Home The Soapbox Friday List: Our picks for the worst in Christmas music

Friday List: Our picks for the worst in Christmas music


The Friday List is a recurring feature in which we jog memories, spark thoughts and perhaps generate debate in one of the grandest formats devised by man … the almighty list. Are we missing something? Are we dead wrong? Offer your thoughts on the list du jour by heading to the Valley Review’s Twitter or Facebook pages.

Black Friday brings more than retail warfare.

It’s also the day when seemingly half of your radio stations switch over to Christmas music for a full month of jingle, jangle, ho ho happiness. 

Christmas certainly has more songs than any other holiday, though after a couple weeks, it becomes painfully clear there are just not enough to hold down a 24-hour format. It’ll be the same songs over and over and over again until the calendar flips to 2020. 

In some cases, we’re OK with the frequency. In other cases, we’re reaching for the ear muffs.

Hey, it’s Friday. Let’s take a look at some of the worst in Christmas music — and in list format.

“Wonderful Christmastime” 

In any debate as to Paul McCartney’s songwriting expertise, this piece will forever more provide the lead contrary argument. It’s pure schlock. And for one month a year, have a simply wonderful time trying to avoid it. For some reason, it’s played at a rate of about every fifth song from here until the end of December.

“Christmas Shoes” 

Don’t get us wrong, it’s a fine piece of lyrical storytelling. It paints a mental picture. It elicits emotion. The problem? You’re in high spirits after “Holly Jolly Christmas” and it hits the air waves while you’re about three minutes away from Kwik Trip. There’s no good way to explain why your a blubbery, crying mess while trying to pay for your Tornado and milk in a bag. It’s a song without the right occasion. 

“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”

It was funny the first time you heard it. That was 15,472 times ago.

“Santa Baby”

It’s wildly inappropriate.  Some ideas are just better to let pass and one of those would be, “The one thing Christmas radio is missing is a good gold digging tune …” Furthermore, Santa Claus is not to be sexualized, except perhaps by Mrs. Claus. And even in that case, we don’t want to hear it.

“Little Drummer Boy”

We’re not ones to get into theology, but no Bible I ever read, nor has any nativity scene included Lars Ulrich. Secondly, it’s annoying. It’s as if it was written on a dare to see how many times one could squeeze “pa rum pa pum pum” into a single track. And finally, is drumming for babies really a thing? 

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

It’s not a Christmas song, but it was adopted into the mix somewhere along the line based on its cold weather themes. It’s garnered some controversy of late in the #metoo era. Let’s just admit it. It’s always been creepy, but like many things, we overlook it because it’s tradition.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

I enjoy the guitar work in this piece. But every time it plays, my mind wanders into the mystery of what rocking around the Christmas tree actually entails. Do we put up the horned hands? Do we stomp and swing as if in a mosh pit? As for a plus, it was pointed out that the line, “later we’ll have some pumpkin pie” sounds like “later we’ll have some f’n pie.” Frankly, it’s a more interesting song that way.

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

As far as traditional Christmas songs go, it’s fine. It hangs well in the background and doesn’t garner much thought. But if we examine and consider the lyrics, it’s a touch bizarre and doesn’t seem to fit with the Christmas spirit. The song follows a rowdy crowd that goes up to a house with forceful demands for figgy pudding. The song goes on to explain how the homeowner capitulates in knowing this crowd will not leave until their demands are satisfied. The lesson, I think, is don’t screw around with an angry pudding starved crowd.