Follow TV Tropes

Following

Christmas Songs

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/christmas_in_the_stars_album_cover.jpg
Eh, they had a holiday special, why not an album?

"All of a sudden there comes Christmas, and there is an absolute tidal wave of darling little girls and sweet little boys making millions of dollars on records singing enchanting little Christmas songs that are perfectly nauseating."
Advertisement:

Long ago, back in the days when sales of vinyl singles really did control the position of songs in the charts, Christmas was a time when glurge-laden seasonal ditties dominated those charts for weeks on end, as parents and grandparents purchased them for children (and vice versa). Even now, these tunes are virtually ubiquitous on the radio (as as well as in stores, malls, and practically every other place with a PA system) every November and December. Sure, every so often somebody will pen an Anti-Christmas Song as an antidote, but the only real way to escape the onslaught is to become a Hikikomori—or go off the grid entirely—for at least two months each year.

Nonetheless, almost everyone's got that favorite album that they will lovingly pull out from the bottom of the cabinet when the end of the year rolls around. Despite the many cheap, irritating, and soulless renditions (and re-renditions, and re-re-renditions ad nauseam) to be heard all over the place during the holiday season, the original simple melodies are still there, just waiting to be heard and to remind us why these songs really are merry and bright. And for those who really like this stuff, at least one radio station in almost every town switches to all Christmas music all the time on December 1 (if not earlier). In other words, when done right, these are still indisputably Awesome Music.

Advertisement:

Trivia: If you listen closely, you might notice that quite a few supposed "Christmas songs" have little if anything to do with Christmas at all. "Jingle Bells", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Winter Wonderland", "Sleigh Ride", "Frosty the Snowman", "A Marshmallow World", "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm", and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" are technically just songs about winter and never even mention any specific holiday; the latter two would really work just as well on Valentine's Day. But after many, many, many years of Pop-Cultural Osmosis, these tunes will forever be tied to Christmas, even in those places where it doesn't snow in December.

From a marketing standpoint, you can understand why someone would want to make a Christmas album. If you can create a successful hit that will get played each and every year, you can keep the money rolling in for decades. "Jingle Bells" was written in 1857, and several others date back to the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. And yet, all of these songs—in contrast to just about anything else of similar antiquity—are guaranteed to get airplay and sales every December. xkcd breaks it down with this graph.

Advertisement:

Christmas Carolers will frequently be singing these, as you might expect. The Grinch, meanwhile, may counter with an Anti-Christmas Song.

Yes, you are going to hear Snowy Sleigh Bells. This is simply a fact of life. Cherubic Choirs are also a staple.

Also, at the risk of being pedantic: Christmas carols, properly defined, are mostly songs celebrating the religious festival; originally folk songs for dancing, the term now includes Christmas hymns and the ever-growing number of newly composed carols, sung in church, at concerts and elsewhere.

Interestingly, a surprisingly high percentage of popular 20th-century Christmas songs were composed by Jewish songwriters. Make of that what you will.

If you're looking for the famous story by Charles Dickens, that's A Christmas Carol. (Except when it's Yet Another Christmas Carol.)

Sister Trope to Halloween Songs.


Christmas Albums with their own trope pages:

