The 5 Creepiest Christmas Songs

Everything has its dark side, even the holiday of light and giving. If you don’t believe us, try being the clerk buried under the feet of 500 overeager Black Friday shoppers. Or stay safely at home and see the true face of evil in the lyrics of these Christmas classics…

#5) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Sung by: Jimmy Boyd

Most people find it cute to listen to the song, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” In fact, on the surface, it drips cuteness all over the yule log. The song is from the 1950s, which is considered the Age of Wholesomeness due to television shows like Leave it to Beaver and Lassie. Add that to an actual kid, 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd, innocently singing about the holidays and you have a Christmas song that the whole family can enjoy together.

The Dark Side:

…Most people are naïve.

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” may seem like a cute, wholesome Christmas song on the outside, but if you pull it apart and really listen to it, this song is a sadistic, home-wrecking holiday song that has no business being played in a holiday loop on the radio.

...Okay, this is better than expected, but still.

…Okay, this is better than expected, but still.

Just look at these lyrics:

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.

Okay, so mom is kissing Santa Claus. Maybe she wasn’t a very good girl this year and was making up for it. Who knows?

She didn’t see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep;
She thought that I was tucked up
In my bedroom fast asleep.

Even the kid is a bit creepy. He’s becoming a Peeping Tom at an extremely early age. And he’s not even peeping at someone normal, like the babysitter. He’s peeping on his mom. This has Norman Bates’ fingerprints all over it.

And it gets worse.

Then I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white;

So mom and Santa are getting a little frisky, which is a far cry from just following the tradition of being caught under the mistletoe.

Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night.

A laugh? What kind of family is this? I don’t think my dad would be laughing if he walked in on my mom making out with a 240-year-old man in a red and white velvet leisure suit, and I probably wouldn’t be singing a song about it. Most likely, I would be sucking my thumb and rocking back and forth after seeing why my dad did to good old Saint Nick. I’d probably still be doing that to this day.

Listen to the song HERE and make your own conclusions.

#4) Back Door Santa

Sung by: Clarence Carter

Most likely, the most you’ve heard of “Back Door Santa” by Clarence Carter is as a loop in Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.” It’s that awesome, funky riff at the beginning, and it does what it’s supposed to do: give some hardcore soul to the Christmas season. It’s a break from the traditional Christmas carols that puts people to sleep more often then gets them excited for the holidays. The song also has that “salt of the earth” feeling to it if you take the title at face value. “Back Door Santa.” He’s a blue-collar man. You don’t have a chimney? No problem. “Back Door Santa” is going to take care of your Christmas.

The Dark Side:

At least, that’s what you would think the song is about. Until you get to those lyrics. Then Santa becomes something out of a TV special on sex offenders.

They call me Back Door Santa
I make my runs about the break of day

"Hey, kid--want to see a dirty picture of your mom?"

“Hey, kid–want to see a dirty picture of your mom?”

Okay, so this Santa delivers his toys during the day. I can live with that. A flesh and blood Santa Claus can’t be expected to really deliver toys all around the world in one night. He may need to burn some daylight at some point to finish up.

I make all the little girls happy
While the boys are out to play

Hm. This Santa seems to be a tad bit sexist. I’ll admit, boys usually get on the naughty list quicker than girls, but I’m sure some guys are due more than a stocking full of coal.

I ain’t like the old Saint Nick
He don’t come but once a year
I come runnin’ with my presents
Every time you call me dear

Wait wait wait. Santa only comes once a year, and he comes on his time, not when someone rings a bell. And when does Santa ever run anywhere? He’s fat. That’s why he’s got eight reindeer pulling his ass around in a sleigh.

I keep some change in my pocket, in case the children are home
I give ’em a few pennies so that we can be alone

Oh, now it makes sense. Santa uses this “bringing presents to the children” routine for other purposes: getting Mom in the sack again. The presents not only show how great a guy Santa is, but they keep us kids busy while Santa is visiting the ladies of the house, like my mom. And not just my mom: any mother that decides to leave her back door open for Santa to creep on in.

Listen to the song HERE and make your own conclusions.


#3) Christmas Shoes

Sung by: NewSong

I know full well that Patton Oswalt completely broke down the Christmas brain aneurysm known as “Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. I also know that I can’t hold a candle to his analysis, or bring anything new to the table. But dammit, this song needs to be included here as a warning for all mankind, just in case they never heard of Patton Oswalt, which means they probably just came out of the birth canal. Or North Dakota.

“Christmas Shoes” is supposed to be a spiritual, feel-good Christmas song by the Christian rock group NewSong. Right off the bat, you know the song is going to mention “Jesus” somewhere because that’s what Christian rock groups do: mention “Jesus” in their songs. Sometimes that’s all it takes to be considered a Christian rock group.

