12 days of obnoxious holiday songs

Nick Botkin


A holiday wreath lines the album "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is one of many annoying and entertaining holiday staples. (Photo courtesy of Epic Records)

It is time again. Prepare to be serenaded by ubiquitous holiday music. There are songs we all know and love. Then there are the truly obnoxious staples.


The following 12 are a sampling of the latter. Listen at your will. Or run away like Santa’s reindeer.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We have all heard one version or another of this piece. The Muppets and John Denver did a particularly memorable and truly annoying rendition.

You have to keep pace to follow the gifts being given in the song. Each stanza adds a new gift. The gifts are plain ridiculous. Drummers drumming? Pipers piping?

Why not an Amazon gift card?

“The Christmas Shoes.” Comedian Patton Oswalt called NewSong’s Christmas tune “dark” and “disturbing.” I am not going to argue.

In said song, a narrator meets a little boy. The little boy wants to buy shoes for his dying mother. He wants her to “look beautiful, if Mama meets Jesus tonight.” The boy is short on cash and the narrator buys the shoes.

Why would a kid not just tell his mom he loves her?

“Feliz Navidad.” The bulk of the lyrics are “Feliz Navidad” and “I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas” repeated over. It does not make you feel happy, which is the translation of the Spanish “feliz.”

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” This classic by Elmo and Patsy is truly obnoxious. It is also incredibly funny and cynical.

In the song, Grandma has too much eggnog. She stumbles  into the snow. She is discovered the next day with “hoof prints on her forehead” and “incriminating Claus marks on her back.” Apparently Santa has a vendetta on Grandma. Better watch out, kids.


“The Chanukah Song”. To be honest, Adam Sandler’s classic has some merits. Sandler gives voice to Jews in what can seem like a Christmas-saturated season.

“You don’t need Deck The Halls or Jingle Bell Rock,” Sandler sings, “cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock…both Jewish.”

That said, the song is replete with bad rhymes like “yarmulke” and “Chanukah.” 

“The Thanksgiving Song.” Like the Chanukah song, Adam Sandler embraces obnoxiousness with his fake falsetto voice. It also has such gems of lines. Among them? “Let’s eat the turkey in my big brown shoe.”

“Last Christmas.” It might be the synthesizers that make this Wham! song truly annoying. Juxtaposed against a depressing song, they make no sense.  I associate synthesizers with upbeat pop tunes. Getting dumped at Christmas is really cheerful.

The lyrics are genuinely egregious too. “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away.”

“Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas.” It cannot get darker than this. In this John Denver song, a kid begs his father not to get drunk. Again. This is his family’s beloved holiday tradition. On top of that, the piece is heavy on guitar twangs and pianos. It almost makes you want a beer.

“Santa Baby.” Madonna’s singing sinks this one. Her version is actually a cover of the Eartha Kitt recording from 1953. In the song, a woman asks Santa for a myriad of material goods, including a yacht.

In other words, she wants Santa as a sugar daddy.

“Jingle Bells.” Barbara Streisand’s fast-paced version of this classic might be the worst. It is like painting over the Mona Lisa.

“I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas.” The title says it all. The deep and annoying message in this 1953 classic? The narrator really wants a hippopotamus.

“Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)”:  This is easily one of John Lennon’s epic failures. Yoko Ono’s shrill utterance of the chorus, “War is over,” is traumatic to the ear. Plus, war and Christmas do not complement each other.

Fun facts: “The Christmas Shoes” has made numerous “worst Christmas song” lists. Comedian Patton Oswalt also has done a routine about this song.

Collegian reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com. His Twitter handle is @dudesosad.