Maybe ignorance truly is bliss (and boy, do we like a helping of ignorant bliss along with our Christmas), but it’s past time we call out these creepy holiday song staples as the weird, awkward and inappropriate messes they are.
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Frank Loesser may now be best known for writing the great musical “Guys and Dolls”, but not everything he wrote was quite so terrific. One of his most successful pre-“G&D” songs was a little ditty called “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”, a huge wartime hit in the early ‘forties that was unspeakably awful. Several years later he pumped out “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, a song that explores the absolute hilarity of a woman escaping a sexual predator. That’s not just a modern misinterpretation by an oversensitive feminist culture. The original published sheet music had the staves of this famous duet labeled as “Wolf” and “Mouse”. The Mouse keeps saying it’s time to go, but the Wolf keeps giving her reasons to stay. Here are some examples:
I simply must go
(But baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no
(But baby, it’s cold outside)
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my life long sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied
(If you caught pneumonia and died)
You know…”Don’t leave, because it’s dangerous and I’m just looking out for you. Wait, that didn’t convince you? I’ve got another idea…”
The neighbors might think
(Baby, it’s bad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
(No cabs to be had out there)
“What’s in this drink?” Are you $%@*ing serious?? Remember guys, when she can’t be charmed, just slip her a roofie and tell her that taxi service is unavailable in your neighborhood. Brilliant! This song is so wrong and pathetically outdated, but that doesn’t stop an A-list of celebrities from rerecording it over and over again.
- Santa Baby
Although the title and the traditional vampish delivery from divas such as Eartha Kitt may lead one to recall “Santa Baby” as a creepy sexualization of Saint Nick, that’s not really the theme of the song. In fact, the singer even refers to her chaste behavior, particularly the men she “hasn’t kissed”. However, the true crime of this song’s lyrics is derived from a far greater sin. It’s no secret that Yuletide materialism has long been a blot on the birthday of our Lord and Savior. While many people at least politely pretend that receiving presents is just a byproduct of a season dedicated to altruism and giving, “Santa Baby” ignores any such polity and rides the bull of capitalism straight into the blazes of hell.
Sung in a seductive voice, the singer urges Santa to hurry with the delivery of her extravagant gift requests. If there’s one thing worse than a selfish brat, it’s a selfish brat with no patience. She starts small enough, asking for a Sable (wrap), but the demands escalate rapidly. The singer goes on to ask for a blue ’54 convertible, a yacht (“It’s not a lot”), the deed to a platinum mine (!) and jewelry from Tiffany’s. Eventually, she drops the pretense and straight up asks for some nice, cashable checks.
The message of this song is wholly awful and represents the worst of how we’ve taken a noble and purely religious celebration and flushed it down the toilet with our greed.
- Christmas Shoes
NewSong’s “Christmas Shoes” is a shameless exercise in emotional manipulation. It doesn’t take much to see through the veneer, which makes it’s popularity all the more baffling. I’m not a parent, but I feel authoritative in calling out some of the most neglectful parenting in human history, painted oh-so elegantly here. Let’s say you’re a father. Your wife is dying in a hospital bed (from what isn’t clear) before your eyes on Christmas Eve. Although any amount of common sense tells you the family should rally together in these final hours, you send your little boy on an errand, out into the night, unsupervised, to hit up a random shoe store and buy a pair of shoes to cheer your mom up before she dies. And no, you do not give the child enough money to pay for a pair of women’s shoes. Why? Because you are a terrible parent! Let’s just give the songwriters a pass on the fact that the mother wouldn’t be able to wear shoes in a hospital bed as well as the realization that no woman allows a man to buy her shoes she hasn’t tried on. I’m sure their wives love them, despite their profound male ineptitude. The bigger issue is the ongoing irresponsibility of the adults in this town. Once the kid gets to the counter at the local Payless, the man behind him (the song’s “narrator”, if you will) sees that “His clothes were worn and old; He was dirty from head to toe”. Again, the Father of the Year Award goes to… Anyhow, the “narrator”, who is presumably also a male inept enough to believe he should buy his wife a pair of shoes she’s never tried on, takes pity on the little boy who had the savvy to invoke his sick mother and Jesus in the hopes of a discount. He gives the cashier the amount the boy was short in paying for the shoes and pats himself on the back for his good deed as the boy runs off, unchaperoned into the cold, dark night. The boy’s mother may have passed away during this kid’s ill-advised excursion, but hey, she needs to look good when she meets Jesus, who is absolutely going to judge her footwear.
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Remember when I said “Santa Baby” wasn’t really about sexualizing Santa? This song has that horrifying, unnecessary topic amply covered. The lyrics of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” are brief, but they’re no less traumatizing. Here’s the gist: A child “creeps” out of bed and down the stairs to find his mother kissing and tickling Santa Claus. (We’ll assume Santa does not object; this song is creepy enough.) Just in case you thought that Dad was out of the picture, we’re treated to this line:
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night
What a laugh?? Most children do not find catching their cheating mother in the act and facing their parents’ inevitable divorce hilarious. Especially because the cheating involved Saint Nicholas, this scenario would likely make some child psychiatrist a very wealthy person. Any normal child would follow such sights with lying on the ground in the fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably. I’ve hated this song my whole life, probably because I am not a horrible person who thrives on the misery of others.