  • Merry Christmas (1945) by Bing Crosby is the best-selling Christmas album of all time. His version of "White Christmas", which appeared on this album but was originally recorded for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling single ever, with more than 50 million copies sold. When other versions of the song are factored in, it's still the best-selling song of all time, with over 100 million copies of this one song sold.
  • The Beach Boys' Christmas Album (1964) by The Beach Boys features five original songs performed in the band's signature surf-rock style, along with seven standards performed in the style of The Four Freshmen.
  • A Very Special Christmas (1987), an album series in support of Special Olympics. As of this writing ten albums have been released under this banner, with the most recent being a Greatest Hits Album in 2013.
  • Pokémon Christmas Bash (2001), a Pokémon album featuring the original English cast singing original Christmas songs.
  • Christmas in the Heart (2009) by Bob Dylan surprised both fans and critics alike upon its release, since it was Dylan making a completely straight Christmas album.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Straight 
  • Jon Anderson of Yes has a Christmas album released in 1985 called 3 Ships, which features, along with some covers of traditional Christmas songs, originals such as "Save All Your Love", "Easier Said Than Done" (written by Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis), "Forest Of Fire", "Day Of Days", "2,000 Years", "Where Were You", and "How It Hits You".
    • And also from Yes, there's Chris Squire's Swiss Choir.
  • "The 12 Days of Christmas"
  • "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey. Listen to the radio regularly during December, and you will DEFINITELY hear this song. Since its release in 1994, it has charted every holiday season, at long last reaching the #1 spot in 2019. Its longevity and routine reappearance has become somewhat of a meme.
  • "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Vince Vance & the Valiants (no relation to the Mariah Carey song).
  • Enya released an entire album of Christmas music called And Winter Came. Some of the songs reference Christmas directly, some only allude to it, and some don't mention it at all. "White Is In the Winter Night," for instance, talks about the sights and colors one might see around the holiday season, but never explicitly mentions Christmas.
  • Franz Schubert's version of "Ave Maria."
  • "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is another "winter song" that got co-opted as a Christmas song. Frank Loesser originally wrote it in 1944 as a party piece for him to perform with his wife Lynn Garland. He then sold the song to MGM for their Romantic Comedy Neptune's Daughter in 1949, much to the furor of his wife; in the film, the song is first performed by Ricardo Montalbán as the "wolf" and Esther Williams as the "mouse", then by Betty Garrett as the "wolf" and Red Skeleton as the "mouse". Several cover versions were released in 1949, with many more following over the years. In The New '10s the song began facing criticism for its Date Rape implications to the point some radio stations have banned the song, leading to a counter-backlash.
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' "The Bell That Wouldn't Jingle".
  • "Better Days" by the Goo Goo Dolls doesn't mention Christmas directly, but it's pretty clearly a rejection of the materialism that's grown up around the holiday and a plea to return to the spirit of love that it originally symbolized.
  • Britain has two unquestionably awesome rock songs from the seventies: "Merry Xmas Everybody" by Slade and "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Roy Wood. Both are heard in shops across the country the minute they start advertising "It's almost Christmas", which is usually around mid-October.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has one: "California Christmastime".
  • "Carol of the Bells" by Ukranian composer Mykola Leontovych.
    • Also known as "Ring Christmas Bells" or "that creepy Christmas song", especially after it was prominently featured in Home Alone.
    • When used in a similar vien as in Home Alone to invoke tension or dread, it may be a case of Chaos of the Bells.
    • Pink Martini covered the song in its original Ukrainian, called "Shchedryk" (Nightingales).
    • And then there's The Muppets' version.
  • Every year since 1999, the stars of current Broadway shows have released an album in the Carols for a Cure: Broadway's Greatest Gifts series, with proceeds going to AIDS charities. Each album contains a mixture of classic Christmas songs, obscure gems, and original compositions. Each album can be found here and most of the tracks can be found on Youtube.
  • Dar Williams' "The Christians and the Pagans" depicts a pair of neo-pagan (and quite possibly lesbian) women spending Christmas Eve with one's devoutly Christian uncle and his family, and how they're able to overcome their respective cultural differences and enjoy the season together. It leavens its moral message with gentle humor, and is a genuinely great song.
  • The band Low recorded an EP of Christmas songs simply titled Christmas, some original ("Just Like Christmas"), some cover versions ("Blue Christmas") and some traditional ("Silent Night", "The Little Drummer Boy").
  • Carbon Leaf's Christmas Child album has several original Christmas and winter-themed songs, including the title song about a child counting down the days left, and "Red Punch, Green Punch" about the type of family Christmas parties you find boring as a child but fondly look back on later.
  • The Partland Brothers' "Christmas Day," which works in a bit of "Little Drummer Boy" during the coda.
  • Run–D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis." Recorded for the 1987 charity album A Very Special Christmas, it features Run telling the tale of stumbling upon Santa's very full wallet in a city park, and being tempted to keep it — but then he decides to do good by returning it, and is miraculously rewarded:
    But I'd never steal from Santa, 'cause that ain't right
    So I headed home to mail it back to him that night
    But when I got home, I bugged, 'cause under the tree
    Was a letter from Santa that said the dough was for me!
  • The Jamster character Schnuffel had a short song called "Christmas Song" which is about how peaceful and relaxing the holiday is.
  • "The Christmas Song" (often known by its opening line 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire'), written by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells, performed by Nat "King" Cole and various others.
  • "Christmas Time Is Here" by Vince Guaraldi, from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • "Christmas Time Is Here" by Ray Parker Jr., not to be confused with the one above.
  • "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses is a cute story about a woman trying to get together with a guy. Various mishaps result in one or the other of them not making the date, until on Christmas Eve, their individual decisions to just sit out Christmas as a result of a hectic year gets them together.
  • Ever wonder what if Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" was a Christmas song you can dance to? Yep, it's "December".
  • "Deck The Halls"
  • "Do You Hear What I Hear," an allegorical Christmas song dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Explanation here.
  • "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?" from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Sia has also released an album of original Christmas songs, called Everyday is Christmas. Unlike And Winter Came, most of the songs go all in on the Christmas imagery, such as its lead single "Santa's Coming For Us".
  • One of the few bilingual Christmas songs to regularly get radio airplay, Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad/I Want to Wish You a Merry Christmas."
  • "The First Noel"
  • "Give Love on Christmas Day," recorded by The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and Johnny Gill.
  • "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" - Some useful trivia: nowhere in the original version do you find the word "ye".
  • "Good King Wenceslas"
  • "Guanaguanare," by Jesus Avila.
  • Cloverton's Christmas-themed cover version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", which was also sung by a young girl named Kaylee Rodgers.
  • "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon.
    • Not to mention "Wonderful Christmastime," by Sir Paul McCartney.
      • Jars of Clay released a cover if one wishes to hear a version much lighter on the synthesizers.
      • If you'd like to hear the song with even more synthesizers, Earthsuit has you covered.
      • If you want no synthesizers (or instruments for that matter), look no further than Paul's 2013 rerecording featuring the acapella group Straight No Chaser (the same one that did that epic version of "12 Days of Christmas" listed further below).
    • On the subject of "Happy Xmas(War is Over)", Maroon5 recorded a minimalist version, just piano, guitar and keyboard. Meanwhile, The Polyphonic Spree went the opposite extreme (given that the band includes a nine-piece chorus, full brass ensemble, clarinet, flute, violin, harp and theramin, this is to be expected).
    • The popularity of "Happy Xmas" flies in the face of the fact the entire song is a big guilt fest addressed at people who go through the year without helping others.
    • Speaking of The Beatles, there's always "Christmas Time Is Here Again," a delightful ditty composed especially for their 1967 fan club single.
  • "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
  • "The Holly and the Ivy"
  • 'A Holly Jolly Christmas"
  • "I Believe in Father Christmas," by Greg Lake. Some folks who don't listen closely to the lyrics have mistaken this song for being anti-religious; however, Word Of God says it's really about growing up and growing out of some childhood illusions. Sarah Brightman's cover of this seems to underline it, since she sang it in this oddly childlike voice. Based on a classical theme by Prokofief. (see "Other", below).
  • In 1990, Pretty Maids released the In Santa's Claws EP which features two christmas songs ("In Santa's Claws" and "A Merry Jingle," a medley of sorts) along with some live material.
  • "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
  • Andy Williams' "It's the Holiday Season".
  • "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
  • "Jesus Christ"" by Big Star, Alternative Rock's very own Christmas anthem.
  • "Jingle Bells."
    • Also known for the parody lyrics "Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg...", which came full circle when, in Batman: The Animated Series, The Joker himself sang them.
    • There's also a Japanese version, minus the phrase "Jingle Bells", sung by Japanese pro wrestlers.
    • "Jingle Bells" is probably the single best-known and most widely-performed Christmas song of them all...which is rather ironic, given that it doesn't really have anything to do with Christmas specifically, secular or religious... it's actually a song about young guys in 1850s Medford, Massachusetts, who used to drag-race their one-horse sleighs in the town square. There's a small, hard to find plaque in said town square to commemorate it. It is specifically because it is non-religious that it has become a standard since even those whose religion prevents them from celebrating Christmas can get into it.
    • "Bjällerklang," the Swedish version, is about getting out of the house to avoid getting Cabin Fever, not drag racing. The verses have a slightly altered melody. The first part of the chorus has the same melody as the American version. However, a second chorus with a melody not used in the American version is sung after the original chorus.
    • The Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf has a Christmas Episode that references "Jingle Bells". In episode 1 of Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Travel Around the World, where the gang meets Santa in Finland, the song segment at the end of the episode has a melody that's clearly meant to be "Jingle Bells".
  • "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms.
  • "Joy to the World," which originally was written as a song for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
  • "The Little Drummer Boy".
  • The Killers release a Christmas song each December for 10 years with the proceeds going to charity. All the songs are compiled into the album Don't Waste Your Wishes, released in 2016. The list goes:
  • "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" Yet another "winter" song that came to be associated with Christmas. The songwriters, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, wrote it in the middle of a heatwave in Hollywood to take their minds off the heat, similar to how the lyrics of "The Christmas Song" were initially just a way for Bob Wells to immerse himself in winter during a hot summer; coincidentally, both songs were written the same year, 1945.
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has had a few Christmas-themed original songs, including "Santa Knows", "Key To This Wonderful City", "I Believe" and "Yes Virginia".
  • "Mamacita, Dónde Está Santa Claus" is an English-Spanish song involving a kid waiting up for Santa.
  • Mannheim Steamroller's best-known work has been Christmas music.
  • Probably worth mentioning here but there is actually a Maria Watches Over Us Christmas Album. No original songs but several of the seiyuu singing Christmas Carols.
  • 'A Marshmallow World"
  • Mary, Did You Know? is about the significance of who the baby Mary's carrying will grow up to be, and by extension, the significance of the Maginificat. As the most overtly religious Christmas songs go, this is probably one of the newest, having debuted on a Michael English album in 1991.
  • "Mary's Boy Child", first popularized by Harry Belafonte.
    • The version by Boney M. is popular to this day as well, and even managed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 when it first came out (almost unheard of for a German group at the time).
  • "Merry Christmas, Baby"
  • The Nutcracker Suite, by Tchaikovsky. Either the straight orchestra version, or various interpretations. Notably, a swing version originally performed by Les Brown and his Band of Renown, later played by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
  • "O Come All Ye Faithful"
  • "O Come Emmanuel" is technically an Advent carol rather than a Christmas one, but...
  • "O Holy Night." The original lyrics include an additional verse with an Abolitionist message, which is often lazily Bowdlerized out in modern recordings by just copy/pasting the first verse twice.
  • "O Tannenbaum," also known as "O Christmas Tree" in English. Shares its melody with the former state song of Maryland as well as with "The Red Flag", the (semi-)official anthem of the British Labour Party.
  • Subverted by "Over The River And Through The Wood", which is actually about Thanksgiving, but its first two verses (which do not specify a holiday) are invariably heard around Christmastime.
  • Owl City has several: "Christmas Song," "Peppermint Winter" and "Kiss Me Babe, It's Christmas Time."
  • "Paper Angels" by Jimmy Wayne is about the Salvation Army's "paper angel" trees to give Christmas gifts to those in need. Wayne grew up in poverty so he expresses sympathy for the recipients of such gifts. The song tied "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas" (see below) as the highest-charting seasonal title on the Hot Country Songs charts, reaching #18 in early 2005.
  • "Pass It On" from Fraggle Rock. Oddly enough, the episode the song was written for ("The Perfect Blue Rollie") wasn't specifically intended as a Christmas Episode, but was released on two Christmas-themed compilations for its themes of giving and You Mean "Xmas". It was also performed on A Muppet Family Christmas for this same reason, as Kermit and Robin walk into a Fraggle hole and check in on their winter festival.
  • "Please Come Home for Christmas"
  • "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
  • "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," America's favorite bit of Christmas "folklore" that was originally created as a marketing gimmick for Montgomery Ward. Really.
  • "Russian Christmas Music", by Alfred Reed, has become a constant for many concert band Christmas concerts.
  • "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
    • Many cover versions of this song exist, from the traditional (Michael Bublé) to the good-time groovy (The Crystals, The Jackson 5, and particularly Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; listen for the sax solo!)
    • It's also worth hearing the original version of the song as performed on radio by Eddie Cantor in 1934. Written and performed in the midst of the Great Depression, the original lyrics completely change the tone and message of the song, as Santa Claus explicitly becomes a metaphor for Americans digging into their wallets to support the less-fortunate. Later versions keep only the "you better be good" first lyric and replace the Depression-era verses altogether, creating the impression of Santa being an omnipotent "Big Brother"-like figure watching for errant children, rather than those who don't help their fellow citizens.
  • "Silent Hill," by Thomas Howard. No relation to the actual Silent Hill.
  • "Silent Night" - written in Austria on Christmas eve of 1818, has one of the most recognized melodies in world.
    • Enya's version can be found here.
    • Used in Madeleine L'Engle's A House Like a Lotus, when people from all over the world at a little conference come together and sing Silent Night in their native languages.
    • Stevie Nicks' version was released in 1987.
  • "Silver Bells", which debuted in a now little-known holiday comedy starring Bob Hope called The Lemon-Drop Kid.
  • "Sleigh Ride". The original arrangement by Leroy Anderson features a nifty tempo shift halfway through. This is another one of those "winter songs" that became associated with Christmas; except from some vocal versions that swap out the bridge lyrics about Farmer Gray's birthday party for a Christmas party, the holiday is not mentioned.
  • "Some Children See Him", one of a number of carols written by Alfred Burt. Can be glurge-ified because of its anvilicious socio-political message.
  • Angels & Airwaves' "Star of Bethlehem". In the parent album's final release, it was split into two songs: "Star of Bethlehem" and "True Love".
  • From Elton John's heyday in 1973, we have "Step Into Christmas."
  • Sufjan Stevens put out a 5-CD box set of Christmas songs, both old and new. His original songs include "Get Behind Me, Santa!", "Sister Winter", "We're Goin' To The Country", "Put The Lights on the Tree", "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!" and "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!"
  • Even Queen has placed an entry in the Christmas playlist with "Thank God It's Christmas".
  • "This Christmas." Covered by numerous artists since its 1970 release, but NO version is better than the classic original by Donny Hathaway.
  • "This Time of the Year" by Brook Benton.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra pretty much built their career on this, their alter-egos being a more conventional rock group that despite multiple albums made no money whatsoever until they had a crossover hit with Christmas tunes. Several full albums of such followed. Probably their most well-known songs are "Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24" (a rock mashup of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells") and the "Christmas Canon" (basically Pachelbel's Canon with piano accompaniment and choir rounds).
  • Twinkle Twinkle, a One Piece Image Song sung by Tony Tony Chopper, is one. Snowy Sleigh Bells? Check. Lyrics mentioning the end of the year? Check. Mentioning decorating Christmas trees? Check. An explicit mention of Christmas Eve in the lyrics? Oh boy, check.
  • Anyone else have a soft spot for Stevie Wonder's "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me"? It's beautiful.
  • "Niño Lindo" and "Si la Virgen fuera Andina," two popular Venezuelan Christmas songs that, rare in the genre, actually remember why Christmas is called that. Popularized by the versions of several child chorus and the ones by Nancy Ramos; the latter musical career has essentially reduced to singing those.
  • "We Need a Little Christmas", written for Mame.
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
    • A somewhat hard-to find parody titled "Merry Christmas or Else" starts out like the original song, then devolves into the singers threatening to sing incessantly and break windows until they get their figgy pudding.
  • "Winter Star" by Canadian singer Johnny Reid.
  • "Winter Wonderland," again a "winter" song now associated with Christmas.
  • "What Child Is This?", set to the tune of the (non-Christmas) folk song "Greensleeves".
  • "What If Jesus Comes Back Like That" by Collin Raye questions how people would react should Jesus come back to earth in the modern day. The song presents three examples: as a homeless man, as the child of a drug user, or in a manger just like he did the first time around.
  • Oddly enough, "When You Wish Upon a Star" is considered a Christmas song in Japan, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark (which is all the more hilarious when you learn that the film itself was originally supposed to take place around the Christmas season). They probably conflated the star that led the Magi with the star Geppetto wishes on. This has led to it being performed for a number of Christmas albums, such as those by Rod Stewart, Mary J. Blige, Celtic Thunder and Idina Menzel. In the Scandinavian countries it's possibly tied to Disney's TV special From All of Us to All of You, a perennial must-see.
  • "White Christmas," written by Irving Berlin.
    • Insert cocaine joke here.
    • Insert racism joke here.
    • Insert wry observation here: The composer, Irving Berlin, was Jewish.
    • Insert sexual innuendo here.
    • And the practically unknown opening verse places the dreamer in Beverly Hills. (The Carpenters included this verse in their version. As did Darlene Love for Phil Spector’s Christmas album, though as a bridge, and only mentioning LA.)
    • Bing Crosby recorded two near-identical versions of the song, one in 1942 and one in 1947. The former was used on a 78rpm album set of songs from Holiday Inn in 1942 and on the original 78rpm album set release of Merry Christmas in 1945; the latter was made because the disc master of the 1942 version was worn out from frequent use (magnetic tape was still a few years away) and is the one used ever since for the zillion reissues including all subsequent versions of Merry Christmas. Trivia: the drummer on the 1942 recording was none other than Spike Jones.
    • Frank Sinatra also recorded two versions, one in 1944 and one in 1954. Unlike the Bing remake, the Sinatra remake differs significantly from his original version.
    • Dean Martin also recorded two very different versions, one for 1959's A Winter Romance album and one for 1966's The Dean Martin Christmas Album.
    • The Otis Redding version may very well be the most emotionally heart-breaking version.
    • And for you Anime fans, there is a Sailor Mars version.
    • The Drifters' version, as heard on the soundtrack of Home Alone. Irving Berlin reportedly hated their version, which was the first R&B arrangement of the tune.

