It's always seemed to me, after all, that Christmas, with its spirit of giving, offers us all a wonderful opportunity each year to reflect upon what we all most sincerely and deeply believe in. I refer, of course, to money.
— Tom Lehrer, in the introduction to his song "A Christmas Carol".
What the Anti-Love Song is to Silly Love Songs, this is to Christmas Songs — parodying, satirizing or subverting the tropes and messages of conventional holiday tunes. Often involves mockery of the holiday's religious elements, criticism of its Merchandise-Driven commercialization, depiction of the social or familial dysfunction frequently cloaked (or exacerbated) by the seasonal ideal of "togetherness", and imagery of horror and violence in contrast to the usually peaceful tone of the holiday season. In short, the song form of Crappy Holidays. Bad Santa might be invoked. Sometimes there's overlap with Protest Song if the Anti Christmas Song is serious and political enough.
A number of Video Games have extra features which activate at Christmas (see Holiday Mode) and depending on the type of game and how it was designed, the music can become an Anti Christmas Song if the game is most certainly not the kind of game one would normally associate with Christmas.
Real-life versions of The Grinch tend to love these.
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In Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (IRL inspiration for the 1990s show), the Baltimore PD Homicide Unit have their own version of "Deck the Halls", which, as befitting people who's job it is to investigate a city with 234 murders a year, is extremely dark. The author says that at least this Xmas they didn't decorate the office tree with cardboard angels, their faces supplied by the morgue photos of the year's murder victims.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-lalalalalalalala, Talk to us and if you're willing, fa-lalalalalalalala, Tell us who did all this killing, fa-lalalalalalalala, Tell us how you want forgiveness, fa-lalalalalalalala, You don't know we've got a witness, fa-lalalalalalalalala, Talk to us you've nothing to lose, fa-lalalalalalalalala, Why is there blood on your gym shoes? fa-lalalalalalalalala, Want to make a good impression? fa-lalalalalalalalala, Make yourself a fast confession! fa-lalalalalalalalala!
Live Action TV
An exceptionally gruesome one from Scrubs, about the experience of being on-call in the emergency room on Christmas eve:
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Horrible Histories' Christmas special included a version of "Silent Night" describing Christmas in medieval times, with drunken peasants getting into fights, as well as one of "Good King Wenceslas" which debunks the carol's claims about said "king" (actually a duke).
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Frank hallucinating himself in a parody of the Rankin Bass Christmas specials where an elf sings an upbeat tune about how he should change his ways... or else the other four will eventually snap and horrifically beat and maim him to death.
Community: In "Regional Holiday Music", Abed convinces his Jehova's Witness pal Troy, through old-school rap, that he can join the glee club as a means of subverting and taking down the holiday from within.
Paul Simon and Steve Martin did something similar to Simon & Garfunkel's "Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night" for Saturday Night Live, with Simon singing "Silver Bells" as Martin gives a depraved monologue about the increasingly dysfunctional and appalling meaning Christmas has for him.
A 1990 SNL skit had a mock commercial for a Dysfunctional Family Christmas album, replete with such ditties as "Let's Pretend We Like Each Other This Christmas", "Ballad of the Co-Dependent", and "Can't You Let It Drop? It's Christmas!"
Daddy's nose is red and runny Daddy's voice is rough and funny And the only words I can understand Are "God" and "damn" and "Christmas".
Subverted by "Luk drømmene ind" from Christmas On Vesterbro. The beginning of the song, which is all you'd hear during the credits, sounds exactly like this, taking every old Danish christmas tradition and singing about how they suck. The chorus says exactly what's awesome about christmas, ending in the line "shut the fuck up, open your heart and let in the dreams"
Older Than Steam: The "Coventry Carol" features a mother singing her baby to sleep... shortly before he becomes one of the many children slaughtered in Herod's attempt to kill the newborn king. Not anti-Christmas, just a bit of Values Dissonance, since most people nowadays don't bring up the darker parts of the Nativity story on this cheeriest day of the year. There are also carols which talk about how the baby Messiah will grow up to be crucified, the most visible example being the "myrrh" verse of "We Three Kings", which some bowdlerised versions cut.
Erich Kästner (best known as a children's author) wrote "Weihnachtslied, chemisch gereinigt" ("Christmas song, chemically cleaned") in 1927, discussing the gap between poor and rich to the tune of a song ("Morgen, Kinder, wird's was geben") that eagerly anticipates presents to be brought by Santa Claus. The first verse goes like this:
Morgen, Kinder, wird's nichts geben! Nur wer hat, kriegt noch geschenkt. Mutter schenkte euch das Leben. Das genügt, wenn man's bedenkt. Einmal kommt auch eure Zeit. Morgen ist's noch nicht soweit.
