The holiday season is a time for family, presents, and goodwill to all mankind. But as some of these songs show, it can also be more than a little unsettling. And not just ‘Santa made you sit on his knee longer than was comfortable’ unsettling: a whole new level of creepy that doesn’t fit with the Christmas spirit at all…
5 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
If there was any Christmas song that definitely resulted in years of therapy, this was it. A child creeps downstairs when their parents think they’re asleep to discover their mum making out with an old fat guy. Years of ideas about what Father Christmas should be are thrown out the window as they see the magical, jolly bringer of presents with his tongue down mommy’s throat. Either that, or she’s just dressed the gardener up and they’re trying out a little role-play.
But then, there are the lines ‘Oh what a laugh it would have been/If Daddy had only seen.’ This kid’s a psycho! They know that what Mum’s doing is wrong, but they wish their Dad had been there to see everything?! Is there something kids find hilarious about adultery? Maybe they’ve been wanting their parents to divorce for ages and this is catalyst. All Mum needed to do was get freaky with a mythical holiday figure, and if the Easter bunny wasn’t game than we can rely on old Saint Nick.
4 – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Picture the scene. You’re sat at home by a blazing fire, wearing your favourite Christmas jumper and sat watching It’s A Wonderful Life. Or The Only Way is Essexmas if you’re also a moron. There’s a knock on the door, and you make your way past your 50-foot Christmas tree to answer it. Ah look! Carol singers! And they all look so merry! They’re bringing you glad tidings, how pleasant and festive. And for you AND your kin? Generous too. Hold on, now they’re asking you to bring them some figgy pudding. Wait, what? Who just has figgy pudding lying around? And now they’re saying they won’t leave until they get some. They keep repeating the line; you try to call the police, but they’re already in the house! This is a full-scale home invasion, and your lack of seasonal pudding is to blame.
Ok, so that’s an exaggeration. But the song is still distinctly un-festive when you listen to the lyrics properly, and that’s precisely the sort of nightmare scenario that could result from it.
3 – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
This one doesn’t sound too bad at first. The only creepy part at first glance is how the band themselves look like they’ve come straight from a weeklong Lord of the Rings convention: the lyrics are relatively harmless. It’s when you stop to consider the connotations that things get a little horrifying.
Is there anything you love enough to want to experience every single day? Steak? Skiing? The nuanced wit and fierce social satire of the Adam Sandler tour-de-force I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry? If you said you can, you’re lying. Christmas EVERY day would be a never-ending nightmare. You’re stuck in a festive Groundhog Day-style time loop, and there’s no Bill Murray to ease things along.
An eternity of drunk grandparents, crass commercialism, board games, leftovers, unwanted presents, disappointment and that feeling of being full that’s gone past satisfying and into uncomfortable. Absolutely fine once a year, but beyond that, fear for your sanity.
2 – Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Combining everybody’s favourite parts of the holiday season: callous murder and elderly alcoholism. Grandma stumbles out of the house blind drunk, much to the stunning indifference of her relatives, and is bludgeoned to death by a reindeer stampede. The song even mentions ‘incriminating Claus marks on her back’. I don’t even wanna think about what the hell that means Santa did to her before she died. Let’s just say if this was CSI they’d be whacking out the blacklight at this stage.
The family take her brutal death to be a sign that Father Christmas exists. That must be the lesser-known 6th Stage of Grief that most of the experts ignore. How is this healthy? Granddad doesn’t give a shit: he’s already drinking and gambling with his cousin. What might be scariest is the lack of inquiry into the murder: everyone must just accept this story unquestioningly. Maybe it’s set in a town that’s plagued by frequent festive deer stampedes, and they’re all just numb to it. That would explain why the family’s biggest concern is whether they should give Grandma’s presents back or not.
1 – Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Though not an obvious choice, this was actually written with the intention of it being a Christmas song. It’s also the only Christmas song to my knowledge that involves date rape. Don’t remember that part? Let me refresh your memory.
So most of the song is a charming back-and-forth between a man and the female love interest that he doesn’t want to leave his house. Ostensibly this is because the weather outside is frightful, but certain lyrics suggest we’re a bit closer to the plot of Misery at this point.
At about the one-minute mark, the woman asks the man ‘say, what’s in this drink?’. Alarm bells should be ringing at this point, especially since the man skirts over this question and never mentions it again. Even the look-at-how-kooky-I-am-ness of Zooey Deschanel can’t make this any less disturbing, especially when she’s paired with the ridiculous Leon Redbone, who has the voice of a talking oil spill. The line comes right after the woman asks what the neighbours will think, and she later says that her family will start to worry if she doesn’t come back soon. Resourceful girl! She’s let as many people as possible know where she is so that if this psycho decides to turn her into a coat he’ll be caught quickly.
The song swiftly becomes a slasher movie you can’t control. Our Yuletide Hannibal Lecter won’t stop talking about how delicious her lips look and other ‘compliments’ that scream “would you like me to show you to the basement?”, while the woman keeps making excuses to leave, presumably while running everywhere, falling over a lot and wearing minimal clothing. Presumably in the end she risks it and flees the house, freezing to death in the process. Merry Christmas!