17 Replies to “Hippest Holiday Song”

  1. Okay, so I know I’m not the most popular of persons when I say this, but Frosty the Snowman gives me the creeps. I never liked him much as a kid, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized why. I think he’s a pedophile. Seriously! He comes out of nowhere to this little town, plays games with the kids, gets them to jump on his back, etc. He’s just creepy!

  2. Thank you, Peacebang, for posting this list…and including Josh Grobain on it. My goodness, I thought I was the only person in the world who really doesn’t care for his vibrato, quivering vocals, and over-the-top interpretations of pretty much any song he does.
    His “O Holy Night” makes me cringe when I hear it (incessantly, it seems) on the radio.
    Happy Holidays to all!

  3. janeybirdus says: “Okay, so I know I’m not the most popular of persons when I say this, but Frosty the Snowman gives me the creeps.”

    I’m right there with you, janeybirdus — Frosty is in the same category as clowns for me — no thanks!

    PB, could you have an “all of the above” category? I like that unlikely duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby, and I’m glad it didn’t make your list. [True confessions: “The Little Drummer Boy” is my favorite Christmas song, and I LOVE that duet with Bing and Bowie. Makes me cry every time. – PB]

    Happy holidays to all, and thanks for all the gifts you bring throughout the year, PB!

    Peace, cme

  4. No options to vote for “Mary’s Boy Child” – seriously defective theology and ghastly earworm tune — or “I wish it could be Christmas every day” — well the rest of us don’t want warmed-up turkey leftovers for life, thankyou — ? [Oh my heavens, how have I been spared both of these? Or it may be that I just can’t recall them, and for that I give thanks. – PB]

  5. “The Little Drummer Boy” always makes me tear up–and when I read this in the last Christian Century, I finally figured out why!

    Editor’s Desk
    December 16, 2008

    Pah rum pah pum pum

    by John M. Buchanan

    I read somewhere that in a survey to identify what people thought was the most obnoxious holiday or Christmas music, “The Little Drummer Boy” narrowly won out over “Silver Bells” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” That kind of music is omnipresent in the stores and on the street corners near where I live. The Salvation Army brass quartet has been playing daily for weeks nearby, and on the next corner a lone trombonist blares “Winter Wonderland” over and over. It’s enough to drive one to despair.

    I am stopped short of despair by remembering what novelist David James Duncan wrote in God Laughs and Plays about “The Little Drummer Boy.” He notes the peculiarity of the song’s premise: an “uninvited urchin, standing right next to the cradle of a newborn baby, banging away on a drum. Have any vindictive relatives ever given a child in your home a drum?” Duncan goes on to suggest that the song’s evocation of the drum—”Pah rum pah pum pum”— is a kind description of the resultant noise:
    I liked to picture the infant Jesus’s eyes, so innocent and new that they were unable to focus, startling wide O-pen at the sudden banging. I liked to picture God the Father wincing On High, wanting to cover His beloved son’s ears, . . . send in the wise men to stop the banging, only to sigh, swallow His anger, and think, “Nope. These are the mortals. This is Earth. This is my beloved son among the mortals on Earth. Let the drummer boy drum.”
    In the midst of our culture that discusses and argues over the existence of God and the nature of God, Christianity makes a stunningly simple claim. In the child Jesus, God is with us, here in the world, in this mundane life of ours. “Let the drummer boy drum.” The story of Jesus’ birth is a worldly, earthy story: a man and woman pushed around by impersonal political dynamics, powerless victims of Roman imperial decrees; a long, arduous journey; an inn already crowded with guests; a birth out back in the dirt and chaos of a cow barn. God with us.

    Think of what the story says about God—about how vulnerable God is. God puts this whole project in the hands of a carpenter and his wife. God comes in a way that forces individuals to make decisions and act on them. God becomes vulnerable to, subject to, human beings whose decisions and actions either will or will not advance God’s kingdom. When God acts, it is not a matter of pulling strings, pulling off great cosmic miracles. It is a matter of stirring a man or a woman to be responsible, to live and act faithfully, to do what God wants done.

    Much of the world will stop for a time again to listen to a story that they already know—the story about God’s vulnerability, God’s love and God’s presence in the midst of life at its most human.

