The friendly beasts and the unfriendly brays

December 16, 2016

Christmas songs often feature charming/annyoing animals, whether Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or a hippopotamus. Today, via @iowahawkblog, we meet another: Dominick, the Italian Christmas donkey.

Filled out with lots of Christmas stuffing — la la la, jing a jing jing, hee haw — the lyrics tell the story of how Dominick helps Babbo Natale deliver gifts to the good little bambini on Apennine hillsides that reindeer cannot traverse.

All in all, among the more annoying animal-themed Christmas efforts. More hippo, less Rudolph.


When parents aren’t guardians

December 13, 2016

Christmas Spirit Fail takes no pleasure in the poor decisions of those too young, really, to know better. That’s what parents are for.

And in this case, 11-year-old Cruz Beckham’s parents have failed him.


From the autotuned voice to the limited vocal range (at least he didn’t try to be Mariah) to the insipid and inscrutable lyrics,* this effort is wholly forgettable. And yet…

If everyday was Christmas and I can be with you
Underneath the mistletoe
Kiss you when nobody knows

Christmas Spirit Fail doesn’t care if you’re 11. You try getting with our daughter “when nobody knows” and every day will indeed be Christmas–since that Christmas will be your last, Casanova. The “fire started blazing bright” will be our fury, and the “wintersnow” you don’t mind will be what your ass will be thrown out on for attempting to mack with our little girl.

Perhaps the greatest enormity of all? Getting your humble CSF team to admit that we agree with Piers Morgan. A Christmas miracle indeed.

*What does “I wish everyday was Christmas with you?” even mean? What about “If everyday was Christmas, you were here with me/That would be all Christmas time for me”? Does the beloved make non-Christmas days into Christmas? Is the lover’s love only true on Christmas? Is Christmas Spirit Fail reading too much into this?


This Christmas… we will not get our wish

December 5, 2014

Every year, we at Christmas Spirit Fail have just one Christmas wish: that we will have documented the very last horrid Christmas song and can thus hang up our curmudgeonly Santa cap for good. (We also wish for a return of the future perfect tense, but one can’t have everything.)

Every year, of course, brings a new measure of disappointment as we turn on the radio or the online streaming app. Just the other day, we were doing a little Cyber Monday shopping and we heard six ghastly songs in a row on the Amazon Prime Christmas music station.

Led, of course, by this new little number:

“Do you really think I’d miss the chance to kiss your champagne lips?” Please, Julia, children are listening.

(Please don’t confuse this sad little number with an R&B holiday standard of the same name.)

Do you know what I know (that this song was written by a UU)?

December 13, 2013

One of Christmas Spirit Fail’s least favorite mainstream seasonal songs–it always gets a thumbs-down when it pops up, whac-a-mole style, on our Pandora channels–is the cloying “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (Special bonus bad points when sung by Carrie Underwood below, although this song has been covered by everybody, and we do mean everybody, from St. Bing to Kenny G to Rosie O’Donnell and Elmo.)

We were always a little skeptical of this song’s rather impressionistic narrative of–maybe?–the birth of the Christ Child, with the shepherds somehow bringing the news to Herod, who welcomes the arrival of the child, the child, who will bring goodness and light.

Turns out the narrative is inspired more by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the lyricist’s desire for world peace than by Matthew or Luke. Add to this that the composer–the lyricist’s husband at the time–was a Unitarian Universalist and this Christmas spirit fail suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Bad Santa

December 12, 2013

Christmas Spirit Fail was delighted to get an email from friend byMags yesterday noting the following Christmas train wreck:

We were less delighted once we listened all the way through. As Wikipedia helpfully notes, “The lyrics are sexually suggestive, not having much to do with Christmas as a holiday.” (Citation needed!)

Public service announcement: keep your back doors locked this Christmas. The real Santa comes through the chimney, and probably brings flowers if he’s taking you on a date.

Going hunting for cash

December 11, 2013

Christmas Spirit Fail supposes it was inevitable.

