Tag Archives: worst christmas songs

And the Award Goes To…

#1 The Christmas Shoes

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Everyone? Yeah, okay.

I can’t even begin to list the number of things wrong with this song, but I’m going to have to try, of course. The sheer cheesiness of the song should be enough to make my list, but it’s the kind of song that just gets worse and worse and worse.

If you haven’t heard it (and I don’t know how that can be humanly possible), there’s the narrator and he’s all hurrying to buy those last minute Christmas gifts when he sees a young boy in front of him trying to buy a pair of ladies shoes because his mother is dying and he wants her to look beautiful as she meets Jesus. Predictably, the boy cannot afford said shoes, so the narrator generously pays for them and then learns the true meaning of Christmas, which is apparently buying shoes for a dying woman.

Not only is this an awful song–apparently it’s a made-for-tv movie. Seriously.

I mean, why? WHY?

Let’s break it down.

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
tryin’ to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood

Okay, I can empathize. I’ve been purposely avoiding the mall lately. As if I hung out at the mall before. I didn’t. but I’m certainly not going to start now.

Standing right in front of me
was a little boy waiting anxiously
pacin’ around like little boys do
and in his hands he held a pair of shoes

Okay, weird.

His clothes were old and worn
he was dirty from head to toe
and when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

I’m going to interrupt you for a second here. First of all, we’re dealing with a Tiny Tim ragamuffin. And I’ll just tell you what he’s going to say is that he can’t afford the shoes. Now the song doesn’t get to that part until the next verse, but “I couldn’t believe what I heard him say” is like–really? You didn’t see that coming? Like what do you THINK he’s going to say? “Excuse me, are these ladies shoes part of the buy-one-get-one promotion? Can I throw in a sensible pair of sneakers?” No, because we’re talking about Tiny Tim, right?

“Sir I want to buy these shoes
for my Mama please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size”

What kid knows his mother’s shoe size? I’m a fully grown woman and I have no idea what my mother’s shoe size is. 7 maybe?

“You see, she’s been sick for quite a while, and
I know these shoes would make her smile, and
I want her to look beautiful
when Mama meets Jesus tonight”

Oh, so many issues. So Mama’s been sick and she’s pretty much going to die tonight. The shoes will make her smile. Okay, that’s admirable. But, like, save the receipt, know what I’m sayin’? And also this thing about Jesus–I mean look, I don’t pretend to be a 100% expert on Jesus, but I’m pretty sure He thinks you’re beautiful no matter what kind of footwear you’re wearing.

He counted pennies for what seems like years

You’ve just heard that this kid wants to buy these shoes for his dying mother, and you’re impatient because he’s counting pennies???

Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”

Cold-hearted jerk.

He searched his pockets frantically
then he turned and looked at me 
He said “Mama made Christmas good in our house
though most years she just did without
tell me, sir, what am I gonna do
somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”

For starters, the cashier must be a real ass if he’s going to cut this kid off after already hearing his sob story. I mean, call a manager and comp the kid or something. He’s clearly not got the money and really, would he really scam the store for a pair of ladies shoes?

So I laid the money down
I just had to help him out

Now here’s another thing with this song. Why is this guy so self-congratulatory that he helped this kid out? I mean, of course you helped him out. If you didn’t, that would make you as big of a Scrooge as the cashier.

I’ll never forget the look on his face
when he said “Mama’s going to look so great”

It’s nice that he wants his dying mother to look great, but with shoes???

Sir I want to buy these shoes, for my Mama please
it’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
can you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time
you see, she’s been sick for quite a while
and I know these shoes would make her smile
and I want her to look beautiful
when Mama meets Jesus tonight

Oh, it’s the ghastly chorus again! The death is imminent, so why is the kid shopping on Christmas Eve, for crying out loud? Who deliberately goes shopping on Christmas Eve? And did he set out to find a pair of shoes? Or were they an impulse purchase? And also, Jesus doesn’t care about your footwear. The dude wore sandals.

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of Heaven’s love
as he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
to remind me just what Christmas is all about

SHOES FOR A DYING MOTHER IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT????? And like what, God said “this guy needs to be more selfish and get into the giving spirit. I could send him a copy of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol,’ or I can kill off this little boy’s mom and send the kid out for a pair of shoes for another stranger to buy”? That’s kind of an awful lesson. You know what would be a good lesson? If the narrator were like “okay, here’s the money for the shoes, and you know what? I’m really sorry to hear about your mom and obviously your family needs some help–let’s swing by the grocery store and get a bag of food for y’all, okay?”

Or you can just buy the shoes.

And then they repeat the chorus, in case you forgot that when you meet Jesus, he’s going to look down and your feet and say, “Girlfriend–Crocs are ugly. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

The schmaltz factor is agonizing. Truly agonizing. In fact, the whole song is agonizing. So agonizing that it reaches #1 on my list.