    Melancholy 
  • "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" by Simon & Garfunkel, which juxtaposes the traditional Christmas carol with news broadcasts of actual events from the summer of 1966.
  • "2000 Miles" by The Pretenders: Like many other songs on its parent album Learning to Crawl, it was dedicated to their fallen bandmates James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, both of whom died of drug overdoses. Even without the context, the lyrics reads of someone deeply missing a close friend / lover in Christmastime.
  • "All I Want for Christmas is New Years Day" by Hurts. According to an interview the duo made in 2010, the song is about "the worst Christmas of our lives, which we're releasing on the best Christmas of our lives."
  • "Blue Christmas," written by Billy Hayes and Jay Johnson, famously sung by Elvis Presley, tells a story of unrequited love, making the singer's Christmas anything but merry.
  • "Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins.
  • "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", originally recorded by Darlene Love, and covered by everyone from U2 to Death Cab for Cutie. During the same sessions, Phil Spector also had Darlene Love record a non-holiday version with rewritten lyrics, "Johnny (Baby Please Come Home)", in the belief that it was such a strong melody that it could be popular year 'round; this version only ended up getting a belated B-Side release, however.
  • "Christmas Ain't Like Christmas Anymore" by Kitty Wells.
  • By far Japan’s most popular Christmas song, Christmas Eve by city pop superstar Tatsuro Yamashita. It’s a song about someone waiting for their lover on Christmas Eve, and wondering if they’ll have to go through the pain of spending it alone. Also recorded in English with new lyrics (not a straight translation, either) by Alan O’Day.
  • Coldplay's "Christmas Lights" provides us with yet another example of heartbreak at Christmas.
  • "Christmas Truce", by Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton. It's about a real-life truce that took place during World War I, when soldiers on the front lines of the war stopped fighting on Christmas Day of 1914 without being told to. The soldiers exchanged gifts, played a game of football/soccer, and even held a mass. The next day, they went right back to trying to kill each other like nothing happened. The song has a melancholic tone to it to highlight how pointless all the fighting is.
  • The beautiful "Coming Home" by One To One.
  • Chris Rea's "Driving Home for Christmas" combines this with Driving Song, where the narrator is stuck in a traffic jam.
  • The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York". Notable for turning into an insult fest mid-way through, which was controversially censored by Radio 1 in 2007 for a couple of days. Interestingly, Radio 2 (which has a decidedly less daring reputation than its lower-numbered sister station) played it unexpurgated. People are still arguing about it to this day, as it involves Kirsty MacColl calling Shane McGowan a fairly awful, if common, homophobic insult (although said insult actually is used in its older meaning, which merely means "idiot"). The lack of censorship is basically down to the fact that it's been a fixture of the Christmas music rotation since 1987 and everyone knows the lyrics anyway; a modern cover version that tried to replace them with something less offensive just didn't sound quite right and the song's just too popular to not play at all. On the other hand, the "you're cheap and you're haggard" version was orginally performed by MacColl in 1992, and when Radio 1 censored it again in 2019, the resultant Twitter spat saw the official Pogues feed supporting bleeping or replacing it.
    • Special mention should be made of this song. It doesn't celebrate Christmas at all (It's merely set on Christmas Eve). It is more about the eroding of dreams and the people you've come to hate (but are stuck with). The British keep voting it "Best Christmas Song" in various polls. Something about being stuck with family resonates with us, we think. (Not to mention MacColl was a beloved singer in the UK whose accidental death in 2000 is still mourned.)
  • "First Christmas" by Stan Rogers.
  • "I Hate Christmas Parties" by Relient K. It's about as cheery as it sounds.
  • "It Doesn't Have to Be That Way" by Jim Croce.
  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which was written for Meet Me in St. Louis and has something of an interesting history.
  • Sia's "Ho-ho-ho" is zigzagging: it's about getting drunk and having a good time with your friends on Christmas, because you and them are both misfits and have no other company to hang when you're supposed to be merry.
  • Rockapella's "Hold Out for Christmas" initially seems whimsical but swiftly reveals itself to be one of these. Starting off "Christmas in Tokyo does not make sense, Santa and Sumo don't mix", and closing with a coda that begins, "Christmas at home is a life away" makes this song a tearjerker for anyone who's ever had to spend a holiday season alone on business travel, in the military, or otherwise away from friends and family.
  • "How to Make Gravy" by Paul Kelly: Takes the form of a letter written by a prison inmate to his brother in Christmas time, in which he reminisces of the good old days when he would gather with his family for the holiday and make gravy for the meal.
  • "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," a musical setting of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The original poem is about a man whose faith in "peace on earth, good will to men" is shaken by The American Civil War but reaffirmed by the ringing of church bells for Christmas; most sung verses omit the verses directly about the Civil War.
  • "I'll Be Home for Christmas," which debuted during the height of World War II, but is actually about a college student studying away from home. That said, the war subtext is much more popular, to the point where modern covers have soldiers wishing their families a merry Christmas during the bridge.
  • "Keeping the Dream Alive" by Münchener Freiheit has become a Christmas song by association.
  • "Last Christmas" by Wham! Covered by Billie Piper and by Taylor Swift.
  • "The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot" by Vera Lynn (also performed by Nat King Cole), which is well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Vera's version notably appeared in the film version of Pink Floyd's The Wall.
  • "Loneliest Time Of Year" by Mabel is about Christmas being the loneliest time of year for some people.
  • "Merry Christmas Darling" by the Carpenters is another one in which the narrator pines for a loved one from whom they're separated, and it too first gained popularity during a war (in this case Vietnam).
  • "Pretty Paper" by Roy Orbison.
  • Jackson Browne's "The Rebel Jesus", originally recorded with Irish folk group The Chieftains for their Christmas album The Bells of Dublin, and then again as a solo version. Listen to the original here and the remake here.
  • "Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" by Type O Negative is a dirge-like remembrance of people in the singer's family who've died in the last year. It may be the single most depressing Christmas song ever.
  • "River" by Joni Mitchell somewhat subverts this. It's a song about heartbreak over a failed relationship that happens to take place during Christmastime rather than a typical song about Christmas (not unlike "Fairytale Of New York" above), but it's considered a standard and frequently covered for Christmas albums, such as those of Cee-Lo Green, Blue Rodeo and Idina Menzel.
  • "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg is technically a Christmas song, as it mentions that the events of the song happen on Christmas Eve (Probably because the songwriter needed something that rhymed with "sleeve"). The song is actually about a guy who runs into an ex-girlfriend by chance and the two of them spending the evening catching up on what they've been doing since the apparently amiable breakup.
  • There's a poem called "A Soldier's Silent Night" (typically read with Mannheim Steamroller's rendition of "Silent Night" in the background) in which Santa visits the home of a soldier and is saddened to see him living in poverty.
  • Stevie Wonder's "Someday at Christmas" has a little of this, reflecting as it does the singer's wish for a world without the war, violence and unrest of The '60s when it was written.
  • "Stop the Cavalry" by Jona Lewie is an anti-war Protest Song about an eternal soldier who wants to get Home by Christmas, and knows he won't be. So melancholy that there is some doubt as to whether it's a Christmas song at all. (Although UK radio stations seem pretty certain it is.)
  • "Whatever Happened to Christmas?" by Frank Sinatra. Aimee Mann later did an effective cover version.
  • "White Christmas" itself is one of these, as the oft-omitted introductory verse makes (painfully) clear:
    The sun is shining, the grass is green,
    The orange and palm trees sway,
    There's never been such a day,
    In Beverly Hills, L. A.
    But it's December the 24th
    And I'm longing to be up north...
  • "White Wine in the Sun" by Tim Minchin is not exactly a parody, and not entirely straight, and not at all religious Christmas song. It's also an absolute tearjerker.
  • "World Be Still" from Roundhouse.

