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The 20 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time (With Jokes!)

worst christmas songs
An up close picture of a tree from unsplash.

Throughout December, and most of November at this point, you will hear many Christmas classics playing at stores, on television, and on the radio. However, there are many Christmas songs that everyone hates. In this article, we’ll be exploring the worst Christmas songs of all time.

“That’s Christmas To Me” – Pentatonix

Singing in such close harmony requires a lot of practice, but when the end product makes you sound like a band of robots singing Christmas carols in the Uncanny Valley, it defeats the purpose. 

Pentatonix is an a cappella group consisting of GAP mannequins that come to life after the mall shuts at night. Their song “Sing” has nearly 18 million views on YouTube, which, by their standards, is a horrible failure.

“That’s Christmas to Me” is a classic terrible Christmas song – annoying melody, obnoxiously catchy, and simply cringy. As bad as it is, their version of “Mary Did You Know” might even be worse.

“Funky Funky Christmas” – New Kids on the Block 

It’s quite doubtful that NSYNC would have been around to spoil Christmas if it weren’t for NKOTB, who themselves contributed what is perhaps the whitest rap song ever. It’s one of the worst Christmas songs even before the New Kids rap with their phony British accents.

Paul McCartney – “Wonderful Christmastime”

Due to its mild-though-annoying attractiveness, Sir Paul McCartney’s 1979 Christmas earworm was kept off earlier versions of this list. 

The song’s synth-driven composition has a time-stamped aspect that may be described as “nostalgic,” much like Wham’s “Last Christmas.” 

“Wonderful Christmastime” is monotonous and uninspired, even by the standards of the former Beatle.

“Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk on Christmas)” – John Denver

A toddler begging his emotionally abusive alcoholic father not to pass out under the tree again is certainly a way to spread holiday happiness. 

That’s great material for a country song any other time of year, but hearing it juxtaposed with this upbeat holiday arrangement is enough to make anyone want to hit the bottle. It is undoubtedly among the worst Christmas songs.

“The Christmas Shoes” – New Song

It’s natural for your heartstrings to be tugged at by some Christmas music. On “The Christmas Shoes,” though, the Christian band New Song unleashes a bazooka full of sap, sweetness, and angel tears. 

On the track, the narrator is out doing some last-minute Christmas shopping when he sees a filthy little boy attempting to buy shoes for his mother. 

She finds out she is dying, and the child urges her to dress nicely for her meeting with Jesus.

Even most of my Christian friends think this is hardcore cringe.

“Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” – Maroon 5 

 

The John Lennon original cannot be challenged, no matter how many “worst Christmas songs ever” lists you read. 

The sluggish arrangement and falsetto warble of Adam Levine and colleagues, however, derail Lennon’s piece here, which may come as a surprise to many of you.

“Christmas Tree” – Lady Gaga and Space Cowboy

Lady Gaga has given us a lot: she’s a pop icon, an Oscar winner, and a Grammy powerhouse. 

Her addition to the Christmas canon, however, sounds like it was bought from a dodgy 7-Eleven at the eleventh hour.

“White Christmas” – Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop covering a Christmas standard is supposed to be funny, but the arrangement is super sloppy, and Pop’s vocal sounds like it was recorded inside a stocking. Rather than humorous, it ends up sounding gloomy and morbid.

“Spin Me a Christmas” – Aqua

Did you realize that Aqua was still a thing in 2009? The Swedish trio, known for their 1997 hit “Barbie Girl,” RULED THE CHARTS with their holiday trance track “Spin Me a Christmas” in the late 00s. 

Just kidding, the terrible song only made the charts in one country: Denmark, where they evidently have less descriminating Christmas song tastes. Even there, it only hit #43. We apologize profusely for bringing this to your notice.

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” – Bruce Springsteen

This song from the 1930s has been sung by everyone from Bing Crosby to The Jackson 5 to Miley Cyrus. In recent years, however, it has become particularly associated with the image of a sweating father ripping a hole in the rear pocket of his Levi’s. 

