Susi Holliday’s Top 10 unChristmassy Christmas Songs

The Deaths of December author Susi Holliday counts down ten Christmas songs that might not get you in the festive spirit.

Posted on December 2, 2017 in Guest Author
Tags: Christmas, Susi Holliday, The Deaths of December

There are a lot of really ‘nice’ Christmas songs (and many annoying ones), and the first time you hear them in any given run-up to Christmas they make you feel all fluffy and festive and ready for a few mulled wines. But by the time you’ve heard them over and over again, you’d be forgiven for wanting to carve up your loved ones with the electric carving knife for the turkey. So as an antidote to that, here’s a list of my top 10 unChristmassy Christmas songs, to put you in a pre-Christmas malaise that Scrooge would be proud of.

10) Fairytale of New York (The Pogues and Kirsty McColl)

This one makes the list for two reasons. Firstly, the characters in this song have what you might call a ‘bittersweet’ relationship, drunkenly insulting each other and hoping they won’t have to see another Christmas together. Charming! The main reason it’s on the list though is that I actually hate this song. With a passion. Sure, the first 300 times I heard it, I quite liked it. But I think it was hearing it for the 301st time that tipped me over the edge. Guaranteed to make me murderous.


9) I Won’t Be Home for Christmas (Blink 182)

A ‘fun’ take on the festive period with someone attacking carol singers (‘Satan’s helpers’) with a baseball bat and ending up in jail for Christmas, and encountering an over-familiar cellmate. Could also be interpreted as someone having a breakdown at the most stressful time of the year. Dark.


8) Don’t Shoot Me Santa (The Killers)

Kind of weird, but has a great video featuring the band in Christmas jumpers. A boy is begging forgiveness from Santa for what he’s done (massacred his tormentors), because he’s had a very bad year. No kidding.


7) 2000 miles (The Pretenders)

Beautiful and sad, people think it’s about two lovers separated over the festive period; but it’s actually Chrissie Hynde’s tribute to guitarist Jimmy Honeyman-Scott who died aged 25 from a cocaine overdose the year before the song was released.


6) Let Me Sleep – It’s Christmas Time (Pearl Jam)

A poignant and sad ballad about a vagrant hoping for some peace over the festive period, this one kind of makes me cry.


5) Oi to The World (The Vandals)

An excellent punk Christmas story of forgiveness and redemption, with a punk and a skinhead having a bloody fight, and then making friends and drinking together at the pub. Can we get this to Christmas number one?


4) Santa Where’s Me Bike (Kevin Bloody Wilson)

My dad used to play this all the time when we were kids, despite the VERY explicit lyrics. We had it on a bootleg cassette and it was almost like it was contraband, getting passed around people in the pub every year. It’s by an Australian comedian and it’s very sweary and very funny. Just make sure you’re listening on headphones.


3) Baby its Cold Outside (various artists)

The original lyrics have the male part marked as ‘Wolf’ and the female as ‘Mouse’ and basically Wolf is doing all he can to prevent Mouse from going home, despite her constant protestations . . . and if that’s not enough, he’s spiked her drink. Creepy.


2) 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night (Simon and Garfunkel)

Opens with the melodic tones of Paul and Art singing the peaceful Christmas favourite, overlaid with a news report featuring political unrest over civil rights and discrimination, a dead comedian, a serial killer who murdered nine nurses and anti-war protests about Vietnam. If that doesn’t depress you, nothing will.


1) Karol of the bells (Douglas Pipes, from Krampus)

The lyrics of this traditional carol were reworked for the film, incredibly, making it even creepier than it already was . . . ‘Now that you know/reap what you sow/you have been warned/YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!’ A chilling choral arrangement adds to the terror. I’ll be listening to this on repeat until January.


Have a very Scary Christmas!

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