The holidays are here, complete with twinkly lights on every house, eggnog in every fridge, and holiday music playing in every store, not to mention all the amazing holiday classics showing on TV, complete with sappy romantic scenes and adorable kid actors who totally steal the show.
Twinkly lights are beautiful, eggnog is delicious, and holidays movies warm everyone’s heart. But have you ever really stopped to listen to all the popular Christmas songs? These classic carols have some weird, creepy, and downright sexually specific lyrics. How strange is your favorite holiday tune?
17. “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
People have finally started to call this song out for what it is: at worst, a date rape anthem, and at best, a terribly misguided attempt at seduction. A couple is on a date and the woman says she needs to leave to go home, but the man is not taking no for an answer. The popular movie Elf compounds the creep factor with this song during the singing in the shower scene. Last holiday season, one couple actually rewrote the classic carol with new lyrics emphasizing consent.
Sample lyric: “I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?) / At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?)”
16. “Santa Baby”
Also in line with creepy seduction songs… there’s this one, featuring who I imagine to be a girlfriend, wife, and/or mother flirting with Santa Claus to get what she wants for Christmas. You’ve heard descriptions of Mr. Claus, right? He’s not exactly up for the Sexiest Man Alive award. I guess if someone was in the market for a sugar daddy, good old Kris Kringle might be right up their alley.
Sample lyric: “Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me / Been an awful good girl / Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight”
15. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Hot take: the mommy seen kissing Santa Claus by the child singing this song is the woman from “Santa Baby” singing about hitting on Santa to complete her Christmas list. I mean really, how many mothers out there are really dreaming of catching Mr. Claus under the mistletoe? It can’t be that many. She’s pretty careless, too, making out with another man under the same roof as her baby daddy and her children. Also, would it really be “a laugh” if Daddy saw Mommy cheating on him? We don’t think so!
Sample lyric: “Then I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus / Underneath his beard so snowy white / Oh, what a laugh it would have been / If Daddy had only seen / Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night”
14. “Frosty the Snowman”
Finally, a holiday song that’s creepy for reasons other than sexual inappropriateness! Instead, this song is creepy for bringing an inanimate object to life, letting children play with and fall in love with it, and then killing it off. True believers will say he’ll come back next year when the kids make a new snowman, but will they need the same exact corncob pipe and button nose? What if they misplace the old silk hat? Kids are not known for their organizational skills.
Sample lyric: “Frosty the snowman / Knew the sun was hot that day / So he said, “Let’s run / And we’ll have some fun / Now before I melt away””
13. “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”
This song really needs no explanation for its weirdness factor…it’s literally about someone’s grandmother having too much to drink, wandering outside, and being killed by Santa and his reindeer flight crew committing vehicular homicide. Thus, everyone is in mourning for Christmas—and the singer and grandpa definitely believe in Santa now. What better way to become a believer than to lose a beloved member of the family? Happy holidays!
Sample lyric: “When we found her Christmas morning / At the scene of the attack / She had hoof-prints on her forehead / And incriminating Claus marks on her back”
12. “Blue Christmas”
This song is just depressing. Elvis Presley’s crooning voice does a great job singing a sad Christmas song, even if it is limited to two rather brief verses. The King must have known that people could only take so much sadness in a holiday melody so he wrapped it up pretty quickly. Also, if anyone else has seen Graceland at Christmas, it might be blue, but not because it’s sad; it’s decorated with lights for the holidays.
Sample lyric: “I’ll have a Blue Christmas without you / I’ll be so blue thinking about you / Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree / Won’t be the same dear if you’re not here with me”
11. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
Just what the world needs, an all-knowing old guy checking up on all the children. Does he really have to see everyone when they’re sleeping? Can’t he just check kids’ report cards and ask their parents how many times they were grounded this year? Threatening kids that they “better watch out” and “better not pout”—otherwise the implication is that Santa won’t visit them this year—doesn’t seem like the healthiest disciplinarian measure.
Sample lyric: “He sees you when you’re sleeping / He knows when you’re awake / He knows when you’ve been bad or good / So be good for goodness sake”
10. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
This song is strange because it’s really unclear. Is the guy going to make it home for Christmas or not? The melancholy melody certainly seems like he’s sad about missing it, but the lyrics are pretty contradictory. The pictured GIF is clearly from the Jonathan Taylor Thomas movie by the same name, which is also pretty strange when you think about it…why were so many (three is a lot, okay) New York-based students driving cross-country home from their California college instead of taking a plane?