    Parody/Humorous 
  • The Parody Before Christmas and The Twelve Spoofs of Christmas have their own tropes.
  • Disturbingly, there are two novelty Christmas songs about fisting: "XXXMas Song" by Vinnie and the Stardusters and "Fist Me This Christmas" by the Wet Spots.
  • "The 12 Drugs Of Christmas."
  • "The 12 Guido Days of Christmas."
  • "All I Want for Christmas Is to Rock" by Hair Metal band Sniper.
  • "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" by Spike Jones. Part of the joke is that the boy falsetto vocal is performed by the orchestra's trumpeter George Rock, a heavy-set man with a mustache — TV performances would show him dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit to accentuate the absurdity. This aspect was discarded in most cover versions which played it straight, including a version by Nat King Cole of all people.
  • Rhan Wilson's Altared Christmas series. The gimmick? What if you played Christmas songs in a Darker and Edgier minor key? It's a lot better than it sounds, that's what.
  • The Aqua Teen Hunger Force cut a Christmas album with such triumphs as Carl being "Home for Christmas" so he can watch the-then PapaJohns.com Bowl.
  • In A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, Stephen performs the cheery, extremely unsubtle "Another Christmas Song," which is all about people buying "Another Christmas Song" and hopefully making it a yearly Christmas standard so that Stephen can get rich. Multiple levels of metafiction at once coupled with multiple levels of Special Effect Failure.
  • Jonathan Coulton's "Chiron Beta Prime."
  • "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)" by English rock group The Darkness. This would be in the straight section up top - the song itself features references to Santa and presents and includes a choir in one of the choruses, and the video sees lead vocalist Justin Hawkins receiving a car from his brother (with his girlfriend - according to the song, they had spent the "best part of last year apart" - in the passenger seat) - had it not been in the band's trademark parody nature: in a television interview about the song's meaning, Justin Hawkins mentioned that he managed to get both "bell end" and "ring piece" into a Christmas song and not see it banned.note 
  • Jethro Tull with their whole Christmas Album, (though a few almost play it straight, at least in spirit).
    • Also, 'A Christmas Song' one of their earlier songs (reworked on the Christmas Album). Starts off as a traditional carol and then changes theme.
    Once in Royal David’s City
    Stood a lowly cattle shed,
    Where a mother laid her baby.
    You’d do well to remember the things He later said.
    When you’re stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties,
    You’ll laugh when I tell you to take a running jump.
    You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making;
    The Christmas spirit is not what you drink...

