#Listmas2014: The Lesser of Two Evils in Christmas Music

I have a pretty high tolerance for Christmas music. Every December, I regularly cycle through my few Christmas playlists, and if you happen to catch me knitting, baking, or doing something homey, I’m probably listening to or humming a holiday tune. I find the vast majority of holiday hits very likeable, from religious hymns to novelty songs. So as my head has been filled with mostly holiday tunes of late, I thought about covering a few here for #Lismas2014. But rather than go the simple “most favorite” or “least favorite” routes, I’m taking a more circuitous path. It’s true that plenty of unpleasant holiday music has been released over the airwaves since Christmas music became a thing to sell to the masses, but there are levels to the unpleasantness. While my ears will welcome almost any Christmas song, I’m averse to certain versions of some songs. The songs on the list don’t constitute my favorites, if I must listen to them, their versions mean the difference between reluctant acceptance and nails on a chalkboard.


If I have to listen to Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, it has to be this version:

Because Nat King Cole could make any song sound better.

Not this verson:

Because Santa Claus never needed a gritty, tour-de-force rock makeover.


If I have to listen to Baby, it’s Cold Outside, it has to be this version:

It has a certain mid-century charm that I can roll with.

Not this version:

No offense to Ms. Zoey or Mr. Leon, but this moves at the pace of a funeral dirge.


If I have to listen to All I Want For Christmas is You, it has to be this version:

I am only human and am therefore not immune to raucous pop.

Not this version:

I can’t deal with the reduction of silly pop to a slow jam, no matter the silky voice.


If I have to listen to Silver Bells, it has to be this version:

Eh…sweet, bright, airy.

Not this version:

Ugh…slow, twangy, heavy.


If I have to listen to I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is has to be this version:


Not this version, or any other version ever created.


Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play, United We Game, and 8bit Kitchen


8 thoughts on “#Listmas2014: The Lesser of Two Evils in Christmas Music”

  1. I feel the same way about Last Christmas by WHAM. I have to listen to that version and not the atrocious version Taylor Swift sang of the same song. Ick.

    1. I just heard (one of? The only one?) Taylor Swift’s Christmas album for the first time earlier this month. Nothing against TS, but it was not a great listen. Too poppy and sweet for its own good. And her rendition of Last Christmas certainly was, as you said, the worst of the bunch.

  2. I don’t do a ton of Christmas, but my store has played a lot of “We need a little Christmas”, a tune I have otherwise been unfamiliar with. I really like it!

    I believe it is a version from Glee, which doesn’t mean anything to me.

    1. We Need a Little Christmas is a great song! I’m not familiar with many versions outside of ones by Johnny Mathis (good, agreed) and Angela Lansbury (my fav). It’s bright, upbeat, and captures well the holidaytimes. 😄 I imagine (or hope) it helps keeps the retail world from becoming too unbearable.

  3. Not too fond of U2’s version of “Baby (Come home for Christmas)” not that I particularly like the Motown version either, cf U2’s version of “I Believe in Father Christmas,” which I can’t get enough of, or the original for that matter. Written as a protest against the commercialization of Christmas.

    I *like* the Springsteen Santa Claus (the long version where he gets stuck carrying the amps again….) that makes it charming, take that out, and you’re right, it’s just an unnecessary rock makeover.

    *Any* pop version of “Carol of the Bells,” except for the TSO. (Otherwise any decent choral version will do.) Actually, I can’t stand just about any *pop* version of a classic hymn.

    1. In with you on “Carol of the Bells.” And you’re right about pop reduxes of choral songs — most are earsplitting at best.

      I’m not familiar with “I Believe in Father Christmas,” (or the title alone doesn’t ring any bells) so I’ll have to check it out. Meanwhile I had completely forgotten about “Baby (Come Home for Christmas)…not one of my favorites either.

      My liking of Christmas “rock” only goes as far as “Jingle Bell Rock,” which isn’t very far. However, I do very much enjoy The Kinks’ “Father Christmas,” though a “Christmas” song it is not. Not really, anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s