EARTH- As dawn came over the small blue orb third from the sun, mankind roused with a newfound sense of sadness, dread and hopelessness brought about by the global event known as One World United At Home. While marketed as a virtual concert in dedication to humanity’s heroes on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event featured very little in terms of uplifting music, and instead featured a series of dirges, sorrowful ballads and talented singers who, for whatever reason, were not given proper audio equipment leading to sound issues more at home in garage rehearsal spaces.
“I know we’re going through a horrible time,” said Vancouver woman and former grunge bassist Melissa Hatfield. “But when I look to artists and musicians in a time of universal melancholy, I’m hoping that they’re going to at least try to help inspire us and give us optimism for a light at the end of this tunnel. I don’t want to hear some whiny song like “Rainbow” that makes me feel worse, at least give us “Here Comes the Sun” for a semblance of hope!”
When the set was not mired in infinite sadness from low-tempo requiems, viewers were shown the sheer futility of man’s situation with footage inside of hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus patients on the verge of death, or lines of cars stretching over the horizon in the United States as people desperately searched for food donations. And when such images were at last put aside for another song, listeners were greeted by Paul McCartney’s pathetic attempt at recreating “Lady Madonna” while forgetting both the beat and lyrics, proving that it is possible to be too old to rock.
In addition to lackluster performances by artists five decades past their prime, audiences also had to cope with Jennifer Lopez’s obvious lip syncing, the talented Billie Eilish not having access to a microphone so that her voice was drowned out by an obnoxious organ, Keith Urban, and John Legend forcibly removing every last ounce of pep from the classic “Stand by Me.”
As a professional musician and composer, this time of year tends to nag on my nerves a little more than it would for your average person. Not only am I forced to listen to abysmal songs or absolutely dreadful arrangements of traditional holiday tunes, but I also have the privilege of playing all of them at various office parties and functions for mouldy peanuts to a bunch of ungrateful suits who are too busy committing a drunken sexual assault on their coworkers to pay attention to my work or, you know, common decency and law.
In the spirit of the holidays, I want to offer my take on what I consider to be the worst Christmas music ever created. I am sure that you all will have your own opinions on this, but that’s okay.
It’s perfectly okay to be wrong.
While most list-based articles will focus on the overplayed or overly obnoxious songs that used to be piped into the malls when there were still malls, I have taken the time to search for hidden little turds of holiday spirit that have mostly gone unnoticed, and for good reason.
What I have uncovered is a massive, steaming pit of demonic cow manure, and you and I are all going to have to take a dip in it. I figured that I’d start off slow and easy, going into this feet first so the absolute evil that resides within won’t overcome us and steal our souls away in a Krampus sack. Now, to be fair, I have included some famous recordings that personally hit me as significantly terrible, but have intentionally kept them low on the list for that reason.
So, stoke your fire, marshmallow your cocoa, and be prepared for the twelve worst Christmas songs ever made! But first, a word from our sponsors.
12. NewSong: “The Christmas Shoes”
Oh boy. You know things are going to get ugly when “The Christmas Shoes” is only at the bottom of my list. This is a song written by Christian rock band NewSong in the ignorant bliss that was pre-9/11 America. I know this is low-hanging fruit, but I feel that the subject matter of this particular song needs to be addressed for its outright cruelty and borderline blasphemy, and it is not as well-known outside of the US, so this may be completely new for some of my readers beyond North America.
Unlike most holiday songs which are about Jesus, Santa Claus, or the miracle of Chanukah, this is a song about death. It is sung from the perspective of a cantankerous, middle-aged man who was played by Rob Lowe in the TV movie based on the song (yes, that is also a thing). He is standing in line and a little dirty boy is waiting in front of him with a pair of shoes. The boy tells the clerk that they are just his mom’s size, and he says “I want her to look beautiful if mama meets Jesus tonight.”
Let that sink in it a little. It is Christmas Eve (according to the second verse), and this child is buying shoes for his mother who is about to expire before the night is through. What a fun and joyous song to come on the radio right after “Silver Bells.”
Making this song worse, the grimy rapscallion who is about to lose his mother is also paying for the shoes in literal pennies before finding that he is too short. The clerk demands full price while the boy frantically searches his tattered clothing for more coins. Just give them to him, you fucking jerk! Despite my Unitarian upbringing that rejects the concept of eternal punishment, this asshole is definitely someone who should belong in Hell. It’s literally zero hour for Christmas and this kid’s mother, and you’re that much of a prick to deny this boy the shoes on account of a few cents?
It is then that the narrator/Rob Lowe pays for the shoes, allowing the boy to race home before his mother buys the farm. That is when the song becomes sacrilegious with the line: “I knew that God had sent that little boy / To remind me just what Christmas is all about.”
Yes, that poor boy and his dying mom were there for you, so that you would have a happy holiday. Slag off.
11. The Smashing Pumpkins: “Christmas Time”
Here is one of those holiday songs that makes you stare into the frosty night sky and wonder; how did this band make such an inexplicably poor decision? When you think of The Smashing Pumpkins, you usually think of hard, aggressive songs with controversial lyrics like “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” or “Zero.” And yet, here we are with a strangely pacifistic song and its whimsical melody of Christmassy clichés.
For a band that looks like they are about to strap their fans to a board and offer them up as a sacrifice to some unknown cosmic evil, this song comes off as completely out of character and is even more hilarious for it. In addition, the complete laziness of the lyrics with a chorus that sings: “Christmastime has come / There'll be toys for everyone / 'Cause Christmastime has come for you” makes me think that this was written by a 2nd grader and just given to Billy Corgan as part of a community service.
The verses are equally appalling and filled to the brim with typical Christmas banalities about decorating trees, remembering childhood and playing with toys. And I mean real toys, not black Gothic dildos and sex swings as one would expect from alternative rock or Smashing Pumpkins. A friend of mine once pied me in the face with a paper plate that was filled with two cans worth of spray cheese, and yet this song is still cheesier than that incident:
It was 2008; I was fat back then. And I strangely look younger now, 11 years later.
Though I must make note that Billy Corgan has stated his interest in creating a full length Christmas record, and after hearing this song, I hope that it’s true. The world needs more laughter and joy.
10. The Cheeky Girls: “Have a Cheeky Christmas”
We are now entering the dark territories, and we’re only at number ten. If The Chipettes were human, Romanian and had eaten their third member, you would have The Cheeky Girls. In a reverse of NewSong, this is a UK-based duo that readers in the States have probably never heard of, unless the row created by transphobic comments from a judge on Popstars made its way across the pond.
This song starts off as what you would assume to be a typical children’s Christmas tune with sleigh bells and easily danceable rhythms. Then the sexy starts and you realize this is audible softcore pornography. The video completes the cycle and is proof that this is just featherweight porn wrapped in garland and topped with a Santa hat.
In the very first verse, The Cheeky Girls sing about how “we all go crazy” while dancing and drinking heavily at a Christmas party. Very soon, the guys join in to “get sexy in the snow” before they “take the reins and hold on tight” because, and I’m paraphrasing, this is going to be their lucky night.
I have to give The Cheeky Girls credit for showcasing how sexual assault can go both ways, especially since this was released (sorry, I’m so sorry) in 2003, fourteen years before Me Too.
Regardless, that is not going to stop these horny girls from having their way with you! After all, they have made it clear that it’s a hot Christmas night and you are going to enjoy it whether you want to or not. If you’ve been good, they will even be your “special dish!” I wonder what would happen if you were bad?
The bridge just makes this song as the duo sings about Santa “coming” and not in the traditional sense of “heading towards a destination,” combined with getting felt up by their possibly reluctant lovers. What a magical recording.
9. Dr. Elmo: “Grandma’s Spending Christmas With the Superstars”
Do you know what’s worse than an overplayed, shitty novelty song? An overplayed, shitty novelty song’s sequel. Combining the insufferable, nasally singing of the reindeer song to a melody that is nearly identical, and the fact that this song immediately follows the original on the record, this is less music and more CIA sanctioned torture.