Sample lyric: “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams / I’ll be home for Christmas / You can plan on me”
9. “Twelve Days of Christmas”
This singer’s significant other is very generous, celebrating not one but twelve days of Christmas and supplying gifts on each day, but generosity does not equate to romance. The first seven days are literally birds — “five golden rings” is not jewelry, but a reference to a ringed pheasant—and then the last five days are people. No one would be happy to have (or has room for) that many birds and that many people, as this Vimeo clearly demonstrates, and as Andy memorably learns when he’s Erin’s secret Santa on The Office.
Sample lyric: “On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me / a partridge in a pear tree”
8. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”
This entire song is an extended insult directed toward Mr. Grinch. Yes, to be fair, he is quite mean in the beginning, but for anyone who’s watching the movie, he’s mean as a result of the horrible bullying he experienced as a child. Therapy would have been good for him. Fortunately the holiday spirit gets to him before the end and his small hearts grows three sizes, so hopefully, the town of Whoville stops taunting him with this terrible tune.
Sample lyric: “You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch / Your heart’s an empty hole / Your brain is full of spiders / You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch /I wouldn’t touch you with a / Thirty-nine and a half foot pole”
7. “Last Christmas”
Yet another depressingly lonely holiday hymn. What kind of person rejects someone who professes their love to them the day after Christmas? Someone who doesn’t deserve to kiss anyone at midnight on New Year’s Eve, that’s for sure. I really think this singer should reconsider giving their heart away on Christmas again, though. It might seem romantic at first, but really everyone is just so stressed around the holidays.
Sample lyric: “Last Christmas, 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”
6. “All I Want for Christmas is You”
Mariah Carey, desperate much?! This song is intended to be sweet, but it just comes off as clingy and hopeless. Wanting a person for Christmas is not the same as wanting a toy, and standing around waiting for someone to run into you underneath the mistletoe is creepy. Go get him, girl! Then again, I just cautioned the previous singer from giving their heart away on Christmas again, so what do I know?
Sample lyric: Oh, I won’t ask for much this Christmas / I won’t even wish for snow / I’m just going to keep on waiting / Underneath the mistletoe
5. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
My only real issue with this song is the reference to “scary ghost stories.” Who tells scary ghost stories on Christmas? Yes, I know Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol involves three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, but I don’t think this song is referring to that… or is it?? If someone could clear that up, I could probably take this song off the weird list! Although the idea of there only being one day for the happiest time of the year is kind of a sad idea to me, too.
Sample lyric: “There’ll be scary ghost stories / And tales of the glories of the / Christmases long, long ago”
4. “Holly Jolly Christmas”
To set the scene: a woman is waiting under the mistletoe for a specific gentleman (as I’ve already stated, I don’t support this method of getting your crush), and the singer wants this gentleman to give her an extra kiss from him? Just seems a little slimy to me. Also, is there supposed to be innuendo by including the word “ho” in the same line as mistletoe and a female suitor?
Sample lyric: “Ho, ho, the mistletoe / Is hung where you can see / Somebody waits for you / Kiss her once for me”
3. “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas”
I guess when this song was released in 1992, we weren’t faced with the ever too common occurrences massive gun violence, so giving a faux pistol to a little boy was PC. And, you know, feminism must not have mattered since all the little girls want are dolls. Though tbh I appreciate the comment that the parents really just want the kids back at school and out of the house.
Sample lyric: “A pair of hop-along boots and a pistol that shoots / Is the wish of Barney and Ben / Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk / Is the hope of Janice and Jen / And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again”
2. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”
Here we have another Christmas song about bullies! Of course, Rudolph with the funny nose ends up being a hero, but why were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen allowed to be so mean to him? Santa or Mrs. Claus or a kindly elf really should have stepped in and put an end to that. (P.S. Did anyone else look out their window as a child on Christmas Eve specifically trying to spot a red light in the sky??)
Sample lyric: “All of the other reindeer / used to laugh and call him names / they never let poor Rudolph / join in any reindeer games”
1. “Little Saint Nick”
Only the Beach Boys could sing a song naming Saint Nicholas’s sleigh “Little Saint Nick.” This song has always bothered me because it makes me imagine Santa as someone having a midlife crisis who purchases a red motorcycle to try to be cool. A motorcycle wouldn’t be a very practical vehicle to hold toys for all the children in the world.
Sample lyric: “Just a little bobsled we call the old Saint Nick / But she’ll walk a toboggan with a four-speed stick / She’s candy apple red with a ski for a wheel / And when Santa hits the gas man just watch her peel”.