(Tomorrow, kids, there will be nothing! Only those who already have shall receive. Mother gave to you your life, and that's enough, if you think about it. Someday, your time will come too. But tomorrow shall not be the day just yet.)
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (1944) started this way.
The song was originally written for the climax of the film Meet Me in St. Louis, where Judy Garland's character tries to comfort her little sister over the fact that this will be the family's last Christmas at home before moving to New York. Lyrics included lines like "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last,/Next year we may all be living in the past" or "Faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more." Judy Garland absolutely refused to perform the song until the lyrics were changed to something that wouldn't make her seem like a total monster. The film was released in 1944, during World War II, when everyone in the audience knew men serving overseas, and knew that it was likely that this merry little Christmas would be the last for some of them. Even the toned-down version had an emotional resonance that we today cannot fully appreciate.
Even in revised form, the song still contained the suicide-inducing line, "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow", so Frank Sinatra later had the lyrics modified even further (to the now-familiar "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough") for his 1957 recording.
Bob Dylan's cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" on an album of Christmas covers which was otherwise played straight, retained that particular lyric.
Spike Jones did multiple odd and humorous Christmas songs, including the now very-well-known "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" (1948) and the much-lesser-known "The Angel in the Christmas Play" (which is about a juvenile delinquent cheerfully recounting all the naughty things he's done in between announcing his role in the school pageant).
He also made a private parody recording of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" called "I Saw Mommy Screwing Santa Claus", which has unfortunately never seen the light of day.
"How I Hate to See Christmas Come Around" (1949) by Jimmy Witherspoon, a blues number in which the singer laments his lack of money for the holidays.
The 1951 movie The Lemon Drop Kid not only introduced the world to the holiday classic "Silver Bells", but also a parody version performed by William Frawley (yep, Fred Mertz himself) as an ill-tempered sidewalk Santa collecting charitable donations:
Silver bells, silver bells Let's put some dough in the kitty Chunk it in, chunk it in Or Santy will give you a mickey...
"I Got a Cold for Christmas" (1954), originally by the Ames Brothers and later recorded by The Three Stooges during their television age popularity:
All the other girls and boys Ran downstairs to get their toys But all I did was sneeze and sniff And use my Christmas handkerchief
"Nuttin' for Christmas" (1955) is sung by a little brat who not only revels in his wicked deeds, but also cheerfully lets a burglar into the house in exchange for a cut of the profits. They sing the last reprise of the chorus together. (The original version didn't have that ending, instead ending with the standard Aesop warning the listener to be good. The version with the burglar is performed by Stan Freberg, and it is much, much funnier.)
Robert Lund's "Nuttin' But Spam" (2003), in turn, is a takeoff on "Nuttin' for Christmas".
Stan Freberg's "Green Chri$tma$" (1958) has a "jingles all the way" medley of Christmas carols rewritten to sell products ("Deck the halls with advertising..."). Given that Stan made his name in advertising, this becomes a particularly focused Take That.
Tom Lehrer's very grinch-y "A Christmas Carol" (1959):
On Christmas Day you can't get sore Your fellow man you must adore There's time to rob him all the more The other three hundred and sixty-four.
It reaches the peak of brilliance when it starts deconstructing actual Christmas carols.
Hark the Herald Tribune sings Advertising wondrous things
God rest ye merry merchants May you make the yuletide pay
Angels we have heard on high Tell us to go out and buy
Miles Davis' "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)" (1962) finds vocalist Bob Dorough (of later Schoolhouse Rock fame) bitterly denouncing "all the waste, all the sham, all the haste and plain old bad taste" of the season.
"Merry Christmas, You Suckers" (1962) by Paddy Roberts.
Allan Sherman's "The Twelve Gifts of Christmas" (1963) replaces the traditional calling birds, turtledoves, etc. with various schlocky items (pair of teakwood shower clogs, indoor plastic birdbath, etc).
"Pretty Paper", written by Willie Nelson and popularized by Roy Orbison (1965), should be mentioned here, as it's about someone who's clearly not having a good time amid the celebration.
"Standing in the Rain" (1965) by Sydney ("Lord of the Dance") Carter:
No use knocking on the window, Some are lucky, some are not, sir. We are Christian men and women, But we're keeping what we've got, sir. No we haven't got a manger, No we haven't got a stable. We are Christian men and women, Always willing, never able.
"Whatever Happened to Christmas?" (1968), first recorded by Frank Sinatra and later covered by Aimee Mann, is technically not an Anti Christmas Song so much as a lament for the death of the singer's own Christmas spirit. In any case, one of the most depressing Yuletide-themed tunes you'll ever hear.
