Worst Christmas Song: ‘Christmas Shoes’


In response to ‘All I Want for Christmas’

Kevin and Kyle have offered their thoughts on the worst Christmas songs. (The most overrated Christmas pop song is the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” but then, even the angelic Kirsty McColl can’t save Shane McGowan’s voice.) Of course, almost anything can become cloying, or at least lose its zing, after enough repetition.  I suspect that is what grates at people with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” It truly is one of the greatest Christmas songs ever written, even if it is a knockoff of the greatest such song, Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Repetition is especially a problem for a song that is already extremely repetitive – Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” would be a lovely piece of Paul pop if it was a minute long, but 3:46 of that same thing over and over is excessive; if you hear that song more than once in a month, it is an assault.

The worst Christmas standard, in my view, is “Santa Baby,” which in the hands of any number of singers is customarily performed as a sort of cooing sexual come-on to…Santa Claus, a posture that is in equal parts cringeworthy and degrading to the singer. The Madonna version, predictably, may be the nadir of this genre.

But until this year, I had not known the dreadful manipulative horror that is “The Christmas Shoes.” I am a big fan of sad songs generally, but the fact that this song succeeds in jerking your tears is an indictment of its grave, heavy-handed derailment of whatever Christmas joy you may have been experiencing:

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