Merry Musical Christmas, everyone!
#10 Santa Baby (Madonna)

#9 Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs

#8 Feliz Navidad

#7 Last Christmas (Wham!)

#6 The Chipmunk Song/I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas

#5 The Chanukah Song (original version) by Adam Sandler

#4 Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

#3 Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas

#2 Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Shelby’s 10 Worst Christmas Songs #2

This one goes in the “are you kidding me???” category:

#2 Do They Know It’s Christmas (by various celebrity do-gooders)

I’ve said it before–I’m a child of the 80s, and I love 80s music. LOVE. But you know, there’s some really bad stuff floating around out there, and this song is one of them.

Do They Know It’s Christmas was recorded by a group of British and Irish pop stars as a part of Band Aid (the name always cracks me up) to raise money for famine relief. Recorded in 1984, it represented an era of rock stars who thought that getting a bunch of famous people together and singing a song could eradicate world hunger (see also: “We Are the World” and “Hands Across America”).

This song is truly awful, but it does have two good things going for it: 1) it apparently raised a lot of money, so, yay! and 2) the video is unbelievably awesome:

And first, a few notes about the video. It’s a real trip down memory lane seeing some of those faces. Boy George’s shoulder pads are so huge he probably had to turn sideways to get through doorways. The hairstyles are, as always, classic 80s (and I’m personally convinced that the 80s is in a large part responsible for the hole in the ozone layer due to its massive overuse of Aqua Net, and I don’t exclude myself here). George Michael sings, which marks his second appearance on Shelby’s Worst Christmas Songs like. George, just stick to non-holiday music, okay? And even among this group of highly talented and fashionable men, George Michael STILL has the best mullet.

My heart melted a little at the sight of all of the original members of Duran Duran. I went to one of their concerts in the last few years where they’d replaced a few members and oh my god, it was horrible. So seeing Duran Duran in its original configuration was wonderful. Over there on the drums was Phil Collins, which prompted me to think “Dude, he didn’t have any hair all the way back in 1984???”  And seriously–Sting? STING! He looks so young! I mean, I know it’s almost 30 years later (!) but Sting looks like a toddler version of himself in this video, and according to my lazy research, he was 33 at the time of taping. It’s awesome to see a young Bono too.

But that’s where my praise of the song ends.

Because really, let’s take a good look at it.

It’s Christmas time
There’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time
We let in light, and we banish shade

Okay, that’s no so bad.

And in our world of plenty
we can spread a smile of joy
throw your arms around the world
at Christmas time

Yes! Every Christmas I just want to give the whole world a great big hug!

But say a prayer
pray for the other ones
at Christmas time, it’s hard
but when you’re having fun

It’s hard?

There’s a world outside your window
and it’s a world of dreaded fear

Oh god, that’s cheery!

Where the only water flowing
is a bitter sting of tears

Okay, yes, Africa (specifically Ethiopia) was, at the time, experiencing a horrific drought, but Africa is a BIG continent.

And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom

Clanging chimes of doom? Seriously?

Well tonight thank God it’s them
instead of you

Whoa, whoa, whoa–wait a minute here. Thank god it’s them instead of me? Like every year, right after I declare I want to give the whole wide world a big hug, I think “Thank God, there are starving people in Africa…and I’m not one of them!!” yep, that sounds about right.

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
the greatest gift they’ll get this year is life

Again, Africa = Big Place. There may not be snow in the flat lands of Ethiopia, but that doesn’t mean there’s no snow at all. And isn’t life the greatest gift we ALL get?

Where nothing ever grows
no rain or rivers flow
do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

No rain or rivers flow? Except, like, the NILE??? You know, the longest river in the world? And do they know it’s Christmas? Do YOU know they’re not all Christians?

Here’s to you
raise your glass for everyone


Here’s to them
underneath that burning sun


Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

The real question is, do they care? No, because they’re all dying.

Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time
(repeat several times)

Or, I have an idea–how about we just feed them every day of the year? Like “Hey, here’s some rice, since you’re a human being enduring unimaginable suffering” instead of “Hey, here’s some rice–Merry Christmas!”

Perhaps my favorite part of this whole story is that Bob Geldof, one of the people who wrote the song, now completely hates it. My favorite quote:

He said: ‘I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. One is Do They Know It’s Christmas? and the other one is We Are The World.

‘Any day soon, I will go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will be playing. Every ****ing Christmas.’

Heh. So why do people keep playing it, and an even bigger question–why do people keep re-recording it???

Do me a Christmas favor and retire this one.
#10 Santa Baby (Madonna)

#9 Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs

#8 Feliz Navidad

#7 Last Christmas (Wham!)

#6 The Chipmunk Song/I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas

#5 The Chanukah Song (original version) by Adam Sandler

#4 Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

#3 Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas

Shelby’s Worst Christmas Songs #3

Scroll down for previous winners.