German singer-songwriter Reinhard Mey has one of these: "Abscheuliches Lied für abscheuliche Leute" (abhorrent song for abhorrent people), released in 1968, deals specifically with the fact that a large part of Christmas sales is made with toy military equipment, ending in these beautiful lines:
Im Warenhaus fiel drauf ein Schuss Da ward unschuldig Blut vergossen Da ward laut Aufsichtsrats-Beschluss Der Weihnachtsmann erschossen
(A shot was heard in the shopping mall Innocent blood was shed According to a resolution by the board Santa Claus was shot)
Joni Mitchell's "River" (1971) is the Tear Jerker version of this: it's Christmas and everyone's happy, except the singer, who had an awful breakup and just wants it all to go away.
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, from 1971, plays with this a bit; it's not strictly speaking Anti Christmas since the singer is wishing the listener a sincere Merry Christmas — however, the song is also nevertheless taking pains to remind them that the world is far from perfect, there's still a lot of war, misery and fear out there, and that the new year is an opportunity to make things better for next Christmas.
"The Twelve Drugs of Christmas" by the Mushroom Tabernacle Choir (1972).
"A Christmas Song" (1972) is a bitter rant about how people use the season as an excuse to get merry, whilst forgetting its true meaning.
"Ring Out, Solstice Bells" (1976), which reminds us that the merrymaking long predates Christianity anyhow.
Listen to Dr Demento. He can fill four episodes in a row with these songs.
Long before he performed Christmas songs with The Muppets, John Denver had a tender country ballad called "Please Daddy, Don't Get Drunk This Christmas" (1973), later covered by Alan Jackson.
Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" (1973) has a laid-off factory worker explaining to his daughter that "Daddy can't afford no Christmas here".
"Advent", a 1973 poem by Loriot, tells us the grisly tale of a forest warden being murdered by his wife on Christmas Eve.
John Prine's "Christmas in Prison" (1973) has its narrator spending the holiday pining for his sweetheart while incarcerated in the titular locale.
Gordon Lightfoot's "Circle of Steel" (1974) depicts a poor welfare mother whose husband or boyfriend is in prison, and who spends her Christmas sitting alone in a rat-infested tenement, drinking gin and waiting for the authorities to take custody of her newborn child.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" (1974) is a bitter, cynical tune about finding that the pomp and myth of Christmas never lives up to the promise. It shifts back to a (somewhat) hopeful note at the end, though. Something of a Broken Aesop because it's now as much of a Christmas standard in British shopping malls as Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody".
I wish you a hopeful Christmas I wish you a brave New Year All anguish, pain and sadness Leave your heart and let your road be clear They said "There'll be snow at Christmas" They said "There'll be peace on Earth" Hallelujah, Noel! Be it Heaven or Hell The Christmas we get, we deserve
Sparks's "Thank God It's Not Christmas" (1974) is both this and an Anti-Love Song: It's about a man who dreads Christmas because everything in town closes for the holidays, leaving him with no choice but to spend all day with his wife.
The Kinks' "Father Christmas" (1977) is about a gang of bitter poor children who mug a guy playing Santa, demanding not toys but money ("Give all the toys to the little rich boys").
But give my daddy a job cause he needs one He's got lots of mouths to feed
"First Christmas" (1978) depicts the holiday from the perspective of three different people, each of whom is spending his "first Christmas away from home": a college student working through his winter break, a teenager who's run away from her abusive father, and an old man in a nursing home. Not an anti-Christmas song, per se, but a damned depressing one anyhow.
She's standing by the train station, panhandling for change Four more dollars buys a decent meal and a room Looks like the Sally Ann place after all In a crowded sleeping hall that echoes like a tomb But it's warm and clean and free and there are worse places to be And at least it means no beating from her Dad...
More humorously, there's his "At Last I'm Ready for Christmas" (1982), about the last minute rush. "At last I'm ready for Christmas / and only two hours to go."
"Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" (1978) by Tom Waits.
Ren Hoek sings a song with the title "I Hate Christmas" on the Ren & Stimpy Christmas album (1993).
"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (1979) by Elmo and Patsy originally was intended as this, but nowadays it is increasingly accepted as a standard, if humorous, Christmas song. It even has spawned an animated Christmas special.
Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne" (1980) has the singer running into an old girlfriend at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. They share a few beers while going over old times, and it becomes clear that both of them have regrets about the way things have turned out (she's married to a man she doesn't really love; he's experiencing the lonely life of a traveling musician), and then it's time for them to say their goodbyes:
The beer was empty and our tongues were tied And running out of things to say She gave a kiss to me as I got out And I watched her drive away Just for a moment I was back at school And felt that old familiar pain And as I turned to make my way back home The snow turned into rain
"Christmas Wrapping" (1981) by The Waitresses, though the humbug attitude turns around a little by the end. The singer does say "Bah, humbug" is too strong because Christmas is her favorite holiday. She's just wiped out from the year and wants a quiet Christmas by herself.
