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The Twelve Most Annoying Christmas Songs Ever

And a partridge in a pear tree

It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love, every song you hear seems…to be a Christmas one. Yes, the holiday music is hard to escape. Whether you’ve had the tunes blasting since November 1 (don’t judge me) or you catch them in the store or bank or mall or doctor’s office or literally anywhere public, it’s Christmas music season. And we love it! Except for a few choice tunes that we’d like Santa to keep in the sleigh.

So, join us as we channel our inner grinch and countdown the worst, most annoying Christmas songs ever.

12. “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

This old chestnut that we’d like to roast on an open fire is not oly the holiday version of 99 bottles of beer but a chronicle of the worst gifts…ever? The five golden rings are nice, sure but no one wants BIRDS for Christmas especially geese, the avian incarnation of evil.

And then the true love give…people? Is this a song about slavery or murder or did the true love hire eight maids to milk and such on a short term basis only for Christmas? These questions need answers!

11. “What Child Is This?”

This one makes the list at the bottom because while it’s pretty it’s just Greensleeves in disguise pretending to be a Christmas song. Also in contention for this slot were: the weird version of Pacabel’s canon with lyrics about Jesus (it’s an instrumental!), the fake version of Carol of the Bells with incorrect lyrics (it was already about Christmas!) and “My Favorite Things” which has nothing to do with Christmas at all!!!

10. “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime”

This slot could easily have gone to “Feliz Navidad” or any number of Christmas tunes that offend our ears and grate on our sanity due to the sheer, boring repetitiveness of them. This one takes the prize however because it’s not just the same thing over and over, the music that’s repeated is so incredibly dull. The 80s synth just drones on like the Disneyland Electrical Parade without the energy or charm.

9. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

The song itself is creepy. Why is this kid so unworried about catching mom in an act of infidelity? What was going to happen if daddy had walked in? Also: how dumb is this child? What makes hearing this song extra yucky this time of year is the version we usually get, the one sung by the Jackson 5.

Call me a prude but I don’t want to hear Christmas songs that gets a bit sexy sung by a kid who eventually grew up to allegedly sexually abuse many children! Yes, this applies to the Jackson 5 version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” too!

8. “Santa Buddy

Yeah, I bet you were thinking we were gonna get into more “Baby It’s Cold Outside” discourse. But no, that’s been done and right now we’re talking about songs that are annoying. Yes, there are annoying versions of that song that take it at too fast a tempo and turn it into a gross mess instead of the sexy duet where the girl really wants to stay. (Please give Ray Charles and Betty Carter’s version a listen if you want to hear how good this song can be when it’s done right).

But we’re here to talk about the weird tendency of men to cover “Santa Baby” – the sexiest and most capitalist song of the season! – and turn it into “Santa Buddy” because they’re afraid to sound too gay! It’s dumb! It’s annoying! The whole song is about flirting with Santa to get expensive presents so own that, dudes!

7. The “Hallelujah” Chorus

Listen, it’s a beautiful piece of music and it’s your right to like it, but those of us who have been forced multiple times to sing second soprano on this monstrosity know the truth: Georg Friedrich Hadel was a sadist who hated every singer he ever wrote for and purposely concocted music that was not only boring but physically painful to sing!

Yes, as a singer I have a personal beef with this classic and yes, it goes back to years of trauma to my tessitura, but I know I’m not alone among singers and classical fans who go to a dark place whenever we hear those first triumphant chords.

6. Silver Bells

This snorefest, which I’ve heard belted in so many horrible ways, is extra annoying because it was inspired, theoretically, by the bells of Salvation Army Santas and still serves as a calling card for that organization. What’s so wrong with that, you ask?

Well, The Salvation Army has a super bad record with the LGBTQ community, refusing to allow members to queer people and sometimes refusing them services. There are better songs and better places to give money too.

5. “Dominic The Donkey”

This one is perhaps a little less well known than others on this list and thank god for that, because this abomination is just…horrible. It’s not only built on icky Italian stereotypes, but it’s also got a great “hee haw! hee haw!” element that takes it to a whole new level of maddening baddness.

4. “Do they know it’s Christmas?”

Like so many things in the 80s, this was made with good intentions but gave us results that are now super-cringey. “Band Aid” was created in 1984 as a super group of every star who was available at the time in the UK and it did raise a lot of money for famine victims in Africa, and give birth to Live Aid…but listening to the paternalistic lyrics about how there “won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas” as the mainly white singer wonder if the people of a continent that doesn’t celebrate Christmas know if it’s Christmastime at all…not a good look anymore.

3.  “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”

Nothing like some light murder to get you in the holiday spirit! All we’re saying is that there’s a reason this is one of only two songs they play over and over again in Hell in The Good Place.

2. “The Christmas Shoes”

Not murder this time, but death! Emotionally manipulative, schmaltzy DEATH!

This awful song is not only about a kid’s mom dying at Christmas, but it’s also about consumerism and stupid beauty standards for women because this poor kid just wants to get his mom shoes so she can look nice for Jesus when she dies at Christmas!  PASS!

1. “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”

This song…This freaking song. It hits all the wrong notes in all the worst ways. Consumerist absurdity. Repetitiveness that could send you into a literal fugue state. A singer with a voice so annoying it makes you long for a chipmunk. This song is not only the most annoying Christmas song of all time…it’s in the running for the

That’s our list, Suvians. Did we miss anything? Sound off in the comments!

(image: Warner Brothers)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.