While some musicians may completely immerse themselves in a cover and bring the song to new heights, others, like Bruce Springsteen, manage to make everything they perform seem like the same cheesy bar band act over and over again forever. Undoubtedly one of the worst Christmas songs.

“Santa Baby” – Michael Bublé 

To celebrate the Christmas season in 2011, Michael Bublé recorded a new version of “Santa Baby,” a song originally performed by Eartha Kitt. 

He uses terms like “buddy” and “dude” instead of the gender-neutral “baby,” likely because the idea of fooling Santa Claus into giving him expensive gifts threatens Bublé’s fragile sense of manhood. 

The 1954 Ford Thunderbird convertible in sky blue that Eartha requested? Since a Mustang is more macho than a classic Chevy, we swapped it out for a steel blue 1965 model.

“Merry Xmas Everybody” – Slade

Though it has a singalong chorus, “Merry Xmas Everybody” has more than a tinge of doleful resignation, reminding us that sometimes you have to grit your teeth through life. Pretty sure that’s not what Christmas songs are supposed to be going for. 

“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

Somehow, this tearjerker is one of the most popular Christmas song in Britain.

For some mysterious reason – maybe because of its severe schmaltz? – you mercifully hardly ever hear it on this side of the Atlantic. 

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” – She & Him

This is, without a doubt, the worst Christmas song of the modern era. 

It’s amazing that, despite everything, we get a new version of this song on record almost every year. You couldn’t do much worse than She & Him, which flips the gender roles for the sake of “playfulness,” which, you know, utterly defeats the purpose of the song.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” – Band Aid

The majority of Ethiopians identified as Christians in 1984, when this benefit song was composed, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that they do know. 

Ethiopia has been a Christian nation for something like 1,500 years. It kills me criticize Phil Collins and Duran Duran, but this song exemplifies the peril of romanticizing the past.

“I Believe in Father Christmas” – Greg Lake

Maybe it’s the overdone sleigh bells. Maybe it’s the overwrought lyrics. Maybe it’s that annoying synthesizer at the end of it. Whatever it is, “I Believe in Father Christmas” is clearly one of the worst Christmas songs.

“Lonely This Christmas” – Mud

Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” was a reaction to industrial unrest in the early 1970s. Similarly, Mud’s 1974 track “Lonely This Christmas” also evokes dark time from which it came. 

That isn’t a compliment.

“Lonely This Christmas” is slow and dismal. The poor attempt at an Elvis impersonation thrown in at the end leaves you hoping for a blackout.

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – The Jackson 5

Contrary to popular belief, “Santa Baby” is not the only classic horny Christmas song. Aside from the fact that this song has been recorded several times before, the thought of a five-year-old Michael Jackson performing it simply adds to the bafflement. 

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like the image of a nosy kid sneaking around the house in the middle of the night to witness his dad getting cuckolded. If this isn’t one of the worst Christmas songs, what is?

“Back Door Santa” – Bon Jovi 

This is only the latest in a long series of lunchpail rockers donning a hardhat and clocking in at the Christmas Rock Factory, a la Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” 

It is a cover of a song originally recorded by Clarence Carter in 1968, and as such, it is a natural addition to the Horny For Christmas canon. 

In terms of theme and lyrics, it has almost nothing in do with the Christmas season. It also has an absolutely awful riff that sounds like someone spilled eggnog on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s keyboard. One of the worst Christmas songs ever. 

“Step Into Christmas” – Elton John

Due to the widespread familiarity with the majority of Christmas songs, a trend of “festive crate-digging” has emerged in which lesser-known holiday tracks are given their time in the spotlight. 

It can be seen in the recent success of Elton John‘s “Step Into Christmas,” which was initially a commercial failure despite its catchy chorus. 

Conclusion

People set aside their disagreements and agree on one thing every year at this time: Christmas music is nearly universally terrible. 

While there are many timeless masterpieces, the music industry never stops its terrible assembly line of sorrow, so for every Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby gem, there are hundreds of the worst Christmas songs released each year.

Related: The 30 Best Christmas Songs of All Time

Written by Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014

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