A cover version by '90s ska-punk band Save Ferris changes the lyrics to reflect the perspective of a Jewish person in L.A. during the holidays.
The last song on Fear's The Record (1982) is titled "Fuck Christmas", with good reason.
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Pittsburgh)" (1982) by Bruce Springsteen describes a young woman sitting by a lighted Christmas tree thinking about her husband, who was killed in Vietnam, and their little girl, who "she's gonna have to tell about the meanness in this world."
Peter Schilling did a really depressing version of "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" in 1983.
Randy Newman's "Christmas in Cape Town" (1983) is sung from the viewpoint of a bitter Afrikaner racist in South Africa's apartheid era.
Band-Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (1984) is frighteningly depressing. Note that the song was written for a fundraiser to buy food for the people in that 'world of dread and fear' (A section of Africa suffering severe drought) that Christmas. The real tragedy lies in the fact that they forgot to organize a distribution network in Africa to deliver the food, so most of it ended up spoiling on the docks.
Spinal Tap's "Christmas with the Devil" (1984) is quite the charming ditty:
The elves are dressed in leather And the angels are in chains (Christmas with the Devil) The sugar plums are rancid And the stockings are in flames (Christmas with the Devil) There's a demon in my belly And a gremlin in my brain There's someone up the chimney hole And Satan is his name
Prince's "Another Lonely Christmas" (1984) — a song about a lover who died on Christmas Day.
Brazilian band Garotos Podres has the song "Papai Noel Filho da Puta" ("Santa Claus, Son of a Bitch") (1985).
King Diamond's "No Presents for Christmas" (1985). Christmas needs to be saved, and no-one cares.
Dutch comedian Youp van 't Hek had a song called "Flappie" (1985), about a young boy who loses his pet rabbit, but eventually finds it back at the Christmas dinner table.
"The Night Santa Went Crazy" (1994), is a bit less Anti-Christmas and more of a goofy, if dark, parody on Santa himself. The song is, straight enough, about Santa Clause going crazy and going on a murderous rampage through the North Pole. He takes the lives of many elves and reindeer in the process. Depending on which version you hear, Santa either gets arrested or killed. The later states how Christmas is gone for good then.
Weird Al no longer sings the first song, out of respect for 9/11 even though he did write the first song back in 1986, when those two words had a different meaning.
Woofing Cookies' "Santa Ain't Santa" (1986) has a kid waking up for Christmas to find out that his parents had been hacked to death and all the stuff had been stolen.
Da Yoopers' "Rusty Chevrolet" (1987) (a spoof of "Jingle Bells"). They followed with several on One Can Short of a Six-Pack in 1994, and an entire Christmas album titled Naked Elves in Cowboy Boots (2000). The latter included "I Want a Rinky Dinky Doo Dad for Christmas", about a kid wanting a Cool Toy.
The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" (1987) sort of combines this with The Masochism Tango: He's a bum and an alcoholic, she's dying because of her heroin addiction, and he ends the song realizing he won't survive without her. "I pray God it's our last", indeed. In Real Life, lot of people are miserable around Christmastime; the song throws a bone their way, so it probably comforts some people to know they aren't alone in their misery.
Quoth the music blog Cover Freak about the song: "This is one of those songs that just brims with holiday good cheer. Especially the part where he calls her an old slut and she calls him a cheap lousy faggot."
Wall of Voodoo's "Shouldn't Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas" (1987). The narrator's father receives the present mentioned in the title, gets into a drunken argument with "Uncle Jack", and quickly goes Axe Crazy:
He put two slugs in the neighbor’s door And kicked apart the manger scene The plastic Baby Jesus he blew to smithereens I can’t think of all the nine year olds who won’t be seein’ ten Or how he went-a caroling to the doors of now-dead men!
They Might Be Giants' song "Santa's Beard" (1988) is basically "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"...from Daddy's (unamused) perspective.
There's also the unreleased 1987 single "We Just Go Nuts at Christmastime", all about trying (and failing) to avoid arguing with relatives.
There's also "Careless Santa" (1995) by Mono Puff, John Flansburgh's side project, concerning a bank robbery gone awry because of an idiot partner dressed as Santa.
Finally, there's "Feast of Lights" (1999), best described as "We Just Go Nuts At Christmastime" for Jewish people.
The aforementioned song should not be confused with "I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas" (1949) by Yorgi Yorgensson, another song about arguing relatives, this one with a Swedish accent.
Bob Rivers and his comedy group are arguably the masters of this with their series of at least five Twisted Christmas albums from 1988 on, including such memorable titles as "The Twelve Pains of Christmas", "Wreck the Malls", "The Chimney Song", "Hey! You! Get Off of My House", and "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire".
