FLAMES ON THE SIDES OF MY FACE.

    Truth – the weight loss commercial with Kirstie Alley singing Santa Baby in a little goo-goo voice may have precipitated my getting rid of TV altogether.

  • Southern Shannon says:

    I'm flabbergasted that Dolly and Willie get a named mention but Jessica Simpson and Mariah Carey do not. Half the smarmy holiday crap polluting the airwaves seems to originate from that godforsaken duo. I am, however, forever grateful that the heinous "Last Christmas" by Wham! was included. I hate that song with the burning fury of a thousand firey suns.

    I guess I'm one of the few that don't consider "Baby, it's Cold Outside" a date rape song. I think it's playful and flirty, but maybe I'm just a freak like that.

  • Duana says:

    What's that one "Driving Home For Christmas"? Makes me so, so crazy. May possibly have another title? Sounds like a Folgers commercial, only less invigorated.

  • Shannon says:

    I have no idea what song the Christmas Shoes is. I can't decide if I should wallow in my ignorance or google it.

    My number one vote was for Last Christmas. I have never understood why but in Italy they play it more than any other Xmas song. Constantly and everywhere. At least in the US if you go into a fancy-schmancy store you can hope for some traditional carols or maybe some classical music. Here – no – you get Last Christmas at least 5 times a day from December 1st through January 6th. Oh, and a few years ago they added a hip-hop version to the mix so that it could be played twice an hour instead of just once.

    ps-Santa Baby is missing from this list, both the Marilyn and the Eartha versions.

  • Miss Twitch says:

    No "Up On The Housetop"? For some reason, I've hated that one since I was a wee thing.

    Every year, I try to make a sport of avoiding "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," and this year it got me on December 1. I thought a sushi restaurant would be safe: I was wrong.

  • Pam says:

    Could have checked off every single option here. And how is it possible that I have never even heard a song that enlists so much rage amongst others ("Christmas Shoes")? Is this a regional thing? I have lived in various regions of upstate New York…

  • Carrie Ann says:

    If Christmas Shoes doesn't win this, that can only mean that the majority of the TN readership has never heard it. And that's awesome. Good for all of you, seriously.

    At least it brought me this:

  • Kate says:

    I noticed a distinct lack of "Dominic the Donkey" on the list. Hee haw, hee haw!

  • c8h10n4o2 says:

    I might be the only one, but the entire Johnny Mathis album would be my vote. That might have something to do with family car trips with two brothers during which we would listen to it in its entirety no less that 6 times, and sometimes more. I would kill that man with a flamethrower and bees if I could at this point.

  • Amy says:

    I work in a bakery (that's inside a grocery store), and I'm forced to listen to all of these over and over all day long. It's seriously the same few "classics" sung by different artists. There's a lot of Jessica Simpson and Taylor Swift. I'm not sure I can take it anymore.

    That said, "Santa Baby" would have gotten my vote, had it been in this list. It would have gotten ALL THREE of my votes, if that were possible. I hate that song so, so much.

  • Brandi says:

    Southern Shannon, we think alike. To me she does want to stay, but is worried about the stigma of GASP staying over with a man she's not married too! So it sounded date rapey to me.

    I'll join in the chorus of Christmas Shoes haters. I've blocked most of it from my mind, but recall that there was a damn made for tv movie so that song isn't just bad, it's lead to that radioactive turd to be re run every Christmas on the Hallmark channel to further torture people.

    Also hate Lennon's Happy Christmas, it's too damn depressing. And ask my husband about the spasms I have hearing that Paul McCartney dreck. That song on permanant repeat is my own private hell!

  • Brandi says:

    Damn! Didn't! Didn't sound date rapey to me!

  • Amanda says:

    I played "Sleigh Ride" four out of four years in high school band. I am a clarinetist. I still do not hate it enough to vote for it.

    I voted for "Meli Kalikimaka" because I laughed at the earworm thing. It got stuck in my head just seeing the title. That song is evil. I also voted for "Baby It's Cold Outside" because it's creepy, and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for the same reason. Have you ever heard the Jackson 5 version? Kill me now.

    Any vocal version of "Santa Baby" gets a write-in vote.

    @Erin in SLC: I like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" if it's instrumental. There's a nicely wistful version done by Jimmy Sommers and Chris Botti that I'm quite fond of.

    Most Christmas songs are improved if you take out the lyrics, come to think of it.

  • Sarah says:

    @PippiStardust- Me too! I read the list half a dozen times looking for "Santa Baby." Creepy, dirty, nasty song.

    So glad everyone else hates whatever starlet of the year's rendition of traditional hymns. Shove it!

  • Rinaldo says:

    what's your take on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," particularly the depressing Judy Garland version vs the cheered-up Sinatra version? I love the former; the latter annoys me simply because of its attempt to whitewash the whole song with happy. It's not supposed to be happy!

    Well… since you asked, I'm of two minds about this. Yes, the Garland (which is the irreplaceable rendition for me, and I'm not an automatic Judy-worshipper) is sad. But the song is a popular-style song, intended for the marketplace and to be sung outside its original context. So I can't be so definite about what it's "supposed" to be; it's deliberately written vaguely enough to leave the message up to the performer.

    Although… I don't recall the Sinatra version specifically, and maybe he goes too far? The lyrics seem to permit a warm, thoughtful smile as the basic attitude, but perhaps not gleeful merriment.