    ...[outro] Hey, Santa, pass that bottle, will you?
  • "Christmas at the Zoo" by The Flaming Lips. What's more Christmas than breaking into a zoo to free all the animals?
  • "A Christmas Carol" by Tom Lehrer, from the album An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer.
  • Frank Kelly (who you may recognize as Father Jack) has "Christmas Countdown", a "Twelve Days of Christmas" parody pointing out how absurd things would probably be if someone were to actually receive the items listed in the song.
  • "Christmas Is Creepy" by Lucas Cruikshank (aka Fred Figglehorn), which is basically a deconstruction of all the magical stuff associated with Christmas by showing just how freaky it can seem.
  • The "Christmas Scare-ols," written to give Disneyland visitors something to do while waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction, comprise an assortment of traditional Christmas songs re-arranged in a minor key and with the lyrics altered to reflect the sensibilities of the denizens of Halloween Town.
  • Michigan State University's all-male a cappella ensemble the Spartan Dischords have their own holiday season medley called "Christmas Soup" (more a mash-up than a medley) which evolves with popular culture as seen in their 2011 Winter Concert here. This ain't yer grandpa's The Twelve Days Of Christmas, not by a long shot. As just one of many examples of absurd lyrical juxtaposition within this musical agglomeration,
    I'm dreamin' of a' Six geese a' layin',
    Jack Frost nippin' at your nose.
  • Seanan McGuire wrote Christmas Wishes, a song about trying to seduce Santa. She says "Yes, I'm probably getting coal for the rest of my life. And yet, I am not sorry."
  • "Communist Christmas" by Rathergood keeps alternating between standard Christmas-y lyrics and talking about communism. This leads to multiple Mood Whiplashes.
    Good will to all men, let's celebrate
    By purging the enemies of the state
  • Believe it or not, "Dick in a Box" by The Lonely Island originated in a Saturday Night Live Christmas episode. Since it doesn't specifically mention the holiday aside from a single lyric (and among other holidays to boot), it's free to enjoy year-round.
  • 1960s garage-rock band The Sonics did "Don't Believe in Christmas," airing typical holiday disappointments to the tune of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business".
  • A Dreamers Christmas is a 2011 album by John Zorn's band The Dreamers with covers of Christmas carols.
  • Jeff Dunham does a few in his Christmas special, with help from Guitar Guy. Achmed the Dead Terrorist starts off with "Jingle Bombs", followed with Bubba J's "It's a Roadkill Christmas". Jeff then tries to read "The Night Before Christmas", with Peanut providing sarcastic commentary.
  • There's Canadian singer Metro's "Eleven Days From Christmas," which uses a multitude of Ukrainian gifts such as pails of borscht and a big bowl of sour cream (most of the items are food). It also has the singer occasionally breaking to pump up the band and tell them how beautiful they are.
  • "Elf's Lament" by Barenaked Ladies and featuring Michael Buble.
  • "Father Christmas" by The Kinks, in which a man playing Father Christmas outside a (presumably British) department store is mugged by street thugs. "Father Christmas, give us your money! Don't mess around with those silly toys!" Punkest Christmas song ever!
  • "A Five-Pound Box of Money" by Pearl Bailey.
  • Comedy Choral group Folie Vergue Takititá have a very funny set of parodies of popular christmas songs. It includes an awesomely dirty version of the "Rudolph the Red-noised Reindeer" song, where turns out that Rudolphs's problem is very tiny.
  • The Canadian Brass version of "Frosty the Snowman" has one of the musicians taking on the persona of Frosty, in a jazzy rendition. He calls for "One more time" one time too many, provoking some discussions about "you know what happens when Frosty gets hot." Then he starts to melt.
  • Sarah Silverman's "Give the Jew Girl Toys", the video of which ends in Silverman cuddling next to a Bound and Gagged Santa Claus.
  • Butthole Surfers recorded a version of "Good King Wencelaus". It mainly fits this category because Gibby Haynes spends most of the song in a faux-drunken monologue (complete with slurred speech, stuttering and the occasional Alcohol Hic), where he's alternately commenting on the music itself or just ranting incoherently about, say, bugs having sex.
  • "Make A Daft Noise For Christmas" and Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me (about "a most immoral Santa") by The Goodies.
  • Within Temptation's "Gothic Christmas" is a tongue-in-cheek Christmas-themed rock song where Santa dresses in black and slays dragons, while Rudolph changes his name to "Ragnagord" and becomes an evil reindeer overlord.
  • "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo & Patsy.
    • And the sequel song, "Grandpa's Gonna Sue the Pants Off of Santa"
    • There was... an acoustic blues version of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" done by Poe.
    • Dr. Elmo also made a 2000 election version as well as another sequel song, "Please Don't Make Me Play That Grandma Song Again"; Dr. Elmo takes the role of a beleaguered radio DJ who is weary of playing that song. The self-deprecating humor (he criticizes his own singing) is brilliant.
    • Da Yoopers did a parody called "Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck."
    • A parody of a parody: "Grandpa Got Runned Over by a John Deere" by Cledus T. Judd. And yes, it's still a Christmas song... sorta.
    • There was also (during the height of their career) a parody song called "New Kids Got Run Over By A Reindeer" ...
  • The whole concept of the Hampton String Quartet's original Christmas albums ("What if Mozart Wrote Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "What if Mozart Wrote I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") is inherently tongue-in-cheek.
  • A youtube user made a parody of "Hark! The Angel Voices Sing!" by crossing it over with Portal and having the turrets singing, called, "Hark! The Turret Voices Sing!" about how all will bow down before the animal king and any who resist will be blown from the skies. Needless to say, it's a fine example of Black Comedy.
    • Followed up a year later with Carol of The Turrets. How many Christmas songs can you think of that talk about neurotoxin and GLaDOS?
  • "The Hat I Got For Christmas" by Mel Blanc.
  • "Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas", album credited to Tales from the Crypt and the Cryptkeeper.
  • "Here's Your Sign Christmas," Bill Engvall (not really parody, but comedy if you like the performer).
  • "The Hives & Cyndi Lauper - A Christmas Duel.": "I bought no gifts this year and I slept with your sister."
  • "Ho Ho [BEEP] Ho" by Kevin Bloody Wilson.
  • Pansy Division's shamelessly obscene "Homo Christmas."
  • "How Christmas is Supposed to Be" by Gary Barlow and Sheridan Smith, which goes for a Played for Laughs version of "Fairytale" with a couple having a blazing row on Christmas Eve to a surprisingly upbeat tune.
  • Thrash band Whiplash has a song called "I Hate Christmas", with arguably one of the greatest lines in all of music: "Jingle Bells, I'll see you in Hell!"
  • Kip Addotta's "I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus". It's actually Mommy in disguise.
  • "I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus," by Stand Still (no relation to the song above).
  • "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
  • Danny Gonzalez's "I'm Gonna Kill Santa Claus", in which the narrator decides to take advantage of the rules established by The Santa Clause and kill Santa so he can take over the job and get better presents.
  • "I Won't Be Home for Christmas" by blink-182, with a chorus that goes "It's Christmas time again/It's time to be nice to the people you can't stand."
    • Also "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" - "It's Christmas Eve and I've only wrapped 2 fuckin' presents."
  • Spike Jones also gave us "I'm the Angel in the Christmas Play", which is about an unrepentant delinquent (once again played by George Rock) cheerfully admitting to all the mischief he's been up to, ending each verse with an announcement that he's playing the angel in the school Christmas play.
  • One British band called the Go-Go's (no connection to those other Go-Go's) did a truly bizarre novelty song called "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek." The '60s were a weird time.
  • Gene Autry did it again with "If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas," which basically poses the question, "how would Santa Claus get his presents around the world if it doesn’t snow?" Better known for the Cluster F-Bomb laden cover version recorded in character by Joe Pesci himself on the album Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You.
  • The Chalkeaters has "It's a Gamer's Christmas", which showcases Christmas through the lens of your average gamer.
  • The Jingle Bell Barking Dogs.
    • And their feline counterparts.
  • "Jingle Rock Bell" is, well, a rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock" with all of the lyrics replaced with the words "jingle", "bell", and "rock" (e.g. "Bell jingle, rock jingle, rock rock bell / Bell rock, jingle rock, bell rock bell"). It originated when a metafilter user commented that he liked to sing the song that way, to his wife's annoyance.
  • "Jingle Smells" was a 1999 CD of Christmas songs with fart and belch sounds in place of instrumentals. The album, which got a grade of "F" from Entertainment Weekly, featured a cover of Santa with a whoopee cushion over his shoulder instead of a bag of toys.
  • Any existing song can be arbitrarily transformed into a Christmas song, to humorous effect, by enthusiastically appending the words "at Christmas" after any given line - as Australian comedy group Cheeky Moon does with their version of No Doubt's "Just a Girl".
    • Hot Dad tries doing the opposite, claiming that you can enjoy Christmas songs year round if you just substitute "Christmas" with other two syllable words. He starts out with "friendship", then quickly reaches the Unfortunate Implications of "White Friendship" and tries other methods.
  • Larry the Cable Guy has two Christmas albums, one filled with brief parodies of various Christmas songs and the other a parody of Christmas specials.
  • "Green Leaves," Lazy Smurf's parody of "Greensleeves" and "What Child Is This" that is sung about the joys of smoking smurfnip in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "A Haunted Christmas". Also in the same story is "Streams Of Sarsaparilla Ale," a parody of "Good King Wenceslas."
  • "Leroy the Redneck Reindeer," by Joe Diffie.
  • Sort of borderline, but "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" by the Ramones.
  • Denis Leary has a Christmas special as well as a song by the title "Merry Fucking Chistmas", complete with overly cynical lyrics such as "Old St. Nick's got bourbon breath / It's so cold you could catch your death / A cop just sold me crystal meth / It's a merry fucking Christmas"