There's a 1989 compilation of anti-Christmas songs, Bummed Out Christmas, featuring songs ranging from goofy novelties to serious songs (The Staple Singers' "Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas"), plus two songs about spending Christmas behind bars, and another serious contender for most depressing Christmas song ever, The Everly Brothers' "Christmas Eve Can Kill You."
Randy Stonehill has "Christmas at Denny's" (1989): "Then Lisa got killed by a car near the schoolyard, And my wife started drinking just to get through each day...Merry Christmas. It's Christmas at Denny's tonight." Oy.
The Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)" (1989).
Perhaps we give a little to the poor If the generosity should seize us But if any one of us should interfere In the business of why they are poor They get the same as the rebel Jesus
"The St. Stephen's Day Murders" (1991), by the Chieftains with vocals and lyrical input from Elvis Costello. How do they handle the Christmas swarm of annoying relatives? Poison their food!
Denis Leary gave us "Merry Fucking Christmas" (1992), named after the comedy special of the same name. It's a sarcastic ballad about how wonderful Christmas is despite how bleak and dreary society around it is. It ends with Denis himself punching out Santa.
Old Saint Nick's got bourbon breath It's so cold, you could catch your death A cop sold me some crystal meth, it's a Merry Fucking Christmas Everything's so Christmassy The streets are twinkling with frozen pee My priest just sat on Santa's knee, it's a Merry Fucking Christmas
There's got to be a build-up To the day that Christ was born The halls are decked with pumpkins And the ears of Indian corn Dragging through the falling leaves In a one-horse open sleigh Suddenly it's Christmas Seven weeks before the day
Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas (1994) is a whole album of these, credited to the Cryptkeeper of Tales from the Crypt fame.
Everybody's talkin' about the kisses and the hugs And all the little heartstrings that the festive season tugs But all I see are lager louts, shoplifters and thugs So fill mine up, 'cause Christmas is for mugs
The original version of OutKast's "Player's Ball" (1994) has the titular gathering of pimps taking place on Christmas Day.
Ain't no chimneys in the ghetto so I won't be hangin' my socks...
Oi To The World! (1996) by obscure punk band The Vandals is a full 12 track album of these (with a fairly straight Christmas style overture added on later releases). The title song, on the other hand (later covered by No Doubt) is about a punk and a skinhead who manage to put aside their differences (read: "violent feud") 'cause it's Christmas.
Kevin Bloody Wilson's "Hey Santa!" (1996):
Hey Santa! (Hey Santa!) Where's me fucking bike? I've unwrapped all this other junk And there's nothin' that I like. I wrote you a fucking letter, I came to see you twice, You worn out geriatric fart! You forgot me fucking bike!
Just to hammer it home, that's the clean version. The opening line of the uncensored version is the uncompromising "Hey Santa Claus you C**t".
Wilson's anti-Christmas spirit shines through again with "Ho Ho Fucking Ho" (2003), proving no one hates Christmas as much as Santa's helpers:
Ho ho fucking ho What a crock of shit We all work for Santa Claus We've had enough, we quit 'Cos we do all the fucking work While he stars in the show Stick your Christmas up your arse Ho ho fucking ho!
Type O Negative's "Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" (1996), which may just be the single most depressing Christmas song ever.
Flying Tart Records' 1996 compilation Christmas in Heaven features a surprising number of these. Steve Hindalong and Chris Colbert mock the holiday's excessive consumption in "Tis the Season of Excess". ("Daddy doesn't need to have another piece of pie.") Backwoods' song "Christmas Wishes" wonders what the point of the holiday is and can't find any—it ends with the repeated line "Christmas means nothing to me!" And other bands do cover versions of aforementioned anti-Christmas songs: The Huntingtons cover the Ramones' "Merry Christmas, I Don't Wanna Fight", Love Bucket & Slapphappy Super-Fly cover Miles Davis' "Blue Xmas (to Whom It May Concern)", and The Echoing Green cover Band-Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas". (And The Echoing Green's version is an upbeat techno song, for maximum Lyrical Dissonance.)
The Arrogant Worms' Christmas Turkey (1997) is an entire album of comedic Anti Christmas Songs, including such gems as "Christmas Sucks" and "Dad Threw Up on Christmas Day".
South Park's 1997 Christmas special features "Christmastime in Hell" and "A Lonely Jew (On Christmas)"; in 1999, "Merry Fucking Christmas" (a rant that says that anyone who doesn't celebrate it is an infidel...)
Brian Beathard's country and western-flavored "Damn It, I'm Vixen!" (1997), in which the titular reindeer finally gets fed up with all the press Rudolph's been getting the last few years at the expense of the other members of Santa's team:
Well, since then he's been acting kinda of snotty And what you might call a little stuck up. So I think Donner and me, we're gonna drink two or three And then go out and shoot us a buck.