Really, for the family that commands TV ratings and book bestseller lists, branching out with a Christmas album (and associated DVD) was sort of a no-brainer.

We don’t actually have that big a problem with these songs. “Hairy Christmas” is probably the cutest of the lot:

We can only ask: was this truly necessary? Is there any artistic virtue to this project? Is there any purpose to it beyond vacuuming more money out of the pockets of Duck Dynasty fans?

I saw Daddy drinking Santa Claus under the table…

December 10, 2013

One of the most confusing Christmas songs we’ve heard is “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).” Lyrically, it’s a real downer–even tear-jerker champs like “The Christmas Shoes” manage to end on a note that some less eremitic listeners might find inspirational.

But no, “Please, Daddy” goes only from “You came home a quarter past eleven/and fell down underneath our Christmas tree” to “I turned around and saw my Momma’s tears” to “I don’t want to see my Momma cry.”

Which makes the up-tempo, cheerful, major-key performances of this song most puzzling. John Denver made it famous, and Alan Jackson’s cover version is no more appropriate to the subject matter:

(The greatest irony of that fan video is the array of Thomas Kinkade jpegs the scroll by in the background.)

Kel-ly. You don’t have to put on the red dress.

December 9, 2013

Your team at Christmas Spirit Fail notes with much dismay that Love Actually seems to have entered the (adult, anyway) Christmas movie canon. This is probably in part due to its silly notion that the purpose of Christmas is little more than that people declare their secret loves for one another, no matter how fantastical those romances may be. No matter whether the object of your desire is older or younger, gay or straight, boss or serving-wench, single or married to your old chum — Christmas is the season that sanctifies your romantic desires.

(And in drearily secular Britain, sure, why not?)

Kelly Clarkson doubles down on that principle with her new holiday album and its lead single:

After starting out with some of the purest inanities ever uttered in a Christmas album (“Everybody’s happy/prayers are being nicer/miracles all around”), Kelly goes on to describe an unrequited love:

From afar I’ve loved you/but never let it show/and every year another/December comes and goes
But this Christmas/I’m gonna risk it all/This Christmas/I’m not afraid to fall

Kelly does this by showing up dressed in red, perhaps, which is assumed to be the universal language–replacing “words I never said”–for “I love you.”

So watch out, ladies, when you put on the red dress this Christmas, lest you signal something you don’t really intend to the men in your company.

Dreaming of a green Christmas…

December 6, 2013

Everyone from Tennessee to California to the District of Columbia seems to have a special pride in the way they celebrate Christmas at home. With a tip of the homburg to @anikapanika, the Pacific Northwest is no exception:

The point of regional pride, of course, is that Christmas isn’t white in the Northwest–it’s green (unless, of course, you find yourself east of the Cascades, but let’s do like most people in Seattle do and pretend those folks don’t exist).

And… that’s about the entire substance of this five-minute song. You might be forgiven for feeling like that “gift wrapped up in green” was a wee bit oversold.

When Christmas spirit was winning

December 6, 2013

Over at National Review Online, where they’re talking about their own least favorite Christmas songs, Jim Geraghty asks why the postwar period was such a fertile time for the true modern classics of the season. Geraghty cites:

  • “White Christmas”
  • “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
  • “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”
  • “Let It Snow”
  • “Sleigh Ride”
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
  • “Silver Bells”
  • “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”
  • “Frosty the Snowman”
  • “Little Drummer Boy” [N.B.: Your team at Christmas Spirit Fail considers these latter two to be proto-fails for the novelty gags that would soon come to typify the cultural detritus of the season.]

“Post-Boomer modern artists keep using these songs on their own Christmas albums suggests they have timeless quality,” Geraghty writes. “They’re just good songs, and the theme of appreciation and gratitude probably resonates with many as they take stock of their lives as the year ends.”

Although he does pay tribute to a more cynical reading offered by XKCD:

We leave it to our readers to guess which explanation CSF favors.