  • The group Medioevo have "Mi Alegre Parrandón," a parody of the typical cutesy spunky carol by Los Tucusitos, where the "kid" singing ask for such gifts as anticonceptives for her sister (also a second hand bike "so her boss don't have to bring her in the early morning"), a battery radio and a number of personal effects for "[her] brother who is so innocent]" who is now in the Model Prison, and a grill and a big jar of Adobo for her mom to help her with her skewers-selling business near the Universitary Stadium. It ends with the "kid" having to be forcibly shut up while giving her Long List of wanted Christmas gifts, so the chorus can wrap up the song. It even has a Vocalod version!
  • AC/DC gives us "Mistress for Christmas", which (as one might have guessed from an AC/DC song) is less about the "Christmas" part and more about the "Mistress" part.
  • And let's not forget "Monster Holiday", the Christmas-themed sequel to "The Monster Mash".
  • Bob Dylan's klezmer-style rendition of "Must Be Santa" from his album Christmas in the Heart. Nothing like a good old-fashioned Hanukkah themed Christmas song!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000's "(Let's Have) a Patrick Swayze Christmas" and the Mike-Era "Merry Christmas... If That's Okay", which pokes fun at seasonal political correctness and the whole stupid "War on Christmas" phenomenon.
  • "No More Christmas Singles", the Spitting Image... er... Christmas Single, as well as "Santa Claus is on the Dole."
    No more Christmas singles
    They're worse than any war
    If we hear Aled Jones again
    We'll throw up on the floor
  • "No Presents for Christmas" by King Diamond.
  • "Nuttin' for Christmas" straddles the line between comedy and melancholy, telling of a Spoiled Brat who played all kinds of pranks and will get "nuttin' for Christmas" because "somebody snitched on me". It was originally done by a then six years old Barry Gordon, who later became famous as a voice actor. Stan Freberg did a version with some Stylistic Suck (the boy swallows in the middle of a line at one point, and at another he tells the orchestra to hurry up as he's running out of breath), where Santa seems to show up at the end only to reveal himself as a buglar (played by Daws Butler), who the boy cheerfully lets into the house in exchange for a cut of the profits from the heist.
  • The entire Oi to the World album by the Vandals, but especially "My First Christmas As a Woman".
    • The title song - later covered by No Doubt - is about an Indian punk and a skinhead getting in a fight that nearly results in the death of both of them - at least, until the spirit of the holidays wins out.
  • The cast of Phineas and Ferb have a Christmas album with a couple parodies. One has Buford annoying Baljeet with a self-aggrandizing version of "Good King Wenceslas"; another one has Major Monogram of all people singing "Perry the Platypus" to the tune of "Frosty the Snowman", accompanied by Carl's commentary. And then there's the whole cast's collective version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas".
  • Pink Floyd, of all bands had a Christmas song that they did as a one-off joke for BBC Radio. The lyrics are straight enough (being about Santa coming and the dividing of parcels), but the whole thing is so ridiculous and the production values so atypically crappy, that it belongs here rather than in straight examples.
    "...Christmas parcels under the tree....NONE for you and SIX FOR ME!"
  • "Please Santa Claus" by Anna Russell.
  • The Pokémon album Pokémon Christmas Bash features comedic Pokémon themed Christmas songs. One of this is infamously about how Misty wants to kiss Ash Under the Mistletoe while Ash tries to avoid the mistletoe.
  • Psychostick:
  • And to continue with the Blue Collar Comedy, "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas," Jeff Foxworthy. He also did a parody version of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," in which a family doesn't get any Christmas presents because the narrator shot at Santa the previous night, thinking Santa was robbing his neighbor.
  • Bob Rivers has produced numerous albums full of these. Among his more notable songs:
    • A disturbingly hilarious parody of "Walkin' In a Winter Wonderland" called "Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear", about crossdressing.
    • "Grabbe Yahbalz" ("Grab your balls like Michael Jackson! Fa-la-la-la-la...), his Signature Song "The Twelve Pains of Christmas" ("The first thing of Christmas that's such a pain to me is finding a Christmas tree.")
    • "The Chimney Song" (about a little girl who finds Santa stuck in her chimney)
    • "Jingle Hells Bells", a Rock-Star Song spoof sung to a mashup of "My Favourite Things" and "Highway to Hell"
    • "The 'What's It to Ya?' Chorus"
    • "I Came Upon a Roadkill Deer"
    • "The Restroom Door Said 'Gentlemen'"
    • and, most brilliantly, "O Little Town of Bethlehem" set to the tune of "The House of the Rising Sun", with a pretty good Dylan impersonation.
  • Every Christmas since 2014, Jacksfilms makes a collection of so-called "Royalty-Free Christmas Songs". Most of these are very short comical snippets or skits, although a few of them are long enough to be fully-fledged songs, such as "Jingle My Bells" or "A Quarantined Qwistmas".
  • "Rusty Chevrolet", an ode to The Alleged Car, again by Da Yoopers.
  • The cast of Sailor Moon Abridged did an album of parody songs, that can be bought on their site.
  • This commercial for (the fake) "The Sharks A Capella Holiday Album" supposedly produced by the San Jose Sharks. It manages not only to make fun of and lampshade holiday songs and albums, but also the commercials that are used to peddle them as well.
    Announcer: Yes, vocal tones so unique and distinctive, only your dog can truly appreciate them!
  • "Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt, covered by Madonna and pretty much every other female artist at one time or another.
  • Tiny Tim released the jaw-dropping "Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS This Year."
  • "Ohhhh, Santa Claus, Santa Claus, You are much too fat..." The highlight of many an Elementary School Christmas performance.
  • "Santa Claus Is Pagan Too" by Neopagan group Emerald Rose. A fairly good-natured Take That! at Christians who are either ignorant of or prefer to disregard the Pagan origins of many Christmas traditions.
  • "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy" by Buck Owens, covered by Garth Brooks and pretty much every other male country artist at one time or another.
  • Caroline Polachek has "So Cold You're Hurting My Feelings", a Self-Parody of her song "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings" that replaces the original's steamy, lustful lyrics with references to wintry and Christmas-y imagery (for example, the latter's refrain is "show me the banana" while the former's refrain is "I'm a good girl, Santa").
  • Paradox Interactive released the Songs of Yuletide DLC for Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV. The lyrics for said songs are dedicated to pillaging England and taking over the world.
  • "Merry F**king Christmas" and "A Lonely Jew on Christmas", both from South Park.
  • The Chieftains' Christmas album The Bells of Dublin includes a hilarious collaboration with Elvis Costello called "St. Stephan's Day Murders". Christmas is over, and a few members of the family have had it with holiday cheer.
  • Harry Stewart recorded several of these in the '40s and '50s in the guise of his Norwegian-American character "Yogi Yorgesson". Examples include "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas," Yingle Bells," and "I Was Santa Claus at the School House (for the P.T.A.)."
  • A cappela group Straight No Chaser has a song called "12 Days" that blends "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with... almost everything. It starts fairly normal, until about half the group jumps from two to four, and is corrected by the other half, who interpolate the third day lyrics in, before ending up somehow at five golden rings. And then they start throwing in "Deck the Halls", "Here We Come A-Wassailing", "Carol of the Bells", "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and, I kid you not, Toto's "Africa". (And the one Jewish member tries singing "I Have a Little Dreidel".) Seriously, just listen.
    • Straight No Chaser would follow "12 Days" up with "The Christmas Can-Can", a satire of Christmas commercialism, to the tune of Offenbach's "The Infernal Gallop", aka The Can Can Song.
    • They also do a version of "We Three Kings" that starts out blended with the Mission: Impossible theme before going reggae.
  • They Might Be Giants have a few, most of which involve Santa Claus acting like a dick to the narrator.
  • "Throw The Yule Log On Uncle John" by PDQ Bach has a series of lyrics that humorously change meaning depending on where you put the punctuation.
  • The Venezuelan song "Tun-tun," about a grouchy Scrooge type complaining about all the people celebrating outside and disrupting his sleep. It includes the verse (translated) "If the Kid note  has born/ then you go to Bethelem/ and me, from my bed/I'll give you my bless".
  • "The Twelve Days After Christmas" focuses on the downsides of owning all the gifts from its namesake song, and the nasty breakup between the "true loves" that results.
    The four calling birds were a big mistake / for their language was obscene / the five golden rings were completely fake / and they turned my fingers green!
    • The title works only because many people don't realize that the actual "Twelve Days of Christmas" are after Christmas; they are the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany.
  • "The Twelve Days of Christmas with Doug and Bob McKenzie", aka "The Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas".
    On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 5 GOLDEN TOQUES! Four pounds of back bacon, three French toasts, two turtlenecks, and a beer...
    ...in a treeeeee...
  • Fay McKay recorded "The Twelve Daze of Christmas", with various alcohols as gifts and sounding increasingly drunker as the song progresses.
  • Allan Sherman's "The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas," with such offerings as a Japanese transistor radio, green polka dot pajamas, a calendar book with the name of his insurance man, simulated alligator wallet and much more. On the twelfth day, he's going to exchange them all.
  • Pretty much everything on the albums A Very Scary Solstice and An Even Scarier Solstice.
  • Hark, how the WAA all seem to WAA, joining in rhyme. WALUIGI TIME!
  • "What A Great Christmas It Was" by Bob McGrath. Yes, that Bob McGrath. It's worth listening to just for the Parental Bonus about 58 seconds in...
  • A webpage full of "Wiccan Yule Carols", if you're into celebrating Wiccan style.
  • "Christmas at Ground Zero" and "The Night Santa Went Crazy", both by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
    • His song "Weasel Stomping Day", sung in typical Glurgical Christmas style, concerns a fictitious holiday in which people wear Viking helmets, spread mayonnaise on their lawns, and squish weasels under their boots.
  • Ray Stevens has several, including "Xerox Xmas Letter," (an over-the-top Christmas letter for "Nightmare Before Christmas" where he dreams that a bunch of lawyers take Santa to court for wearing fur, smoking, working only one day a year, etc.).
  • Heywood Banks' "You Ain't Gettin' Diddly Squat" is a song about how Santa isn't bothering to get you anything because of how bad you've been all year.
  • "You Ain't Getting Shit for Christmas" by Red Peters. The song is hilarious when ma "Takes the two fruitcakes and the turkey and throws them out the front window."
  • "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