Most of the content on Ray Stevens Christmas Through a Different Window album (1997), such as "I Won't Be Home for Christmas" and "Xerox Xmas Letter".
Joe Pesci's "If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas" (1998) takes a cheery old Gene Autry song and adopts it into his characteristically profane style, complete with an ending tirade against the "fuckin' reform-school brats" who "stole all the fuckin' candy canes".
"Weihnachtsmann vom Dach" (1998) by Die Toten Hosen...where Santa has hung himself and left a message wishing everybody a merry Christmas.
Roy Zimmerman's "Christmas Is Pain" (1998) is a hilariously over-the-top Anti-Christmas Song in the style of Bob Dylan, complete with terrible harmonica solos. The whole PeaceNick album fits the trope to some degree, but "Christmas Is Pain" is tropiest.
Rhan Wilson's version of "Deck The Halls" (1998) has a woman singer who's not quite able to sing all the first verse, sings the second verse off key, and barely makes it through the third verse. The bawling baby in the interlude sort of hints towards postpartum depression, but I've always wondered if you removed the baby and had HER lose it during the bridge....
Straight No Chaser, an a cappella group, gained a strong internet following (and a record contract) in 1998 after releasing a funny, disjointed version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" where they lose count of the days, wind up singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "Carol of the Bells" and "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" before singing the final verse to the tune of "Africa" by Toto! They followed it up in 2009 with "Christmas Can-Can", which comments on the stress associated with holiday (bit of a subversion, as it ends on a positive and uplifting note), and "Who Spiked the Eggnog", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Their most recent medley, "Nutcraker", is about an ballet-hating football fan who is forced by his wife to take her to see the Nutcracker Suite on the day of the big game - sung to the tune of various songs from that traditional ballet.
The LAUNCHCast radio station on Yahoo! calls them Scrooge Songs if they're particularly anti-Christmas.
Lou and Peter Berryman's "Uncle Dave's Grace" (1999) is an Anti-Thanksgiving Song, in which the titular uncle ("who reads The Progressive, and it makes him depressed") is asked to say grace at dinner and uses the occasion to declaim on all the ways in which the holiday is a product of exploitation and ecological devastation.
Now I shift into a minor key, As we remember those less fortunate than we. At this time of year one thing you must not forget, Is why you haven't bought this record yet.
"We Pretty Much Broke the Bank for You This Christmas" is about the horrible realization when the bills arrive.
Someone is coming tonight without fail, if, We're lucky it's Santa, if not it's the baliffs. We pretty much broke the bank for you, (We don't expect a word of thanks from you), We pretty much broke the bank for you this Christmas.
"Thank God It Isn't Christmas Every Day" (2008) isn't exactly anti-Christmas, but seriously deconstructs Wizzard.
Would it be fun, no not very. Nobody could stay that merry. We'd all be dead by February. Thank God it isn't Christmas every day.
Canadian folk singer James Gordon sings "There Is No Silent Night" (2000). "How can you rest, you merry gentlemen? How can you not be dismayed, by the number of poor souls who are so cold on Christmas Day?" In an interview, he states that he has never before or since had such an immediate and varied response to any of his songs.
Weezer's "Christmas Celebration" (2000), which is largely about bemoaning the commercialism of Christmas ("Carolers are singing/ registers ka-ching-ing"). Its A-side "The Christmas Song" is really just a Breakup Song that happens to take place at Christmas.
In "Stanta" (a parody of Eminem's "Stan") by Chris Moyles (2000), the narrator calls out Santa Claus for never leaving him Christmas presents, and threatens to convert to Judaism.
Ben Folds's song "Lonely Christmas Eve" (2000) describes Christmas from the point of view of the Grinch. And his "Bizarre Christmas Incident" is about a naked Santa getting stuck in the chimney and suffocating (and the most prominent line in the chorus is "Santa is a big fat fuck", which is probably why it has a Non-Appearing Title).
Matt Thiessen & The Earthquakes (a side project by the frontman of Relient K) recorded "I Hate Christmas Parties for Tooth & Nail Records' 2001 compilation Happy Christmas Vol. 3''. The singer of the song just went through a messy breakup so he can't stand the merrymaking of everyone around him. "I look under the tree, / but there's nothing to see, / 'cause it's a broken heart that you've given me."
Symphonic metal band Within Temptation gives us "Gothic Christmas" (2002), additionally serving as an affectionate parody of European metal's self-consciously dark image:
Rudolph, he will change his name 'Cause Rudolph just sounds really lame Now we'll call him Ragnagord The Evil Reindeer Overlord.
"Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass'' (2002) by the Arrogant Worms.
Another one of theirs is "Christmas is Here" — which starts with strained smiles on all the relations, until a drunk one admits his wife has been cheating on him. It ends with an implied massacre of the whole family.
Voltaire's "Coming Out for Christmas" (2002).
"Ex-Miss" (2003), by New Found Glory, decrying the overrated sappiness of the yuletide and the fact that the singer's girlfriend left him.
This holiday Is overrated It turns out The way i expected This holiday Is one to forget Another year This time I'll regret I spent too much time and money on you.
"Elf's Lament" (2004) by Barenaked Ladies. Not as nasty as some of these, but it focuses on the plight of Santa's elves as they try to unionize in order to improve their working conditions.
From the same Christmas album, "Green Christmas"...which, appropriately enough, was originally written by them for the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
According to Frickin' A's song "Merry, Merry, Merry Frickin' Christmas" (2004), the only good things about Christmas is no school, getting to make out with sister-in-law and getting crappy gifts that can always be exchanged at Wal-Mart.
"Christmas Is Canceled" (2004) by The Long Blondes.
John Waters's Christmas album (2004) has a bunch of these. Some, like "Here Comes Fatty Claus," are intended that way (it bills itself specifically as a song for people who suffer during the holidays due to "ruptured bank accounts"), others weren't originally meant to be Anti-Christmas Songs but serve the role for Waters's usual Camp-savvy audience (like the overly-earnest religious song "Happy Birthday Jesus").
"Seasonal Depression" (2005), the first Christmas song from Wizard Rock band The Whomping Willows, is a really sad tune about how the aforementioned tree is all alone on Christmas.
It's Christmas again, and I'm here alone Covered with snow, chilled to the bone My branches are bare, my roots have gone dry My only companions are the clouds in the sky... If Christmas brings love and peace in your minds, Then how could Christmas leave this poor tree behind?
Sufjan Stevens has "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!" (2006), which is based loosely on Sufjan's own childhood: the stress of the holidays would cause his parents to argue, and these arguments would generally end with mom grabbing a present at random from under the tree and throwing it into the fire. The song ends with the repeated lyrics "Silent night / nothing feels right."
His song "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas? (Well You Deserved It!)" (2005) is, in spite of its goofy title, an even more somber tune.
"Sister Winter" (2006) could be a subversion. The lyrics of the song seem to be about seasonal depression, and the song starts off suitably somber, but then the song goes all Bolero and manages to end on a somewhat hopeful note.
"Christmas in Lancashire" (2006) by The Lancashire Hotpots:
It's Christmas again, digibox is up t'spout I had fifty channels but now I've got nowt No ITV 4 or PriceDrop TV It's reruns of Sinbad and t'Queen's Speech for thee I can't even BitTorrent Morecambe and Wise Cause me 8 meg broadband is bust I'm cut down to size No credit on t'mobile so I can't send a text This technology at Christmas oh it does get me vexed
Jonathan Coulton's "Chiron Beta Prime" (2006) — possibly the only Christmas song about killer robots. Its also interesting in that the only thing cynical or non-Christmasy about it is the setting.
Merry Christmas, from Chiron Beta Prime Where we're working in a mine for our robot overlords Did I say "Overlords"? I meant protectors Merry Christmas From Chiron Beta Prime.
"Christmas Is Interesting" (2003) is another, much darker Coulton Christmas song.
The Killers have "Don't Shoot Me Santa" (2007), wherein Old St. Nick is a serial killer who lives in a trailer in the Mojave desert and plans to kill Brandon Flowers for being naughty.
It now has a sequel song, 2012's "I Feel It In My Bones", about Brandon's unsuccessfully trying to reason with Santa.
'Cause we feel like killing our selves for Christmas We never got along real well with our moms or dads Yeah, We feel like killing our selves for Christmas Itll be the best, the best, the best, the best, the best, the best Christmas day we ever had! Bum bum bu bum GO FUCKIN' DIE!!! (But I dont wanna die this year, that was last year..)
Santa Won't Be Welcome Here takes then-Prime Minister of Australia John Howard's policies on border security to their logical conclusion.
Tripod's Christmas album titled For the Love of God (2008) consists mostly (but not entirely) of anti-Christmas songs.
"Slower Than Christmas" (2008), by Billy Bob Thornton's neo-rockabilly group the Boxmasters, is all about how the singer hates Christmas because it forces him to spend time with a dysfunctional family he can't stand to be around.
The Schoolyard Heroes song "I Want Your Soul for Christmas" (2008) has a tune quite fitting for a Christmas song, but the lyrics... not so much.