“Let’s see here…heaving breasts…driving down the highway…busting in heads with a Louisville Slugger…blah blah blah…oh, here it is! ‘That’s what I was doing when I met Jesus!’ This is a Christian rock group.”

The Dark Side:

If NewSong had gone that route with “Christmas Shoes,” they probably would have gotten a bit more respect. Instead, they give us this cruel, heart-wrenching narrative about how horrible the world is in order to show some grumpy guy the true spirit of Christmas.

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
Trying to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood

Okay, so it’s a normal situation for any guy going Christmas shopping: the narrator doesn’t want to be there. His wish is to think of a good present for So-and-So, use his mind to teleport money out of his wallet and into the cash register, wrap it, and never have to think about the present again. Instead, he’s stuck on a line with all the other slackers on Christmas Eve.

Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing ’round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes

Seems normal enough. Kids get excited when going Christmas shopping. I got excited picking out a magnet for my dad when I was 7 years old. Yup, a magnet. I wrapped it and everything when it should have gone into his Christmas stocking, or the garbage. So, this kid pacing around isn’t weird. He may even need to pee.

His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe

Now it’s starting to make sense. This kid clearly needs some new shoes. It’s cold outside. His toes are probably black from frostbite. I get it. I see where this is going. Or so I thought.

And when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

And so we are lead into the chorus that we will hear over and over again, a chorus that will haunt us forever and make sure that no one is caught dead buying shoes during the Christmas season…

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size

It seems that this kid is buying his mom shoes for Christmas. Not too bad. Until…

Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while

Obviously, this is the Father of the Year right here. Who tells his son right before Christmas, “Um, Bobby. I don’t know if you noticed, but Mom is on her last legs. She’s been coughing up blood and is barely ever lucid, so she probably doesn’t have much time left. Merry Christmas.” No wonder the kid is anxious.

And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight


Not to sound too morbid, but if someone is slowly dying from a fatal disease, they aren’t going to look too fresh if they meet up with Jesus at the pearly gates. I doubt Jesus is using a checklist to see if he wants to walk someone into Heaven. “Let’s see here: sunken eyes, check; hair loss, check; green bile leaking out of mouth, check. Things aren’t looking too good, m’am. OOOHHH, LOOK! Are those 4-inch heels on those patent leather strapped pumps? Come on in!”

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”

In the song's defense, those shoes look really good on her.

In the song’s defense, those shoes look really good on her.

It seems like this song is picky about who it inspires with the Christmas spirit. This little kid, whose mom is dying, is stacking up pennies in front of the cashier, probably out of some burlap sack the kid was dragging around all day as he looked for a pair of shoes. Instead of wiping away a tear and saying, “You keep your money, son, and take these shoes for your momma,” the cashier has the balls to say, “Nice story kid, but after counting this heap of pennies, you’re a little short.” This cashier needs to be clubbed over the head…with Christmas spirit! But no, someone else is getting inspired here…

He searched his pockets frantically

As if all his money wasn’t in that heap of pennies…

Then he turned and he looked at me
He said “Mama made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me Sir, what am I going to do,
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”

Instead of pleading with the cashier, you know, the guy stopping him from buying the shoes, he turns around to our narrator to give him his life’s story.

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
“Mama’s gonna look so great”

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about

And in the song’s final hurrah, we learn just how egocentric the band NewSong is. Apparently, they think that God cares so much about the narrator getting into the Christmas spirit that he would take a poor family, make them more miserable by giving the mother a fatal disease, then place the kid trying to buy designer shoes for his mom with a bag full of pennies in front of the narrator, have the cashier act like a jerk, and get the narrator to buy the shoes. This band thinks that God would ruin the lives of a sick mother, sad father, anxious child, and a miserly cashier in order to get one guy into the Christmas spirit for a day.

Come, m'lady, let my love, fire, and booze warm you, in reverse order.

Have we driven you to drink yet? Try 5 Winter Cocktails For Fighting The Cold

And that is why “Christmas Shoes” is one of the evilest Christmas songs in history.

Listen to the Patton Oswalt rip on the song HERE to see that I’m not alone.



#2) Don’t Shoot Me Santa

Sung by: The Killers

To be fair, “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” by The Killers isn’t vaguely creepy like the rest of these songs. It’s “in your face” morbid and creepy, kind of like the movie Silent Night, Deadly Night. Christmas is merely a tool to turn that holiday spirit 180 degrees into bone-chilling horror. That is, it’s deliberately creepy, and in that regard, it’s a magnificent success.

