I've Moved! Check out the all-new, all-different Invincible Super-Blog at www.The-ISB.com!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Special: The Worst Christmas Song Ever

Considering that I started humming Frank Sinatra's version of Jingle Bells back in, oh, August or so, I'm always pretty excited when that time of year finally rolls aorund and a few of the local radio stations switch over to playing Christmas music. I make a mixtape of the stuff every year, and while I've discussed certain issues I have with "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"--a situation that Scott felt he should intervene on before I maligned his favorite Christmas carol any more than I already have--I love the stuff.

Except one song.

I think everyone has one they can't stand. My own father--whose love of Christmas despite his lifelong atheism is what flows through my veins--absolutely hated "Feliz Navidad" for some reason. Me, I'm just glad he didn't live long enough to hear Christmas Shoes.

This song, my friends, is the pits. I won't go through the trouble of re-posting the lyrics, but here's the basic rundown: While participating in the glorious bacchanalia of consumerism that is the Christmas shopping season, the narrator of our little story runs across a filthy urchin in line ahead of him who is attempting to purchase... A pair of shoes.

See, he wants to buy them for his mother, because she's terminally ill and he "wants her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight."

But what's this? The dirt covered youngster doesn't have enough money to buy these shoes for his dying mother! OH GNOES! IS CHRISTMAS DOOMED FOR EVERS?!

Of course not. Our narrator pays for the shoes goes on about his merry way while feeling like a saint and talking about catching "a glimpse of heaven's love," sending the lad--described as "dirty from head to toe"--back to his hovel.

The first time I heard it, I was riding in the car with my own mother, listening to a call-in show that had the most heartstring-tugging and weepiest Holiday stories thrown in between songs, and I was floored by the amount of syrup-sweet and unabashed at emotional manipulation in the song.

But then the children's choir kicked in.

It's entirely possible that I'm just too cynical to enjoy its heartwarming banality, but the last time I checked, a pair of fresh kicks didn't cure most terminal diseases. We can only assume, then, that while the narrator rakes in the cash from penning a song about the experience, the kid's mom quickly succumbs to the icy grip of Death itself, thus ruining Christmas forever.

Artist's Rendering.Needless to say, that doesn't actually happen in the song. Or in the novel based on the song, or in the TV movie starring Rob Lowe based on the novel.

See, that's what's so amazing to me about the whole thing. It's not that the song won't just go way and die alongside the delightfully Christmasy tune where the two people split a six-pack in the parking lot of a department store. The mind-shatteringly terrible "Humps" is a breakout success, so clearly you people will listen to anything. It's that someone other than the guy who wrote the fourteen-part Mr. Roboto fan-fiction I once saw wrote an entire novel based on a three-minute musical crapfest.

And then somebody else filmed it.

All in all, it makes the suicide pact in "Winter Wonderland" seem downright cheery.

More ISB Tidings of Comfort and Joy: Ant Man's Big Christmas | Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #17 | Santa Saves the DC Universe!


Blogger Mark W. Hale said...

You know what Christmas song I hate? The Waitresses' "Christmas Rapping." Good lord, that song sucks, and for completely different reasons than "Christmas Shoes" sucks, thus proving the magic of the season, or something.

12/12/2005 10:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt anything will supplant "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" as my least favorite Christmas song ever. Something about it just gets to me. Some lethal combination of the annoying tune, the even more annoying nasally voice of whoever sings it, and the song's evocation of Home Alone memories. I do not want to remember that movie, but every time that song starts playing, I picture Macaulay Culkin's freaky fake party scene. You know the one? With all the mannikins and cardboard cutouts moving about on trains, creating silhouettes behind the curtains of the house as the burglers look on? Ugh. No thanks.

On a semi-related note, why are the religious carols so much more pleasant than the secular ones? It's odd. I'm not at all religious, but I'd listen "Silent Night" over "Frosty the Snowman" any day.

12/12/2005 12:40 PM

Blogger Stuck said...

Ok, you're officially back on the rock. It's not a suicide pact! It's plans to get married.

And to respond to canton's post, religious carols are so much better because they aren't commercialized, emotion-free crap. They're written about the true spirit of Christmas (religious, yes) and not all this Santa jazz.

But to your original point, Sims, I say "Amen." 'Christmas Shoes' bah-lows.