    Glurge-laden 
These are very much YMMV. One person's Glurge is another person's Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Please don't natter about how you disagree with an entry.

  • "The Cat Carol." Sweet Jesus, "The Cat Carol".
  • "Christmastime in Arkansas Again". A syrupy-sweet reflection about Christmas and an unashamed tribute to the state of Arkansas, with a locally famous weatherman named Ned Perme on piano.
  • "Christmas in the Northwest" by Brenda White.
  • "Christmas Shoes," the only mainstream radio hit by Christian pop group Newsong, is a story told by a man who was griping about the shopping crunch, reminded of the True Meaning of Christmas by an extremely poor little boy trying to gather enough change pennies to buy shoes for his mother who might very well die on Christmas Eve. Not only glurgy, but also highly manipulative and depressing.
    Little boy: Daddy says there's not much time / You see, she's been sick for quite a while
    And I know these shoes will make her smile / And I want her to look beautiful / If Mama meets Jesus tonight.
    • There is also a good chunk of possible Values Dissonance; in at the end of the song the narrator concludes that God arranged the whole thing, tragedy included, just to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
    • Also the assumption that Jacob Marley Apparel is in effect and that Jesus is shallow enough to care. Oh, and let's not forget that the poor kid is not only about to lose his mother, but blow the last of his cash just to make her smile one last time when he's going to sorely need it to help keep himself alive very soon.
    • All of which makes Patton Oswalt's standup comedy bit giving the song a Take That! by parsing its meaning line-by-line that much more hilarious. Watch it (with bonus animated accompaniment) here.
  • The "Coventry Carol" is probably the oldest of these songs. It was originally part of a stage play written in the 16th century; the song is essentially about the Massacre Of The Innocents that takes place after the birth of Jesus.
  • "Do They Know It's Christmas?" first done by BandAid in 1984 to raise money for the victims of the Ethiopian famine, comparing it with the joyous occasion of Christmas in first-world countries. The subsequent Live Aid concert and charity appeal raised about £150m. Sadly, it may have actually made the situation worse- some journalists have claimed the money ended up in the hands of the military junta, who used for an enforced resettlement program. Up to 100,000 people may have been killed as a result. The earlier civil war had actually made the famine worse.
    • As for the song itself, it contains an instance of research failure with the line "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time". Tell that one to the people of Kenya...
    • Also, "No rain or rivers flow..." except, ya know, that longest river in the world... (the fucking Nile!)
    • Critics reportedly responded poorly to the two subsequent renditions of the song (in 1989 and 2004) because they felt that they were cashing in on the original, which they said had its heart in the right place in spite of its obvious drawbacks.
    • The 2014 version was sung to raise up awareness of the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. This version was so well-received that it only spent one week at No1 and had already left the Top Ten by the time Christmas came round.
  • Any song about New Year's Eve, although not directly related with Christmas, but in some countries begins to air about the same time. The glurgiest one is "Faltan Cinco Pa' Las Doce," either the original by Nestor Zavarce or the Jose Luis Rodiguez version, who in Venezuela is ritually broadcast into any radial New Year Countdown ever.
  • "Granddad" with Clive Dunn.
  • "Grown-Up Christmas List," originally performed by Natalie Cole and David Foster but a favorite of cheesy, melisma-loving pop singers everywhere.
  • "Happy Birthday, Jesus" by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Starts out as a cheesy version of the standard Happy Birthday song, and by the time it gets to the lyric "I'm so glad it's Christmas / All the tinsel and lights / And the presents are nice / But the real gift is you" you will probably want to kill.
    • It's usually performed at Christmas concerts by the absolute youngest member of any given choir, too. So imagine those lyrics sung in a wavering, high-pitched falsetto to get the full effect.
      • Another "Happy Birthday, Jesus" was recorded in 1959 by an intolerably sweet moppet called Little Cindy. She was a child evangelist apparently, with a godawful (fake?) Southern accent: "She said you was so awful good/ And then she made me crah/ She said they nailed you to the cross/ They wanted you to dah." John Waters later reissued it in a compilation album of bad Christmas recordings.
      • And yet another version of "Happy Birthday, Jesus" features an insufferable little boy gaily singing about how he got only one gift that year, his mother's aforementioned song.
  • And that old classic, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". It sounds like a funny parody, except that hippos are one of the most aggressive and dangerous animals on the planet. Not so funny anymore, is it?
    • The song was actually meant to raise money to buy a hippopotamus for the singer's local zoo.
  • Another one for the pile: "Merry Christmas" by the Christian band Third Day.
  • A particularly jarring example is "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" by John Denver. The contrast of the lyrics with the cheery, upbeat music makes it more depressing than a really depressing thing.
  • Train's "Shake Up Christmastime" was written for a Coca-Cola commercial in 2010, though the extended version regularly receives radio airplay during the holiday season and was also performed at the Christmas parade at Disney Theme Parks in 2014. cs188 has an hilarious YouTube Poop of it here.
  • "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" by the St. Winifred's Girls' School Choir. Not a Christmas song per se, but is one by association due to being aimed at grannies and becoming the UK Christmas Number One single of 1980 — beating out John Lennon after his death, no less!
  • "Ven a mi casa esta Navidad" by Luis Aguile, about the singer offering a friend without friends or family to spend Christmas with him and his family, fits somewhere between Glurge and tearjerker. Other singers covering this go with glurgey.

