Didn't we do this last year, or maybe the year before?
Oh, well, it doesn't matter. The song that occurred to me immediately is the same one that a lot of people probably thought of: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo & Patsy. Oh, it's kind of cute the first time, and really rather catchy. But it's been heavily overplayed ever since it came out over 20 years ago, back when I was still selling records for a living. Moreover, it's awfully cynical in its portrayal of Santa, and I don't respond well to that. No, that's enough. Let's give the song a long rest now - forever would be good.
But that's just one of many novelty Christmas songs that treat the holiday trivially or satirically at best, scandalously at worst. About six years ago, John tracked down a bunch of them to listen to, and I made my way through as many of them as I could stand. Most of them were awful: mean-spirited, cynical, rude and crude, hopelessly dated or just plain boring. I remember there was one with Albert Brooks and his kid that I especially disliked.
I went looking tonight for the CD I thought I had with some of this stuff on it, trying to refresh my memory of what could possibly by worse than Elmo & Patsy. I didn't actually find the worst of it, but between a later compilation, my memory of Christmas Past and a little digging online, I did find these less-than-stellar novelty songs, many of them hits in their particular time and place:
- Happy Hairy Hippy Harry Claus by Rocki Lake & The Gross Group
- I Was a Teenage Reindeer - Jim Backus and Daws Butler
- Santa and the Flying Saucer by Dickie Goodman
- Make a Daft Noise for Christmas by The Goodies
- I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas by The Goons
- Nite before a Hip Christmas by Frank Evans & Santa’s Helper
- A Terrorist Christmas by James & Kling
- Nuttin' For Christmas by Stan Freberg
- I'm A Christmas Tree by Wild Man Fischer (Duet with Dr. Demento)
- I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus by Kip Addotta
- Yellow Snow! Yellow Snow! Yellow Snow! - I don't know who does this, or want to
- Yulesville by Edd "Kookie" Byrnes
- Santa & the Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley
- Santa Claus Is Surfin’ to Town by Soupy Sales
But the worst of this particular batch of novelty songs is probably Kip Addotta's I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus. I've always hated even the regular version of that song. It's perverse in ways that most people don't seem to recognize. If the kid narrator really thinks that's Santa, then he or she should be upset rather than amused. After all, the kid's mom is apparently cheating on her husband with an immortal saint! How is that "a laugh"? Kip Addotta milks the perversity further by making it an apparently gay relationship, taking it way beyond a kiss with the kid watching, and ultimately revealing that "Santa" is Mommy after all. Sorry, but that doesn't make it all right.. Even if the kid ultimately understands that Daddy isn't being an adulterer, he shouldn't be watching his parents get it on, all for the sake of some prurient chuckles.
Yeah. I think we have our winner. That song really doesn't need to exist. I'm not in favor of censorship, but I'd just as soon never hear that again.
I should point out that I'm not against all novelty songs, or Christmas novelty songs. I actually like The Twelve Pains of Christmas and the Bob & Doug MacKenzie 12 Days of Christmas, and even I Yost Go Nuts at Christmas if I don't have to hear it more than once a year or so. Pretty much any novelty song gets annoying if overplayed, but some of them are cute and fun in small doses.
Extra Credit: Fruitcake: Ever actually eat any?
Yes, of course! I try to get some every year. I've never understood why it's almost culturally mandatory to make fun of fruitcake and assume that it's inedible. Hey, it's fruit, in cake! Okay, it's really candied fruit in an especially dense "pudding" or quickbread, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that.
There are, however, two potential problems to avoid in choosing a fruitcake. One, you need to find one that's nice and moist. Dry, hard fruitcake is indeed pretty close to inedible. But there are lots of fruitcakes on the market that aren't dry at all. The other issue, if you're like me and have a hangup about alcohol, is that most fruitcakes are made with rum or brandy or both or something. Supposedly it gets burned off, but I don't like the taste of the stuff in any case. Walgreen's usually has a cheap, moist, alcohol-free fruitcake in a round brass container. Works for me! And afterward I have this:
Jewelery and crystals not included.