We're looking forward to the holidays. Kinda. Image: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum.
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Ho, ho, how does anyone listen to this stuff?

We’ve made it to that time of year again, with the whimsical lights, the fireplace crackling, and barrels of chestnuts ready to roast over the flames. We’ve also made it to that point of the year where the sun sets at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. feels like midnight. 

With the nights getting cold and dark, many of us turn to the magic of music to bring comfort and joy to our seasonal depression. Some Christmas music is really timeless, and we can listen to it year after year, but some… not so much.

There are so many god-awful Christmas songs out there, so let’s acknowledge the top 10 worst Christmas songs that need to get thrown into the fire right with our chestnuts and marshmallows.  

1) “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” by Elmo & Patsy

This song was originally released in 1979 and should have stayed there. Sung by Elmo and Patsy and an outlier among numerous storytelling Christmas songs, this particular single is a Christmas-turned-true crime saga. If you listen to this every year, I’m asking Santa to sneak some music taste in your stocking.

5/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

2) “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by Gayla Peevey

When we were kids, this song was a classic. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t jam out to this song as a five-year-old. And if you had a Canadian childhood, then listening to this song after watching the infamous  “House Hippo” commercial was even more accurate. But there comes a time where you need to leave it behind. You’re in your twenties now. Stop.

4/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

3) “All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)” by Alvin & the Chipmunks

This song was written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Gardener, who taught music to children, hence “two front teeth” — which is cute. What is not cute is blasting the Alvin and the Chipmunks version of this song at any point during the holiday season. In fact, that goes for any Alvin and the Chipmunks cover song ever made. Just don’t do it.

4/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

4) “Drummer Boy” by Justin Bieber & Busta Rhymes

Sorry Beliebers, but in the grand scheme of Christmas music, this song does not even come close to being a classic. Justin Bieber will be remembered for other things, like his DUIs. As for his remake of an already not-great song, it’s a miss. 

Pop music has taken over and we have all had to come to terms with it, but adding a back track filled with bells and drums to make it ‘Christmas-y’ and then going all out with the electronic crescendos that you hear in a nightclub does not mix. Are we in a rave? 

Not to mention how the song abruptly ends with no outro except for Bieber’s rapping “I’m the drummer boy so do it, do it.” No one asked you to be the drummer boy, Justin.

5/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

5) “Santa Baby” by Madonna

Picture this: you’re curled up on the couch drinking your hot cocoa, your parents are finishing up the Christmas dinner, your grandma walks in and sits down to have a nice little chat to ask how you’ve been, and “Santa Baby” comes on. This has got to be one of the most sexual Christmas songs out there, and that’s totally up to you and your partner if you want to fetishize an old man dressed in a red suit whose only diet consists of milk and cookies. But to most people, this song never applies to the vibes in the room. Let’s just pack it up and send it on its way.

3/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

6) “Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives 

Okay, you may be wondering why this is on the list, but let’s be real. No one says “holly jolly” anymore, and especially with our world’s current state, having a “holly jolly” Christmas almost seems like a joke. Is it really the best time of the year? We won’t be seeing as much (if any) family this year, so spending it in a quarantined-state may not be defined as “a cup of cheer.” 

3/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

7) “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues ft. Kristy MacColl

If there was a musical form of that one drunk uncle who ruins Christmas… this song is it. Whenever this song begins (since it’s somehow jammed into your Christmas playlist), everyone always stops for a second, thinking “wait, what is this?” 

Sung by The Pogues featuring Kristy MacColl, their Anglo-Irish Celtic sounds chime through the somewhat Christmasy sounds of a drunken Christmas in New York. This song is best played near the end of your festivities since no one will be singing the words right regardless.

4/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

8) “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Buffet

No it isn’t. Next.

But seriously, this is one of the world’s most overplayed songs by far. It’s overused in movies ironically, un-ironically, as background music, in commercials, in cards. It will stay with us even after Christmas is over to advertise boxing week sales. Do yourself a favour: allow yourself to step away from this song. It will be okay. We’re here for you.

3/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

9) “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by The Jackson 5

Yet another sexual Christmas song on this list. In case some people still believe this song is about the kids mother cheating on her husband with Santa… her husband is Santa. Now that that’s cleared up, if you choose to take part in the Santa fetish there’s no shame. Just enjoy listening to this song at your family dinner, or skipping it like the rest of us but never taking the time to delete it from the playlist.

4/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

10) “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski 

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is another holiday classic that just gets overplayed a bit too much, but this specific version has made it to the top of my naughty list. No one wants to unwind by the fire and relax while listening to the explicit consent giving of Lemanski singing “you reserve the right to say no” with an indie backtrack. Consent is sexy —  the way Liza and Lemanski portray it is not. Along with the complete rewrite, the song tries too hard to be ‘quirky’ and relatable by mentioning “what is this drink? Pomegranate La Croix.” I’m sure the rest of us are sipping that on our dates and leaving right after for a real drink.

5/5 bags of coal if you listen to this.

How many bags of coal will you be getting this holiday season?


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper