Problematic Christmas songs you probably shouldn’t sing anymore

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Updated Jan 5, 2024 at 03:23 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

Oh, oh, oh! Remember those heartwarming Christmas songs we joyfully belted out as kids—and for most of us, still to this day? Well, brace yourself because as it turns out, not all of these tunes are the cosy, festive anthems we once thought they were. We absorbed these melodies at school, at home, with friends, blissfully unaware of their disturbing aspects or the fact that they’re pretty much the antithesis of what a Christmas song should embody.

So, hop aboard the nostalgia train with me, and trust me, the discoveries I’m about to share with you are nothing short of eye-opening. Beware though, because some of these tunes might be your cherished anthems, the ones you clung to during every celebration. Hopefully, others might not even ring a bell. So buckle up; it’s about to get interesting!

Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) by John Denver

If you’re not familiar with this song, you might be wondering if this is a Christmas anthem or a desperate attempt from John Denver to enrol his father in an AA centre. However, nothing quite screams holiday cheer like a child fervently pleading with his emotionally abusive, alcohol-ridden father not to overindulge and collapse under the Christmas tree once more, right?

While such material might be fitting for a country song any other time of the year, the stark contrast between the heavy subject matter and the spirited holiday arrangement is enough to make you contemplate reaching for a bottle yourself.

Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS This Year by Tiny Tim

Yes, you read that right… This song is so dark, it’s one of the truly bizarre songs from Tiny Tim. Recorded in 1980, this track from the 70s TV icon and ukulele eccentric wasn’t unleashed upon the world until almost a decade later, and it has been haunting the dreams of everyone who’s had the unsettling experience of listening to it ever since.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Frank Loesser

At first, the playful call-and-response of the classic wintry duet ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ might seem coy and flirtatious, but if you listen more carefully, you’ll soon notice that the man’s relentless attempts to convince the woman to stay the night takes a turn towards the uncomfortable territory of sexual harassment. Did no one ever teach Frank Loesser that badgering a woman until she gives in isn’t exactly a model of consent? Sure, the song was penned in 1944, but it’s still a favourite for modern cover artists—and one would think our generation’s musicians would know better.

But wait, there’s more! The lyrics that follow are a real gem: “The neighbours might think (Baby, it’s bad out there). Say, what’s in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there).” Yep, that’s textbook date rape material. While such behaviour might have been shrugged off in the past, it’s safe to say it’s not acceptable in today’s society.

And let’s not forget to mention the obvious double standard, shall we? Nobody seems to bat an eye at a man’s persistence, but if a woman decides to “give in,” suddenly her reputation is on the line. She’s fretting about what “the neighbours might think,” worrying that her “sister will be suspicious,” and concerned that “there’s bound to be talk tomorrow.”

Even when the girl finally puts her foot down with a firm “the answer is no,” our persistent man doesn’t throw in the towel. How much clearer can she be?

All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey

Ah, a true Christmas classic! That being said, let’s not be shy about suggesting a sprinkle of feminism into the mix. Despite being the go-to anthem for holiday romantics, Mariah Carey’s 1994 masterpiece seems to imply that the ultimate gift for a woman is, well, a man. In the song, Carey takes on the tone of a longing girl as she pleads, “Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need? Won’t you please bring my baby to me?” How about a touch of independence and empowerment, Mariah? Sure, she’s steering clear of Christmas materialism, but perhaps it’s time to place more value on love than on a present plucked off a shelf.

Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid

As much as I’d like to believe there was no malice behind this song, let’s dive into another controversial Christmas tune: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ In recent years, this 1984 Band-Aid hit has sparked quite a bit of backlash as people take a moment to reflect on its lyrics. Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in response to the famine in Ethiopia, the song has been a Christmas staple since its release.

Despite soaring to Christmas number one, the song’s message faced criticism even back then, and many are now questioning its continued presence in the holiday playlist.

Dr Asher Larmie echoed this sentiment, tweeting: “ Feed the World’ is an extremely racist song that needs to be banned from radio play. There. I said it. And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time. The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life. Where nothing ever grows. No rain nor rivers flow… Are you kidding me with this s**t? Do you own a map? There are seven major rivers in Africa.”

“Because Africa is not a continent filled with mud huts and starving children. The fact that a group of white people wrote a song with lyrics like ‘Pray for the other ones,’ ‘Give a little help to the helpless’ and ‘Feed the world’ is bad enough. Playing it all these years later?”

Keep On Reading

By Charlie Sawyer

5 Christmas baubles that are sure to piss off your conservative parents

By Harriet Piercy

Everything you’ll need to construct your own DIY Christmas cracker this year

By Charlie Sawyer

Bravo’s new candle collection is the perfect Christmas present for ‘The Real Housewives’ superfans

By Alma Fabiani

Watch terrifying moment waterslide explodes into huge fireball at theme park

By Charlie Sawyer

Ron DeSantis’ obsession with the anti-woke agenda ruined his chances of becoming president

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Natalia Grace launches GoFundMe following explosive docuseries revealing her true age

By Alma Fabiani

The rise, fall, and resurgence of the tramp stamp: How Gen Z are reclaiming lower back tattoos

By Charlie Sawyer

Deepfake video of Bella Hadid stating her support for Israel goes viral

By Charlie Sawyer

Explaining Swiftonomics: Why NFL stans need to be thanking Taylor Swift big time

By Abby Amoakuh

Man convicted of cyberflashing after sending picture of penis to 15-year-old girl on WhatsApp

By Abby Amoakuh

Hundreds of bodies found in unmarked graves behind a state jail in Jacksonville

By Abby Amoakuh

Where is Melania Trump? Is the former First Lady hatching an escape plan?

By Charlie Sawyer

The impact of Javier Milei’s presidential victory in Argentina and its influence on Trump’s candidacy

By Abby Amoakuh

Video of Donald Trump accusing Barack Obama of founding ISIS goes viral days after Moscow attack

By Charlie Sawyer

Is the internet finally falling out of love with Emma Chamberlain?

By Charlie Sawyer

Meta faces backlash from Instagram users over new political content limitation feature

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Move aside Tube Girl, Mumbai’s Train Girl Seema Kanojiya is here to slay

By Abby Amoakuh

Ryan Gosling confesses that playing Ken in Barbie was his hardest role ever

By Fleurine Tideman

Revving my engines: Can women find F1 drivers sexy and simultaneously enjoy the sport?

By Abby Amoakuh

BBC presenter apologises after giving the middle finger to audience mid-broadcast