I love the holidays. Honestly, probably more than the average person—the food, the family, the festivities; it’s all so dreamy and magical.
I’m also a huge fan of Christmas music. Year after year, I listen to the same Christmas soundtrack because it really gets me in the Christmas spirit.
However, this year, I’ve really started to listen to the lyrics of these songs and have realised something:
Some Christmas music is super problematic.
I’ve curated a list of the 5 most problematic Christmas songs and the reasons they make the holidays a little bit less jolly. I will be rating the problematic nature of these songs on a scale of 1-5 Santa heads.
1. Santa Buddy: Michael Bublé, 2011
Alright, Michael. We get it: no homo. Michael Bublé’s male-centric rewrite of the classic Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” changes the words in such a way that we couldn’t possibly think he was looking at Santa in an erotic way.
He does so by making Santa his buddy, his pally, his poppy (?) instead of his baby, by asking for a ‘65 convertible in a very masculine STEEL blue and not the original light blue, by requesting “Canucks tix” (aka, hockey tickets) because he is A Man Who Likes Sports and Don’t You Forget It. However, he still asks for Santa to come and “trim [his] Christmas tree”. Hmm….
2. Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Dean Martin, 1953
If you were to name one particularly controversial Christmas song, it would be this one. It’s fun, catchy, and it’s been around for decades, but it’s highly problematic. It tells the story of a woman who has spent an evening with a man, but he begs her to stay as she attempts to convince him that she needs to leave.
But what is this song really about? While the lyrics play it off as a cutesy and flirty hard-to-get situation, what the song is really doing is perpetuating rape culture. With lyrics like “I simply must go,” “The answer is no,” and “Say, what’s in this drink?”, this song is actually quite problematic in its dismissive qualities of a woman attempting to remove herself from an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.
3. Do They Know It’s Christmas? 1984; 2014
It’d be easy to blame this song on simply being a symptom of the time it was released—in 1984, speaking about starving Africans was actually quite forward thinking and woke.
But in 2014? A resung version starring big names like One Direction, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, and so many more? In 2014, should we still be perpetuating the idea that everyone in “Africa” (where, specifically. Africa is large and is made up of over 50 countries) is starving? The original hasn’t aged well, and the 2014 version really just shouldn’t exist.
Thank you for trying to raise awareness, Band Aid. Thank you for raising money for Ebola prevention. But lyrics like “Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow” isn’t necessarily accurate depiction of the entire continent of Africa.
“Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?” Yes, probably.
4. Never Do a Tango with an Eskimo: 1955
According to this 1955 Christmas song by Alma Cogan, one must never dance with an Eskimo for several reasons, the main ones being that “once those Eskimoses start to wiggle with their toeses, you can bet your life you’re gonna get a chill,” and also that “once an Eskimosee starts to cuddle up so cozy, you’ll find your passion cooling, yes sirree.”
Good to know. But don’t worry, she does give us plenty of other races that we can dance with, such as “a Latin”, “a gaucho” or “an Apache.”
I have several questions. Why is Cogan picking on Eskimos? Why is this considered a Christmas song? Why does this song exist at all? Can we stop perpetuating negative stereotypes about entire demographics, please?
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: Michael Jackson version; 1970
Nothing says Christmas like infidelity! According to the song, a young Michael Jackson sneaks downstairs only to find his mother kissing Santa Claus, but no one believes that Jackson actually saw this happen.
While some people believe the song is about the mother cheating on her husband with Santa, others see it a bit more innocently; perhaps Santa IS dad, and mommy is simply kissing her Santa-suited husband. Either way, it’s caused some controversy among Christmas listeners. What do YOU think the song is about?
Did we miss your least-favourite Christmas song? Let us know in the comments!