Sleigh bells ring
are you listening
in the lane
snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
we're happy tonight
walking in a winter wonderland

Gone away is the bluebird
here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
as we go along
walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
we'll say: No man
But you can do the job
when you're in town

Later on
we'll conspire
as we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
the plans that we've made
walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman
and pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman
until the alligators knock him down

When it snows
ain't it thrilling
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play
the Eskimo way
walking in a winter wonderland

Walking in a winter wonderland
walking in a winter wonderland

12/12/2005 2:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a suicide pact! It's plans to get married.

And some would say there's no difference.


And now I want to see DC produce A Very Special Fourth World Christmas.

12/12/2005 3:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, you thought Winter Wonderland was about a suicide pact?! Ok, Stuck is right, you're back on the crack big time! They want to get married, not die (though some might argue they're one in the same)! I think listening to Christmas Shoes has fried your brain!

To me, religious carols are better because they are timeless, not written for a particular time or place while many secular carols seem to be out of place when put in our modern context. Not to mention the songs that pass as Christmas songs when they are really just about winter -- Baby, It's Cold Outside and My Favorite Things come to mind, and Winter Wonderland makes no real mention of Christmas.(though I love the song). And a hearty second to Stuck's comments on the commericialization aspect of modern carols.

As for Feliz Navidad, for some reason, I want to listen to it at least once during the Christmas season. Can't explain it or even say that I like the song. It's a part of the season for me. As for Christmas songs I despise, Run, Run Rudolph just annoys me!

12/12/2005 6:18 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Okay, apparently you cats missed my previous post on the subject:

I don't really think that's what the song's about. It's just what always springs to mind when I hear the line that's always bothered me in "Winter Wonderland":

We'll face unafraid
the plans that we've made
walkin' in a winter wonderland

Now since there's a break in the line, it sounds like there's a comma between "made" and "walkin'," i.e., while walking, they will be facing plans.

For the longest time, I could not figure out what manner of plans would one need to face unafraid (a term of grim resolve if ever there was one) while out for a stroll in the snow. Then it hit me: a grisly suicide pact. I mean, they do go up around Christmas.

Of course, that's when Scott had to sit me down and explain that it's just a pause in the refrain. Removing the false comma stop, it becomes "we'll face unafraid our plans, which were made while walkin' in a winter wonderland."

And now it makes much more sense.

And for the record, I really like "Christmas Wrapping," although I'd never heard it until last night.

12/12/2005 6:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

About 15 years ago, I spent Christmas in Madrid, and I have to tell you, it was both a blessing and a curse. Because it seemed as if they didn't really have secular Christmas songs; it was all rather religious. (Which makes sense, considering their history.) So I was mercifully spared Jon Bon Jovi's "Please Come Home for Christmas" and the aforemention dreaded, "Christmas Shoes".

However, they did have ONE secular song, which, of course, was "Feliz Navidad". Sung by Jose Feliciano or... Boney M.

To this day, I listen to it both with deep fondness and total distain.

12/13/2005 12:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and if I laid off the Christmas punch, I would know that's "disdain".

12/13/2005 1:06 PM

Blogger Canton said...

"Deep fondness and total disdain." Lorene, that's precisely how I experience second hand smoke.

12/13/2005 3:14 PM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

Clearly the kid's lying through his teeth, and is going to sell the Christmas Shoes to buy some crack or whatever it is the kids take nowadays.

12/15/2005 10:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooooooh, I just heard something that could vie with "Christmas Shoes" as Worst Christmas Song Ever. I couldn't decide which amazing verse to post here, so I hope you don't mind that I posted the entire thing. It's called "The Gift" and it's sung by Garth Brooks. (It was an all-Christmas radio station- it's not my fault!)

A poor orphan girl named Maria
Was walking to market one day
She stopped for a rest by the roadside
Where a bird with a broken wing lay
A few moments passed till she saw it
For it's feathers were covered with sand
But soon clean and wrapped it was travelling
In the warmth of Maria's small hand

She happily gave her last peso
On a cage made of rushes and twine
She fed it loose corn from the market
And watched it grow stronger with time

Now the Christmas Eve service was coming
And the church shone with tinsel and light
And all of the townfolks brought presents
To lay by the manger that night
There were diamonds and incense
And perfumes
In packages fit for a king
But for one ragged bird in a small cage
Maria had nothing to bring

She waited till just before midnight
So no one would see her go in
And crying she knelt by the manger
For her gift was unworthy of Him

Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness
Maria, what brings you to me
If the bird in the cage is your offering
Open the door and let me see
Though she trembled, she did as He asked her
And out of the cage the bird flew
Soaring up into the rafters
On a wing that had healed good as new

Just then the midnight bells rang out
And the little bird started to sing
A song that no words could recapture
Whose beauty was fit for a king

Now Maria felt blessed just to listen
To that cascade of notes sweet and long
As her offerings was lifted to heaven
By the very first nightingale's song


I see J-Lo in the movie, telling this story in a flashback, with that annoying little Spanish girl I saw in a recent L&O:SVU as "Maria".