    Other 
  • "All I want for Christmas is to Kick Your Ass", by the Midnight Riders. Yes, the band made up for Left 4 Dead 2.
  • "Christmas in the Caribbean" maintains Jimmy Buffett's preferred tropical theming.
  • Pictured above: The Star Wars album Christmas in the Stars, which is not quite as infamous as The Star Wars Holiday Special but comparably misconceived (at least they don't sing about "Life Day" here). It featured the voices of Anthony Daniels and, on "R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas," an 18-year-old named John Bongiovi.
  • In Venezuela, Gaita Zuliana are often lumped with other Christmas songs, despite most of the songs that are not about partying, how great singing Gaita is or current issues are about either Our Lady of Chinquinquirá (November 18), San Benito de Palermo (December 27), and New Year's Eve.
  • Full Metal Jacket has Drill Sergeant Nasty singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus as the platoon stands at attention.
  • In 2007 or 2008, Sting was asked by his label if he would like to do a Christmas album. He refused, but instead released a winter-themed album, 2009's If on a Winter's Night.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic released a Christmas album called, appropriately enough, It's A Pony Kind of Christmas, with each of the Mane 6 doing a different song, appropriately modified for them, such as Fluttershy singing a very nature themed version of "Silent Night", and Rainbow Dash doing a pop punk rendition of "Jingle Bells", along with a few original songs.
  • "Linus and Lucy," a jazz piano song that's the de facto theme song for Peanuts. It contains no lyrics and was never meant to contain any lyrics, yet is indelibly linked to Christmas because it comes from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is the Trope Codifier for pretty much every other Christmas special. Expect to hear this song included in Christmas song rotations completely unironically.
  • "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence", composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto for the film of the same name: Despite its title, there is little to no Christmas elements in the music, which is an entirely piano- and string- based instrumental piece with influences from traditional East Asian music. Nevertheless, this song has become a Christmas staple in the US, Britain and Japan.
  • "My Favorite Things," taken from The Sound of Music, has come to be considered one even though it really hasn't anything to do with Christmas (or even winter, save for the one line about snowflakes).
  • The Nostalgia Chick did a countdown of the Top Ten Most Disturbing And Inescapable Christmas Songs. With all the Glurge and creepy messages the titular songs featured, it's probably no wonder she filled it with Black Comedy and horrific imagery.
  • "O Holy Crap." Good lord, good lord.
  • Lady and the Tramp features the song "Peace on Earth" at its beginning, which is based on "Silent Night" with a new melody.
  • Many people don't realize this, but Outkast's debut single "Players Ball" is actually a Christmas song, released on their record label's holiday compilation A LaFace Family Christmas. The video doesn't show it, but the lyrics make a few scant references to Christmas in the South.
  • "The Power of Love" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Another by-association one, although the lyrics are more appropriate to Hallowe'en. Gabrielle Alpin later did an effective cover version for a Christmas advert.
  • The Monkees did an acapella rendition of an old, Renaissance-era Spanish carol, Riu Chiu.
  • "Santa Stole My Girlfriend" by The Maine. The title is pretty self-explanatory. Chorus calls Santa an obscene name.
  • "Stay Another Day" by East 17 is another by-association Christmas song. It's lyrically a Break-Up Song that became associated with the holiday through its rather Christmassy music video, and has since been featured on a few Christmas albums.
  • Classical music gives us "Troika", the third movement of Sergei Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé suite, taken from his score for the 1934 Soviet film of that name. Prokofiev only wanted to evoke the sensation of rushing through a snowy Russian winter on a troika (a sled drawn by three horses). But Memetic Mutation took place, possibly down to the associations (outside Russia) of sleds and snow with Christmas, and this piece now only tends to get played around December. Another association is that one Greg Lake nicked it as a leitmotif for his lugubrious seasonal hit "I Believe in Father Christmas", consigning the original piece even further into the Christmas ghetto.
  • Back when The Weather Channel had the Local on the 8's with the teletype and the Muzak, they would often switch to Christmas Muzak in December.
  • World's Dumbest... features a few clips of people singing Christmas songs (albeit for a very loose definition of "singing").
    • One clip features a mother/daughter duo lifelessly singing "Go Tell It on the Mountain". The mother looks like she's only half-awake, while her daughter clearly looks like she would rather be anywhere else.
    • Another clip has a woman singing her own song "Excuse My Christmas". She's horribly off-key, and the poor quality of the animated background is mercilessly mocked by the commentators.
    • The "Holidays" episode starts with the cast singing their own version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The "partridge in a pear tree" focuses on Danny Bonaduce, aka Danny Partridge.
  • "Yule Shoot Your Eye Out" by Fall Out Boy. Contains lyrics such as 'Merry Christmas, I could care less' and 'all I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me, before you bury yourself alive.'


Alternative Title(s): Christmas Carol

Top

"What's This?"

Jack Skellington finds himself in Christmas Town and is elated by what he is seeing (even if he has no idea WHAT it is).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChristmasSongs

Media sources:

Report