The Dark Side:

First off, the song sounds like it was lifted right off an album by The Paper Chase, a post-punk ensemble from the late 90s known for screeching chords, eerie riffs. It’s music that would be perfect backing up any kill in a horror movie.

The lyrics are just as foreboding.

Oh Santa
I’ve been waiting on you
That’s funny kid
Because I’ve been coming for you

"This is the toughest part of my job. Well, that and fitting down chimneys."

“This is the toughest part of my job. Well, that and fitting down chimneys.”

Here the narrator is speaking with Santa Claus, but he may even be talking to himself, using Santa Claus to visualize a side of his conscience. Either way, this isn’t a conversation that I want to be having whether it is with a guy in a red suit or myself.

Oh Santa
I’ve been killing just for fun
Well the party’s over kid
Because I
Because I got a bullet in my gun
A bullet in your what?

Santa’s got a bullet in his gun
You know it, Santa’s got a bullet in his gun

Obviously our narrator has been a very, very bad boy this year. Usually Santa just writes off such cases as “on the naughty list” and passes over his house, but Santa seems dedicated to making an example of this guy.

Don’t shoot me Santa Claus
I’ve been a clean living boy
I promise you
Did every little thing you asked me to
I can’t believe the things I’m going through

Don’t shoot me Santa Claus
Well no one else around believes me
But the children on the block they tease me
I couldn’t let them off that easy

Now it seems like this is an episode from Showtime’s Dexter. The narrator is clearly a serial killer, taking out the neighborhood kids from his past. He’s trying to explain away why he did what he did, whether to protect himself from Santa Claus or his own hand.

The horror of this song is only heightened by the video, which visualizes Santa Claus as a dirty, middle-aged man that drags people out into the desert in his candy apple red Cadillac and kills them. Creepy meets Christmas in a way only the most morbid can love…which is why this song may be on constant rotation for me during the holidays.

Listen to the song HERE and make your own conclusions.

And finally…

#1) Baby It’s Cold Outside

Sung by: Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart

Ever since I heard my parents playing their contemporary Christmas classics CD nonstop when I was 10 years old, there is one song that sends chills down my spine and ruined any hope of hearing the name Rod “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” Stewart without thinking of cheesy one-liners, shirts with 3 buttons opened, and suspicious vans with the words “Shaggin Wagon” painted on the side. That song is “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

The Dark Side:

Do not, under any circumstances, sit on Santa's lap.

Do not, under any circumstances, sit on Santa’s lap.

Technically, it’s not a Christmas song. It’s a winter song, but it’s lumped together with Christmas music because there really isn’t a “sex offender anthem” genre. Unless you count hair bands, but that’s a genre in itself.

Apparently, Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton got together to reinvigorate this duet. Don’t get me wrong, it is just as creepy with Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton, but Rod Stewart’s voice really ratchets up the “ew” factor as the male voice of this duet.

The lyrics are no less seedy. The parts are split up between the “mouse” (usually sung by a woman) and the “wolf” (usually sung by a man) as they discuss what should happen now that their date has come to an end. The mouse wants to be on her way home, while the wolf has other plans. Giggity.

The song starts off innocent enough: a little obvious, but innocent.

I really can’t stay
(But baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away
(But baby, it’s cold outside)

This evening has been
(Been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice
(I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

Okay, so the guy is sly. Can’t fault him for that. Until…

 The neighbors might think
(Baby, it’s bad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
(No cabs to be had out there)

Hmmmm. Something’s up with that drink, huh. There’s no way to read that stanza where he’s not a shady guy. If he was a gentleman, he would have walked you back to your place, or taken you home in a cab. Instead, he’s tricked this woman into his den and given her a drink that packs way more punch than your normal liquor.

 I wish I knew how
(Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell
(I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)

Don't drink it, lady!

Don’t drink it, lady!

Looks like she’s done for. The hat comes off. It always starts with the hat.

I really can’t stay
(Baby, don’t hold out)
Oh, but it’s cold outside

I simply must go
(But baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no
(But baby, it’s cold outside)

Like I said. Sex offender anthem. You won’t hear me trying to woo the ladies with this song.

Listen to the song HERE and make your own conclusions.

Admit it--you were going to drink your way through the winter holidays no matter what.

Admit it–you were going to drink your way through the winter holidays no matter what.

Patrick Emmel loves the holiday season, but loves the twisted versions of the holiday season even more, which is why he watches Scrooged and Bad Santa non-stop throughout December. You can see more of his work at Sports Jeer, The Inept Owl, or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.

Courtesy of Filter/Wind-Up Records

Filter unfiltered

Patrick chronicled EveryCon: A Guide to Holiday Bar Crawls, and found better music in his interview with Filter’s Richard Patrick and Jonny Radtke.

More from The Man Behind Patrick Emmel

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