Sleigh bells ringing, Choirs singing, You'll be screaming
"Snowman" (2010) by TV's Kyle, which is about how despite being associated with jollity, a snowman actually has a short, futile existence:
I am a snowman and I wish that you never made me I'm filthy and ugly and I'm wearing all your old clothes I'm only around for a day or two, that's if I'm lucky Some pants or a jacket are out of my league, I suppose.
Coldplay's "Christmas Lights" (2010): The speaker breaks up with his girlfriend after they have a huge fight on Christmas Eve, and he spends the night depressed, unable to join in with the joyful revelers on the streets. But it still manages to end on an upbeat note, as the sight of the Christmas lights lifts his spirits and gives him hope that he'll be able to move on.
"The Season's Upon Us" by Dropkick Murphys (2012). Starts off as a celebration of the holidays before barreling into the various fucked-up relatives the lead singer has to deal with over the holidays.
"Zombie Christmas" (2012) by Emmy the Great, with lyrics like the ones below to a joyful Christmas tune with bells:
They don't feel the cold when it's 50 below See them sucking brains out in the snow Don't get caught beneath the mistletoe It's a zombie Christmas!
Kyle Dunnigan's "Fuck You, Mistletoe" (2013) is a quasi-country ditty chronicling an instance of mistletoe-enforced Ho Yay between two best friends as their families celebrate Christmas together.
Sting's "If On A Winter's Night..." is an anti-Christmas album in the sense that it emphasizes winter rather than Christmas. There are almost no recognizable Christmas songs on it, and when they do appear, they serve as a counterpoint to the main song.
"Christmas in America" by Melissa Etheridge. The narrator can't get into the holiday spirit because her partner is away fighting in a war and she just wishes they could be safe at home:
If you play the game at Christmas, Rise of the Triad plays a song in MIDI format called "Deadly Gentlemen" (which is based on a well-known Christmas carol) instead of the normal level music. Considering the game is a First-Person Shooter, this could well be classified as an Anti Christmas Song. Blasting the bad guys into Ludicrous Gibs with Christmas music playing... I'd say that's anti-Christmas.
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter has a level where the music is Jingle Bells (regardless of when you play the game), and when the action heats up, it turns into a rock version with an assortment of sound effects from the game mixed in (various guns firing and monsters dying). If you rip the music out of the game, you can hear that the sound effects are actually part of the music and are not added by the game.
Kingdom of Loathing has disintegrating sheet music of Crimbo Carols dropped by the Ancient Yuletide Troll familiar, which are lyrics sheets meant to be sung to the tune of Christmas Songs, like "Frosty the Hitman" and "Violent Night". Since December is a month-long event that tends to involve beating up monsters, they are decidedly tongue-in-cheek.
When Todd in the Shadows reviewed the song "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer", he kept asking - almost to an Anvilicious extent - if everyone over the years knew that the song was about Grandma getting killed at the start of the song, and the rest of the lyrics celebrating her death. He regrets doing a review of the song just because of how celebrated the song has become despite nobody actually caring about the subject matter.
Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation plays with the 'Scrooge' idea: Dr. Doofenshmirtz sings "I Really Don't Hate Christmas". He's not for or against Christmas, he's completely indifferent to it. Right before the song, he says that even though he's a villain and he knows he should hate Christmas, "Christmas was always fine in my family! I mean, it wasn't good, but it wasn't bad!" With his Hilariously Abusive Childhood, that's saying something.
Dr. Doofenshirtz: I have an intense, burning indifference!
"What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas is a subversion; the singer, Jack Skellington, falls in love with Christmas when he first discovers the holiday, but misses the point, largely because he sees Christmas through his own unique prism:
"There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads, They're busy making toys and absolutely no one's dead!"
Other songs from the film, most notably "Making Christmas" and "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" play the trope straight.
In the animated Christmas SpecialOlive the Other Reindeer, the Postman has a little number called "Bah, Bug and Hum!" The song is all about how he hates carrying all of those gifts, catalogs and cards through the cold weather during the holiday season.
One of the animated segments from TV Funhouse was a parody of the old black-and-white stop-motion Christmas song videos, called "Tingles the Christmas Tension", about a magical sprite who embodies/cultivates all the stress of the holidays. The last verse mentions his annual successor, Mopefuls Day after Christmas Depression, and the video ends with a person jumping out a second-story window.
Futurama has several. In their first Xmas special, Santa is a dangerous robot who kills everyone on his "naughty" list (and has such high standards that everyone winds up on his naughty list), so the episode ends with the cast gathering around the piano to sing "Santa Claus Is Gunning You Down". The second Xmas special has the elves singing happily about their dangerous slave jobs. And in Bender's Big Score Santa and the other Anthropomorphic Personifications of winter holidays sing about upgrading their ships to declare war on the scammer aliens.