CHICAGO (KXAN) — While there are many great Christmas and holiday songs, the hundreds and hundreds of them can’t all be winners.
The following five Christmas tunes are among the most-hated, based on a comb through social media. The songs with the most negative tweets made this list. Do you know them?
“The Christmas Shoes” — NewSong
“The one about the shoes and the dying mom,” says @blairlawdorf.
One of the most popular choices among Twitter users is the 2000 Christian/country hit “The Christmas Shoes,” by vocal group NewSong. The ballad chronicles a boy trying to buy shoes for his terminally ill mother but he doesn’t have enough money. Luckily, the song’s narrator spots him the money so she can “look beautiful if mama meets Jesus tonight.”
Many feel the song is just too sad for the holiday season.
“The Christmas Shoes” was also adapted into a made-for-TV movie of the same name in 2002, starring Rob Lowe.
In a 2009 NBC DFW piece, Greg Janda writes: “… it’s a strange thought that the kid is more worried about how his mom will look when she’s dead than spending time with her on their last Christmas together.”
“Wonderful Christmastime” — Paul McCartney
Even goodwill for Sir Paul McCartney couldn’t save this synth-heavy 1979 jaunt from many people’s must-skip lists.
“Wonderful Christmastime” has been covered by several major artists, including pop stars Kylie Minogue and Harry Styles. Forbes estimates McCartney has made around $15 million from the song since its release and about $400,000-$600,000 per year in royalties.
The song is not without its defenders, however.
“Paul McCartney didn’t have to go so hard with ‘Wonderful Christmastime,’ but he did. He did that for me,” writes @alyssaliterally.
The song got some interesting attention back in 2019 when a Twitter theory about “Wonderful Christmastime” went viral. It began with Canadian Actor Ryan George questioning if the song may actually be about friends getting caught performing witchcraft and lying about what they’re doing.
Judge for yourself!
“Mary, Did You Know?” — Michael English
This 1984 Christian hit has become a Christmas standard for many churches, in addition to popular radio. The solemn ballad — sometimes given a rock treatment — questions the young Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, about whether she knew her immaculately conceived child would be the son of God.
“Mary, Did You Know?” has been knocked for perceived redundancy, in addition to lyrics many consider sexist and/or diminutive.
“It’s not even theologically accurate! Yes Mary knew, shut up!” Reddit user u/Silver_kitty writes. “That’s the point of the Annunciation! She has the whole Magnificat explaining that she understood what was happening and why. Mary isn’t an idiot.”
Meanwhile, Christian academic Mike Frost explains: “One of the most common expressions of everyday sexism is the infantilization of women. That is, the treating of grown women as though they’re children. Infantilization is a means of controlling women and perpetuating the myth that without a man (a father figure), they are incapable of caring for themselves or exercising autonomy.”
But defenders of the song say haters are taking the question too literally.
“Yes she knew she was carrying the Savior of the world, but didn’t know exact details of what He would do, like how we cannot fully understand the glory + power of God,” writes @_chloe_rosie.
Criticisms withstanding, “Mary, Did You Know?” remains popular and has been covered by country stars like Dolly Parton, Wynonna and Carrie Underwood. The song has also been covered with altered lyrics to skirt some of the song’s touchy elements.
“Mary, Did You Know?” also spawns memes this time of year, with people asking if “Mary knew” various unrelated topics.
“Mary, Did you Know that we’ve been trying to reach you regarding your car’s extended warranty,” writes @PastorLibrarian.
“Mary, Mary, Mary! So good to finally have you on the pod. Just between us, girl: did you know?” jokes @kycarrerolopez.
“Santa Baby” — Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt, the original live-action Catwoman, brought the anti-heroine’s sex appeal to her unique 1953 hit, “Santa Baby,” which features its female narrator urging a man — not actually Santa Claus — to buy her various luxury gifts for Christmas.
The song was most notably covered by Madonna in 1987 — an even more sensual version of Kitt’s song — which the pop star delivers in a Brooklyn-accented baby voice. Thematically, the song is similar to Madonna’s earlier hit, “Material Girl.”
A.V. Club writer Caroline Framke writes Kitt herself was not a fan of Madonna’s polarizing version, reportedly telling a crowd, “I used to have a lot of fun with this song. And then Madonna sang it.”
The flirty track has also been covered by a variety of stars, including Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Gwen Stefani and pop icon Miss Piggy. Michael Bublé, one of the few male vocalists to cover the song, altered much of the song’s content for his 2017 cover, including changing “Santa baby” to “Santa buddy.”
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” — Band Aid
This 1984 charity pop single by supergroup Band Aid nearly broke the U.S. Billboard Top 10 (peaking at No. 13) and raised significant awareness and relief funds for famine victims in Ethiopia — which was the inspiration for its creation.
But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as many consider the song condescending and insensitive. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” describes the difficult conditions the Ethiopians were facing at that time, all while vocalists question whether the hungry are able to enjoy any Christmas joy at all.
“Even with the context that it’s about Ethiopian famines in the 80s, it still sounds less like ‘We need to do something’ and more like, ‘That sucks. Anyway, CHRISTMAS!'” writes @ChrisVoiceman.
What’s the holiday song that makes you plug your ears?