Archive for the ‘Kitschen Sink’ Category

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.)

Mariah, call off your fans

December 6, 2011

We at Christmas Spirit Fail have long considered Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to be “something delightful.” What people do with it, however, is usually nothing sort of dreadful.

With a tip of our hat to our excellent jam-mistress and wondrous pilgrim comes this sad homage to Miss Carey. And yes, so that the visually impaired can be fully horrified, it is a male/female pair of prancing around in leotards and Christmas stockings and lip-synching.

And now, the visual nightmare:

[Alas, this video is no longer available. — The Editors, Dec. 2013]

The feds should go after this kind of sugary treat…

December 6, 2010

We at Christmas Spirit Fail hang our homburg in the District of Columbia, where we have for several years now enjoyed a festive and charming Christmas season, accented by the “national” Christmas trees and other public displays. (The wreaths at Union Station may be our favorite.)

And since there’s no chance that a pleasant thing won’t get ruined by attempts to memorialize it in song:

The music alone makes our teeth ache, but the lyrics are worse: like a cut-rate Peggy Noonan under a close deadline to bang out a religious-patriotic holiday column, Maura Sullivan (the singer) and John London’s syrupy verse places even Christmas under the thumb of our federal frolic-masters in “America’s hometown.”

(That’s right: they call it “America’s hometown.” Notwithstanding the fact that at least half of D.C. area residents were born somewhere else, and often call that place their hometown, what claim does the federal city have of being the place where Americans devote their patriotic affection? I think Philly has a much better claim.)

And the chorus ought to offend every red-blooded American: Read the rest of this entry »

Better than a hippo

December 13, 2009

Also in the annals of adorable little girls singing irritating songs about Christmas is Gayla Peevey, who recorded “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” in 1953 at age ten.

Gayla’s is actually a somewhat inspiring story. The song became a nationwide hit, propelling the Oklahoma child star to national renown amusement. The Oklahoma City Zoo used the song to raise funds to buy a hippopotamus, which Gayla herself presented to the zoo.

Gayla went on to have an unremarkable career as a child singer and then, under a stage name as a teenager, pop singer. But this Christmas story actually has a happy ending: unlike so many child stars, Gayla ended up finishing college, enjoying careers in teaching and advertising, and having a daughter and three grandkids (if Wikipedia is to be believed).

So, gentle readers, even if Gayla never got her own hippo for Christmas, she got a lot more out of life.

The afro of St. Nick

December 8, 2009

This might be the single best (as in, so-worst-it’s-best) Christmas spirit fail.

“Santa Claus Is a Black Man” is performed by Akim (the little girl) and the Teddy Vann Production Company (link to a probably unofficial MySpace). When and where, we couldn’t figure. According to this message board, you’ll see that it has a following in New Orleans, which was where we first heard it played repeatedly in our college cafeteria. The song was semi-popularized (or at least made known more widely among the weirdo community) when John Waters included it on his 2004 kitschy Christmas record.

At any rate, it’s a classically bad novelty Christmas song, but it has its charms–the adorable Akim, a delightfully preposterous premise, random Kwanzaa wishes, and the stereotype inversion that reminds us of, yes, the universality of the season.

Jingle all the spay

December 5, 2009

A very meowy Christmas to you, too! You know how most cats couldn’t care less about your feelings, cares, or desires? Well, clearly these cats are expressing great disdain for anyone who happens upon their noxious purring.

What’s more astonishing is that people actually pay good meowny for this purrfectly abysmal clamor.

When Christmas Carols Are Given the Hard Rock Treatment…

November 22, 2009

…you end up wishing that electronic instruments did not exist. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra knows exactly how to ruin most of my favorite Christmas carols and while they’re at it, they create new Christmas songs that make you want to wear ear plugs when entering any store during the holiday season. When did anyone ever think it would be a good idea to turn Pachelbel’s Canon in D major into a Christmas song? 

Not only is this song terrible, this video uses is a collection of idyllic Thomas Kinkade scenes as a backdrop. It seems highly unlikely that a screeching electric guitar would ever find its way into one of the Painter of Light’s villages.

Fool of good cheer

November 19, 2009

Thanks for Davy C. for reminding us of one of Nancy Reagan’s worst decisions:

I pity Mrs. Reagan

Who's fooling whom?

Mr. T is, of course, responsible for another classic piece of Christmas cultural detritus, as seen below:



November 18, 2009

Refrains can be good: Psalm 136 comes to mind. (“His steadfast love endures forever.”) Others seem a little less inspired–if no less fun–filling out a line, looking for a rhyme. “Sha-na-na,” “Na na na na na na na na na na na,” and “Pa rum pa pum pum.”

“The Little Drummer Boy” is proof that oldies are not necessarily goodies. First written in 1941, it has been covered more than 220 times, by artists as diverse as the Trapp Family Singers, Joan Jett, Alicia Keys, Boyz II Men, Gladys Knight, John Denver, the Brady Bunch, Neil Diamond, and a very-strange-bedfellows pairing of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. It was Richard Nixon’s favorite Christmas song. (‘Nuff said.) Apart from its uncreative refrain, the song is a shiny plastic piece of Christmas kitsch, on the order of “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger,” downplaying the gritty fleshiness of the birth of Jesus.

On the plus side, it is the centerpiece of a charming Rankin-Bass TV special, and I think we can all long for the days when Yuletide TV specials were more like this and less like this.

And, as a holiday bonus, enjoy this little gem: