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4 Christmas Songs That Should Make You Uncomfortable (UPDATED!)

“Joy to The World” might be my favorite Christmas song. One thing it has going for it is that it’s actually about Christmas. There are a few Christmas songs, though, that really give me the heebie-jeebies (do people still say that?) every time I hear them. Here’s my (somewhat Grinchy) list of Christmas Songs That Make Me Uncomfortable:

1) “Last Christmas” – This isn’t even a real Christmas song. Just because the lyrics have the WORD Christmas doesn’t make it a legitimate Christmas song. Replace “Christmas” with any other holiday, and you’ll quickly realize how terrible this song is. Example:

“Last Christmas [Easter/Memorial Day/Arbor Day], I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away
This year to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special”

Here’s a thought: Quit playing fast-and-loose with your heart. And how about instead of foisting your heart onto whoever you happen to run into around Christmas, keeping a lid on your affection until the other party, you know, seems interested? (Spotify link to “Last Christmas”)

2) “Santa Baby” – Ew. That whole song is just plain icky. I ain’t saying she’s a gold-digger, but she ain’t messin’ with the Easter Bunny. (Spotify link to “Santa Baby”)

3) “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Sounds like the beginning of a lengthy and tragic divorce process to me. In the immortal words of Antoine Dodson, “Hide your kids! Hide your Wife!” (Spotify link to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”)

***Edited 3:38 PM, December 15***

I can’t believe I forgot to include the song that inspired this post! Big thanks to JaneTV for mentioning this song in the comments!

4)”Baby It’s Cold Outside” – First of all, again, this is not a Christmas song. The only remotely Christmas-y reference is that, well, it’s cold outside. Just because the song references snow, doesn’t make it a Christmas song. And call me paranoid, but this sound has always sounded date-rapey. Sung as a duet, this song has the tone of a sweet, wholesome conversation, but let’s take a quick look at the lyrics (female part in pink, male in blue):

  1. The neighbors might thinkBaby, it’s bad out there
  2. Say, what’s in this drink? No cabs to be had out there
  3. I wish I knew howYour eyes are like starlight
  4. To break the spellI’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
  5. I ought to say no, no, no, sirMind if I move in closer?
  6. At least I’m gonna say that I triedWhat’s the sense in hurting my pride?
  7. I really can’t stayBaby don’t hold out
  8. [Both sing together] But baby, it’s cold outside

Let’s begin with line 2: Proof that hip-hop is not responsible for the practice of getting girls drunk in order to lower their inhibitions. This tactic was earnestly, if not cloyingly sung about in “Baby it’s Cold Outside” by all of the big crooners between 1944 and 1949. Also, wouldn’t a gentleman simply offer to drive the young lady home? “Good luck catching a cab, toots” seems to lack chivalry, no?

Line 3: Blatant, empty flattery. Unless he’s referring to the three-mile gaze of a mildly intoxicated woman, in which case, comparing her eyes to “starlight” is a stretch.

Line 4: Here, let me begin to help you out of your clothes. Aren’t you lucky to have a selfless fella like me around to think about your needs? By the way, have I paid you a blatantly empty compliment yet? Your hair looks….swell! (Replace that line with something along the lines of “girrrrl, that a** looks good!” and you’ll get a better sense of how I feel about this.)

Line 5: This is where I begin to lose hope for our young lady. In cases such as these, a firm, clear “No” is best. But after hearing no three times, does the young man have any sense? No, no no, he does not.

Line 6: She’s already bargaining with herself about how to justify what she knows is about to happen. I’ve actually done this before. (It’s shameful and humiliating.) And our Don Juan plays probably the oldest trick in the book: You’re Going to Hurt My Feelings!

Line 7: And this is where it becomes actually confrontational, and we should all feel very uncomfortable. She indicates her desire (or lack thereof), and he simply directs her that her resistance is unacceptable. He might as well be saying, “you know you want to.” How…sweet? Hardly.

Line 8: A sweet device that ends the confrontation (and is repeated throughout), keeping us from totally committing to thinking this date-rapey situation through to its end.

So why, exactly, is this playing all around us at Christmastime? (Spotify link to “Baby it’s Cold Outside”)

Thoughts? Any Christmas songs rubbing you the wrong way? Share ’em in the comments, por favor!

m

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15 Comments

  1. “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is pretty graphic. Who wants to hear about that every holiday? Also, “Baby it’s Cold Outside” kind of sounds like a date rape song. Hm… “Say, what’s in this drink?”

    Reply
    • Ha! “Baby it’s Cold Outside” was the song that inspired this post, and I completely forgot to include it in the list! It was playing at the cafe I was at, and I thought “Eww, date-rapey!” And I def. agree on Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.

      Reply
  2. Matt Skow...

     /  December 15, 2011

    “Linus and Lucy”

    Just because it’s from a Christmas movie, doesn’t make it a Christmas song!

    Reply
  3. I’ve heard several people say the same thing about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”–and I agree–but you’re the first person I know to talk about how totally weird and inappropriate “Santa Baby” is. Uncomfortable is right; what a bizarre song.

    On the other hand, although I find “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” kind of annoying musically, I don’t think it’s implying what you think it is. It took me a long time to get it, but I think the point of the song is that the dad is playing Santa and the little kid sees him kiss the mom and doesn’t realize it’s his dad because he thinks Santa is real. That’s how I understand it, anyway, which makes it kind of cute, I think 🙂

    Reply
    • Yeah, I was just going to make the same point as you about “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. I think it’s a song you can only really appreciate if you actually know the real story. The trouble is that parents can’t really tell children the true meaning of the song because that would mean telling them that Santa isn’t real, but that also means that those kids could very well grow up and never be explicitly told what the song means, meaning that a bunch of people think the song is really about infidelity around the holidays. It’s all-around problematic, really lol.

      Reply
    • Brandon

       /  December 19, 2011

      I also came to this thread to say just this.

      Reply
  4. This is hilarious! I never thought of Baby it’s cold outside as a date rape song, but looking at it with you breaking it down totally makes me laugh- you
    Are so right!!! Bahahaahahaha. And I say heebie jeebies all the time. 🙂

    Reply
  5. I never really thought about it before but yeah Santa Baby is a bit weird.
    Can’t go through Xmas without Wham!, Pogues and Mariah’s All I want for Christmas. Actually I heard she just re-released it I can’t believe it was first released back in 1994. God I feel old.

    Reply
  6. Josh L

     /  December 17, 2011

    The winter theme of “It’s Cold Outside” never really bothered me simply because so many songs from this time of year are really just about winter (Let it Snow, Winter Wonderland, Frosty, Jingle Bells, etc.) But yeah, when I realized that one of the lines for the song was “Say, what’s in this drink?”, that caused an aural double take.

    It’s interesting that some of the modern versions of the song alter the drink and cigarette lines. Guess they wanted to make it a little less creepy.

    Though (double standard aside), it did lead to this amusing Gap commercial:

    Reply
  7. lucyglib

     /  December 21, 2011

    THANK YOU. I have been saying this about ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ for years. Glad someone agrees! No means no, fellow, even when the snow is up to my knees out there.

    Reply
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