And without further adieu…

#3 Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas

Now let me say right off the bat that I am a huge John Denver fan. HUGE. I know, right? I think it’s all of those summers spent at Girl Scout camp singing about our Rocky Mountain High or something. Anyway, I love John Denver. So many moons ago when I found a John Denver Christmas album, I was totally excited.

And am still excited, except for one song: Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas.

Now as far as my internet research goes, this song was first recorded by the aforementioned John Denver, although Alan Jackson and at least one other group did a cover.

Which begs the question, why do a cover of THIS?

I mean really–start with the title. Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas. You’d kind of think that this song doesn’t have anywhere to go but up, or maybe it’s a joke song or something, but no, this is about the narrator exhorting his father to not become inebriated this Christmas.

The chorus is:

Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Momma cry
Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Momma cry

See, the chorus has to repeat itself there, because the first time you hear it you’re like “Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas? I don’t wanna see my Momma cry? Surely I misheard that” but then it’s repeated and no, you haven’t misheard anything.

The song then continues:

Just last year when I was only seven
Now I’m almost eight, as you can see

Funny how eight follows seven, and this is a song and you’re a grown man singing it, so not, I can’t “see” that this year you’re almost eight.

You came home, quarter past eleven
fell down underneath our Christmas tree

 Nice. The only thing that would make this better is if Daddy were wearing a Santa suit.

The chorus then continues, carrying on the song and, just in case you might still be doubting what they’re singing, repeats itself.

Momma smiled and looked outside the window
told me “Son, you better go upstairs”

What, the window is going to be some kind of decoy? Obviously the dad’s in the habit of coming home late and passing out drunk underneath the Christmas tree, Easter basket, 4th of July flag, and probably any number of other holidays. So what is Momma doing looking out the window? Searching for Santa? Or maybe the cops?

Then you laughed and hollered “Merry Christmas”
I turned around and saw my Momma’s tears

 Okay, for real, dude. Not only are you stumbling into the house in the middle of the night crashing in the living room, you’re then hollering “Merry Christmas” in what could easily be described as the irony of the century in that household, given that the child has now begged you not to do this and predictably, Momma cries, and there’s just no way this is going to be a happy Christmas morning at the rate this is going. I mean seriously, Dad. Couldn’t you just HOLD IT TOGETHER for one night at Christmas?

Then in case you might have forgotten what the song is, the chorus is repeated a couple more times, and that’s the end.

What makes this song so unbelievably baffling is its lack of clues as to its context. Like, “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas” is supposed to be cute and for kids, and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” while tasteless, is clearly a comedic song, but this one–Denver sings it with a complete straight face in the middle of his Christmas album, nestled right in between “Silver Bells” and “Christmas for Cowboys.” (both of which are perfectly lovely songs, by the way). I mean, we can only hope he was kidding here, but it doesn’t come across that way. It just comes across creepy.

Earning itself #3 on my list.

#10 Santa Baby (Madonna)

#9 Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs

#8 Feliz Navidad

#7 Last Christmas (Wham!)

#6 The Chipmunk Song/I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas

#5 The Chanukah Song (original version) by Adam Sandler

#4 Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Shelby’s 10 Worst Christmas Songs #5: Chanukah Edition

So it occurred to me that I haven’t gathered these all up in one place–so for starters, here’s the list:

#10 Santa Baby (Madonna)

#9 Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs

#8 Feliz Navidad

#7 Last Christmas (Wham!)

#6 The Chipmunk Song/I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas

And here we are at #5. I know it’s not Chanukah yet, but I thought I’d throw this one in here right now.

Yes, it’s Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler.

Seriously, I don’t know how it happened, but this became the popular anthem of Chanukah for non-Jews. Like, it’s the only Chanukah song we non-Jews know, aside from Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel.

And it’s awful.

If you haven’t heard it, please don’t click on the above link. Actually, don’t click on the above link anyway. I don’t even know why I put it there. I guess I felt obligated to include the actual song somewhere.

Basically what it is, is Adam Sandler (who is Jewish) lists names of celebrities who are also Jewish and thus celebrating Chanukah. With the clever and catchy refrain, “Put on your yarmulke, it’s time for Chanukah.” It’s full of funny and up-to-date jokes, like a line about OJ Simpson (not a Jew, and also it’s not the 1990s anymore). And also Adam Sandler is a comedian, not a singer, so his singing is like Bob Dylan except that Bob Dylan was actually, like, talented and could sing in his own special way. So basically nothing like Bob Dylan. And not only is Adam Sandler a bad singer, he’s also a bad comedian. It’s the worst of all worlds.

I actually vastly prefer this fun cover by the Maccabeats, and wish it could become the official Chanukah song. Plus it’s a cool video.

And I totally love this too:

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