    Duncan says that now when he hears “The Little Drummer Boy” for the first time each year, “the chills run from my spine to my eyes, sometimes spilling over as the truth . . . hits home. . . . The truth of our spiritual poverty gets me every time. The line, ‘I played my best for Him pah rum pah pum pum.’ What more can one offer, no matter how silly or bad it sounds? The line, ‘Then He smiled at me pah rum pah pum pum.’ What more can we hope for than to please . . . the child king?”

    John M. Buchanan is editor and publisher of the Century.

    [Barbara, this is WONDERFUL!!!! Thank you so much for posting it!! Now I feel less cheezy for considering “The Little Drummer Boy” my favorite of all Christmas songs. – PB]

  6. My least favorite Christmas song: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” WHAAAT?T?T?

    Also, re: Josh Groban. I like his voice, but his songs are just so overproduced! It’s David Foster – he’s the one to blame! [You’re so right –it’s the same thing that Barbra Streisand did to herself and went from an electric talent to Queen of Schmaltz. – PB]

  7. The “Meowy Christmas” album, in which holiday songs are rendered with assorted mixes of cat sounds, so if you play this thing, your cat freaks out!

  8. Anything with the chipmunks.

    And I love Bruce Springsteen! I have a bootleg of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from a concert I attended in 1984.

  9. Last year the old “Little Drummer Boy” special was on TV, and I was so excited! I love that song, especially the “I played my best for Him…” Isn’t that what we should always ask of each other, to do the best we can? And that we should be free from judgement in doing our best? [I love that special. I think they took it off the air a couple of decades ago because it features obviously Arab terrorist characters burning down a Jewish village and is really very traumatic. I bought it on DVD and now I need to find it so I can watch it! Greer Garson does the narration, I believe. So elegant, so deeply touching. – PB]

  10. Oh, goodness me…I’m streamlining an all-Christmas station from Cape Cod, and the worst song ever is on. I don’t remember the name of the schmaltzy 80s singer, or even the name of the song, but I remember it from my youth…

    “Met my old lover in a grocery story on a snowy Christmas Eve…” They eventually drink a six-pack in his car because there were no open bars, talked about their lives (she’s married to an architect and he’s a performer though the traveling is hell), and as she gets out of the car, the snow turns into rain. Cue in an Auld Lang solo by Kenny G.

    THE WORST ONE EVER!!! [Oh! Oh! Do you mean that dreary thing by Dan Fogelberg!??? I hate to use such strong language but Lord I LOATHE THAT SONG!!! – PB]

  11. As usual, I’m late to the party. There are many Christmas songs, sacred and secular, that I love and sing this time of year. But there is one song that makes me want to find a wooden stake to drive into its saccharine, schmaltzy heart. I am referring to “The Christmas Shoes” in which a young boy goes out in search of new shoes for when “Mama meets Jesus tonight.” Yikes! It’s not that I am opposed to sentimentality in my songs. I’m a sap for a similar story—without any dying relatives—in the lovely “Scarlet Ribbons.” It’s not specifically a Christmas song, although it has been recorded on many holiday albums. All fathers can identify with going out into the night to fulfill our daughter’s wish. And some of us can even appreciate the minor miracle of finding the ribbons on the daughter’s bed. Hand me a hanky, please.

  12. I’d like to cast my vote for two horrible Christmas songs:

    1: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

    Please; it was funny the first time I heard it. But not the 554846th time.

    2: That “Christmas Shoes” song.

    Aggggh!!! It’s so contrived!

  13. Working at Macy’s makes me an almost-expert on this topic. Our tape was apparently selected by lawyers, so there are just a few songs, rendered by many artists. “Little Drummer Boy,” thank goodness, isn’t on it. But in its place we have the Jackson Five’s horrible version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Just knowing about that family’s story makes the concept unusually scary. And I always hated that high-pitched, over-enthusiastic child’s voice.

    There is also a previous unknown, “I Am Old Kris Kringle” song, which comes off like a leer (I’m the King of Ding-a-Ling!”) At least it’s short.

    And in The Minority Report, I LOVE “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”! It is the most perfect statement ever of why I believe in God, namely, I want somebody to blame for life’s horrible stuff. It’s the *good* that never seems to need tracing back, that stands on its own merits without explanation.

  14. also late to the party, catching up after the hectic season! I worked retail for a hundred years or so, well 20+, and the Andy Williams “Hap-hap-happiest time of the year” grates on my nerves yet. my mom adored Andy Williams, and i hate to admit if he walked up to me singing that song I would smack him upside the head!

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