• Sun, 3, Dec, 2017 - 5:00:AM

The very weird messages in Christmas songs

Christmas songs hold a special place in my heart. I’m one of those strange people who start listening to them well before it is decent to do so, and as such I’ve come to know them quite well. Which, as it turns out, isn’t such a good thing, as I’ve gradually realised how bizarre a lot of them are.

In recent years, I’ve found myself forced to take off my tinsel-rimmed rose-tinted glasses. One moment I’ll be merrily singing along, and the next I’ll be wondering what the hell I’ve just sung. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few of the lyrics that have left me scratching my head.

First, the simply perplexing. Like this verse, in Winter Wonderland:

Later on, we'll conspire,

As we dream by the fire

To face unafraid,

The plans that we've made,

Walking in a winter wonderland.

Fun fact: I used to think that line two of this verse was, “As we drink by the fire”, which sounds like a much better thing to do in front of the fire, in my humble opinion. But the bizarre part of this verse is those scary plans. What kind of plans are we talking about? Marriage? I can understand that fear. Plans to walk in a winter wonderland? What kind of wonderland are they planning on visiting?! A haunted, derelict ruin in a festive ghost town? The mind boggles.

Similarly astounding is this line from 80s hit Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

This line literally refers to people starving in Ethiopia. I’m not kidding. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas in response to a famine that gripped Ethiopia during 1983-1985. Because thanking God that other people are suffering while you’re not seems like the perfect message for the season of giving.

And while we’re on the subject of completely inappropriate, have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stuck on a cold, stormy night inside the house of a creepy sexual predator who won’t let you leave? If so, Baby, It’s Cold Outside is the song for you.

A little taste:

Woman: My mother will start to worry

Man: Beautiful, what's your hurry

Woman: My father will be pacing the floor

Man: Listen to the fireplace roar

Woman: So really I'd better scurry

Man: Beautiful, please don't hurry

Woman: Well Maybe just a half a drink more

Man: Put some records on while I pour

Woman: The neighbours might think

Man: Baby, it's bad out there

Woman: Say, what's in this drink?

If you’ve ever uttered similarly polite, but increasingly desperate excuses in an attempt to escape an awkward situation with a potential love interest you’re just not that interested in, this will all be feeling very familiar. If you’ve ever had your drink spiked (which I have) it’ll be feeling extremely uncomfortable.

It might just be me, but there’s nothing particularly Christmassy about roofies. Or anything good about a song that has as its major plotline a woman trying to escape from coercion.

A similarly creepy lyric occurs in Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

Why do I suddenly have a vision of Santa as a peeping tom?

Peeping Santa isn’t the only thing children have to fear, however. At least, not if you consult Away In A Manger.

Bless all the dear children

In Thy tender care

And take us to heaven

To Live with Thee there

Yeah, I don’t think that going to heaven (which requires you to be, well, dead) was high on my Christmas wish list as a child. Not that it isn’t a nice idea (it’s totally not a nice idea).

So, to recap, scary plans, thanking God for others’ suffering, rohypnol, voyeurism, and childhood death. And don’t even get me started about Parson Brown.

Merry Christmas!


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