    Oh yes, "Santa Baby." I didn't mind the Kitt original recording — it was a surprising novelty in its shamelessly gold-digger attitude. But it seems to have been taken up without irony by songstresses who don't really notice what the lyrics are saying.

    Speaking of which, @Southern Shannon, I don't think there's a total consensus as to the subtext of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The NPR MonkeySee blog had an article a year ago that acknowledged "questionable sexual politics" but went on to enjoy many oddball renditions of the song, with YouTube clips.

  • adam807 says:

    Finally an easy one! There are Christmas songs I dislike, but Feliz Navidad, Wonderful Christmastime and Christmas Shoes shoot to the top of things I LOATHE year-round.

    I'd add that new "Holiday Oh Holiday" song that's currently in heavy rotation in a couple of different commercials, which might even be worse than the McCartney, who at least has the warm associations of being an ex-Beatle to fall back on.

    I'll defend "Do They Know It's Christmas" to the death. Not because it's good but because it's so 80s-tastic. It delights me in the same way songs by most of the people on it delight me.

    HOW have you avoided "Christmas Shoes?" LUCKY!

  • Nicole says:

    How is "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" not on there?

    That song is guaranteed to get stuck in your head until at least Valentine's Day. It was my college roommate favorite Christmas song and, although I love the girl, I was always ready to kill her by Christmas Break. She would actually put it on REPEAT! and listen to it to study for finals. I get a little stabby just thinking about it.

    Other than that, I love most Christmas songs…the cheesier the better. But I did have to vote for "Christmas Shoes". It's just plain wrong.

  • Isabel C. says:

    I like most Christmas songs, hate the pop attempts–SHUT UP CELINE DION, GO BACK TO 1995–and really loathe the, well, glurge-y ones. Therefore, Christmas Shoes (glurge-y and creepy), Happy Xmas (glurge-y and smug*) and Do They Know It's Christmas (glurge-y, smug, condescending, uses the phrase "clanging chimes of doom"…and yet instrumentally catchy enough that I won't be able to get it out of my head FOR YEARS NOW.

    *Part of Lennon's Glurge-y and Smug Phase, actually, along with "Imagine", which is, like, the anthem of Don't Wish Me Merry Christmas You Stupid Sheep Guy.

  • Isabel C. says:

    Furthermore: these are not the Christmas songs I hate most. The Christmas song I hate most is a rap song called "Fax the Facts to Santa Claus," because I had to sing it in the fifth-grade pageant and therefore have it stuck in my head forever, and nobody else has ever heard it, thus rendering my pain incomprehensible unless I sing it to them.

  • Rachel says:

    I had to vote for "Here Comes Santa Claus" on the grounds of offensive lyrics – and I'm not even religious any more. But I can't let something like "So let's give thanks to the Lord above 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight" pass. Can't do it.

    @Southern Shannon: Right there with you, especially on Mariah. Just because you can shove that many sixteenth notes in there, doesn't mean you should.

  • Suzanne says:

    omg "Baby it's Cold Outside" … HATE!

    Seriously. Nothing says Christmas like date rape.

    I really can't stay – Baby it's cold outside
    I've got to go away – Baby it's cold outside

    So really I'd better scurry – Beautiful, please don't hurry
    Well maybe just a half a drink more – Put some music on while I pour

    The neighbors might think – Baby, it's bad out there
    Say, what's in this drink – No cabs to be had out there



    (Baby) Jesus wept.

    Here are the full lyrics:

  • adam807 says:

    @Nicole. Oooh, YES. "Hippopotamus" is my sister-in-law's favorite. I'd never heard it until she came into my life and I was APPALLED.

  • Dayna says:

    Oooh, the hideousness of the xmas song. Every year, I work for a Christmas decorator. Because we decorate hotels, stores and large houses, we start decorating at the beginning of November and everywhere we go, there are the songs. Hateful, creepy, overwrought songs. (Hint: Never work for a Christmas decorator, it will turn you into Scrooge faster than anything and no visits from Christmas ghosts will change you back.) In addition to the list above, Santa Baby and All I Want For Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth need to go. Now. Arrrgh! There are other songs, a lot of which are on the list, but those two in particular are like fingernails on a blackboard to me. And they seem to be in constant rotation. Please make it stop! Heh.

  • Kriesa says:

    Re: the Rudolph interjections… do people still say "…glee, like the toothpaste!" the way we did when I was a kid, since Glee toothpaste doesn't exist anymore?

    I'm wondering how long artifacts like that last… we used to pull each others' hats over our eyes and say "The lights went out in Brooklyn!" We didn't have a clue why we were saying it, it had just been passed down from kid to kid. Or, when we on the swingset, and the two kids' swings would synchronize, we'd say "Get off my party line!" without having an inkling what a party line was.

    So, has Glee the toothpaste survived in the Rudolph song?

  • Janie says:


    Like daggers in the ears, it is.

  • LLyzabeth says:

    Ha ha! My sisters haven't chimed in yet, so I'll be first: "Little Heads In Bunk Beds." For some unGODly reason this song was on an (otherwise very nice) LP of Christmas music in our house growing up, it was only when I was in high school that our parents confessed "You know, that IS a horrible song, let's skip it from now on."

    I mean, it's this guy singing to his children about how sad it is that their Mom isn't around anymore (died? Divorced? Not…really clear..) and he tells them to get some sleep because "Tomorrow you'll meet your new mother."

    Arrgh, horrible messed-up song.

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