12/16/2005 8:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst X-mas song ever? That would be "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" I think an agreement has been reached that secular songs are way more annoying than religous ones. Also that Frank Sinatra song "The holiday season". The one with the lyrics.
It's the holiday season
So whoop de doo
and dickory dock
It's time to go
and hang up your sock.

I worked in Sears for a few years and they played this song 15 times a day for 3 months. The other employees and myself came very close to fullfilling a murder suicide pact.

12/16/2005 11:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LIKE the Maria little bird song. At least the bird goes free and the little child doesn't freeze to death in the church or something equally maudlin. I thought I'd never hear anything as bad as "christmas shoes" but I have. It's a version of the "Night before christmas" poem recited by John Kerry and about a soldier and Santa who cries because the soldier has no stocking just combat boots with sand in them. Makes me wanna hang myself.

11/07/2006 10:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that orphin song. It makes me feel that I don't need everything in the world. be thankful you have money to freely spend. Some kids don't have a penny to there names!

11/10/2006 12:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

response to Amy,
Although I cant stand John Kerry, and I am shocked to find out that he is the one who did the narration on that soldier Christmas. You must be an extremely unfilling and callous individual to not be moved by this poem
what a shame.

11/20/2006 7:19 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

And some children, it seems, can't even afford proper spelling.

Truly, this is a world of tragedy in which we live.

11/21/2006 10:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cynical guys who like comic books. Whoa. I'm impressed.

11/24/2006 10:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christmas shoes... the problem is you don't fit into them and it's too bad.
You are missing out on so many little things that are far bigger than your mind wandering to places that are only not humurous or entertaining but just leaves me feeling sorry for another lost sole.

12/02/2006 11:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, that Maria song with the little girl and the bird is probably my favourite modern Christmas song. I spent half an hour trying to find out what it was called so I can download it for my Holiday playlist! Thank you lorene for the title... even if you were making fun of it. However, I like a version sung by a female vocalist. I'll have to find that one now. But it's a start.

Happy Holidays all!

12/10/2006 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maria, the Gift song you heard by a young girl was sung by the 12 year old Canadian girl Aselin Debison it's on her "Sweet is the Sound" album.

12/13/2006 11:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Randi-thanks so much for the name of the young artist that sings the little bird song. I too was unable to find out who sings it. She has a pure, gentle voice-not unlike this sweet holiday season. Merry Christmas to you all.

12/14/2006 9:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I was googling the "Nightingale's Song" since I obviously enjoy it and hadn't heard it at all this year. I came across the blog and have to agree with the "Shoes+banality" portion of the comments AND also with the totally annoying (vapid) "whoop de doo" or whatever by Frank. I too appreciate the female version of the Nightengale song, so thanks for the 411.
Incidentally- I have the CD of the Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping and have listened to it every day since Thanksgiving. OH- and I have a soul.

12/22/2006 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a lover of that Maria and bird song. I have spent a lot of time googleing it, and when i finally found the name, the only songs I found with the title The Gift were not sung by the singer I was looking for. Randi, thank you so much for providing the singer. This is by far my favorite Christmas song.

4/17/2007 6:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randi, ditto to everyone elses thanks about the gift song. I couldn't find the information any where else.

12/15/2007 8:28 PM

Anonymous Harvey said...

Quite effective material, lots of thanks for the article.
houston personal injury lawyer | how to remove stretch marks naturally | Becoming A Dentist | web design denver | north carolina beach wedding packages

11/01/2011 10:52 PM

Anonymous Quentin said...

For my part one and all must browse on this.
steel building

11/05/2011 11:54 AM

Anonymous Patrick said...

I found a lot of useful data in this post!
birth announcement | staffing agency | home remedies for toothache pain

11/26/2011 5:55 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home