I love the holiday season. Enormous inflatables taking over everyone’s lawn fills me with tacky glee.  I love the delicious food I can’t stop making and consuming. And I love Christmas music.  

I love the music so much that after Halloween is over, it’s fair game for me. At least in my car, where my husband can’t hear.

Good Christmas music keeps my spirits up when life and people seem stupid and difficult. Every Christmas, though, there are a few songs that steal my joy with their weird lyrics, haunting non-holiday melodies, and too much cowbell bell. These songs are immediately skipped on Pandora or the radio.

If you look at this list and think “But I like these songs!” Awesome! I actually LOVE Wham singing “Last Christmas,” and I understand that for most people, it is considered, unquestionably, the worst Christmas song ever. To each her own! But here goes my list …

1. Mary Did You Know?- Kenny Rogers  and Wynonna Judd Version

We can debate what Mary did or didn’t know, but for me, I like my Christmas songs perky, not mysterious. As a mother of young children, I have high hopes and dreams for my kids, but thinking too much about their futures, especially soon after giving birth would have given me a panic attack. Maybe Mary could just have a nap instead of all the foreshadowing that may overwhelm her. This version also seems pretty high on the synthesizer, and I just can’t stop thinking of “The Gambler “when Kenny Rogers sings. 

2. The Christmas Shoes- NewSong

With “Christmas Shoes,” there are only two camps: Lovers People with Hearts and Haters Those of Us Who Are Dead Inside. It’s pretty clear where I fall. This story-song is just too much for me. I love Christmas, and I love shoes. But I cannot get on board with this. Besides being cheesy,  it brings up too many questions. Am I a bad parent because my daughter doesn’t know my shoe size? What do Christmas shoes look like? Why not Christmas gloves or a Christmas hat? I have been hearing this song for almost 20 years, and I don’t love it yet. Maybe in another 20 years? 

3. I’ll Be Home for Christmas- Josh Groban and Military Members

I think this is a beautiful song. Then why is it on this list?!  I liked this song when I was a kid because I had my family with me. As I grow older, I like the song less and less because it seems like we’re always missing someone at the holidays. That’s just my general complaint with the song. But this version starts with the service members telling their rank and where they’re stationed during Christmas. It makes me sad!  This hits too close to home, and my husband isn’t even deployed! If I want to cry and punish myself, I’ll just watch Brian’s Song with a case of tissues.  

4. The Little Drummer Boy-Justin Bieber 

Rum Pa Pum Pum. As a mother of a baby, I really would not enjoy a drummer playing for us. I take no issue in honoring someone with music or playing your best, but please no percussion around the sleeping child, holy or not. It throws me when the singer is singing the lyrics, then all the sudden it’s “Rum Pa Pum Pum” time. Imagine if it wasn’t a little drummer boy, but a clarinetist. The movie You’ve Got Mail gives a great sound for the clarinet, so “Come, they told me. . .  doodly doodly doodly det,” could have been the new lyric. While there are some Biebs Christmas songs I like, this isn’t one of them. 

5. Carol of the Bells- Choral Version

This song feels too frantic for me. It starts out nice and quiet, but as the song goes on, it gets louder and faster. The song feels like a child begging for something they want. They start small, but the ask becomes bigger and bigger and soon enough it’s like cymbals in your ears. Parenthood feels repetitive enough on some days that a Christmas song that goes round and round is not helpful during the holiday season.

Whatever songs you’re listening to, I hope you have music that makes you feel great this holiday season! Which ones are your least favorite?

I’m going to go listen to Wham . . .