The subject here is that the titular Grandma, who was brutally murdered by one of Santa’s reindeer just a few minutes ago, is now enjoying her first Christmas in Heaven, surrounded by dead celebrities who all want that sweet, sweet granny love. Elvis is even consoling/seducing her as she is missing her earthly husband but that doesn’t stop The King from giving her “the keys to a new Cadillac” and a whole lot of Elvis stamps.
Heaven seems very materialistic, but I guess “The Christmas Shoes” already proved that. I mean, Grandma is shopping in the mall with Marilyn Monroe and even gets a “full-length mink” from Liberace who is played-off in the most offensively stereotypical, homophobic way imaginable before the “send them back!” joke is reused from the first song. I would have thought that given Jesus Christ’s nomadic lifestyle and his attitude against worldly objects, that Heaven would be a little better than the commercialized Hell we created here, but alas, ‘tis but a dream now.
The song’s form is inseparable from the original, and it even ends with the choir reciting the chorus for the 1,673rd time but instead of “sing it Grandpa,” it’s “sing it Superstars.” If the computerized actions of “copy/paste” were turned into sound, this would be the result.
8. Günther & The Sunshine Girls: “The Christmas Song (Ding Dong)”
Now we’re getting hot! If The Cheeky Girls didn’t get your motor running, Günther and his amazing moustache will make you as moist as a Pillsbury Plus yellow cake with pudding in the mix. Günther became an online sensation just over a decade ago with his breakout hit “Ding Dong Song,” a song where he spends four minutes singing about his dick, which he affectionately refers to as his “tra-la-la.”
Günther is the inventor of duckface. He is the defiler of humanity (and at least seven other species). His is the second most famous moustache to ever come out of Europe. Listening to even a single Günther song requires that you head to your local fire station and request that you be hosed off after becoming inexplicably covered in jizz.
Where The Cheeky Girls (hardly) downplayed the sexual nature of their song, “The Christmas Song” openly embraces that is nothing but musical porn. Between Günther’s tantalizing moans and raspy utterances of “yeah” and “mmm,” the lyrical content is more or less a description of foreplay only interrupted by the girls singing about Santa, Christmas and never, ever having a dirty thing on their minds. Oh, you tease!
Like most of Günther’s music, the video is the main focus. Besides a few closeups of his glorious lip hair (both with and without a lap dog in a Santa hat) the majority of the time is spent showing the Sunshine Girls in nothing but fur coats or threadbare lingerie with only a boa for a top, close-ups of their barely hidden legs and chests, or the girls sharing candy from mouth to mouth when not kissing Günther.
Once more, we are reminded that “Santa is coming” and you can bet your sweet bippy that this song is not trying to be discrete like The Cheeky Girls. Then the porno little people dressed as elves show up as the grand finale approaches, and the girls ogle both them and Günther as they cuddle by the fire and exchange gifts that include a portrait of Günther, handcuffs and a heart-shaped pillow.
I have to admit, I fucking love this song. It is just so grotesquely bad that it comes out good by the end. If you are going to listen to any of the songs on this list in their entirety, it has to be this one.
7. Christmas in the Stars: “The Odds Against Christmas”
*Shudders* I just felt a horrible disturbance in The Force, as if a billion Jar Jars were unleashed unto the world without restriction. Oh no, that’s just The Star Wars Holiday Special welling up again. A quick trip to the porcelain transporter to relieve myself of all this Wookie hair in my stomach should fix that right up…
With all the terror inflicted upon humanity as a result of the Star Wars prequels and the aforementioned Holiday Special (I won’t mention the Disney-era movies simply because I’ve never seen any of them yet), I sometimes have to ask myself: Was Star Wars even a good franchise? If so, why are only the original three any good, and, if not: why do we think that the original three are any good? Philosophical questions aside, did you know that there is a Star Wars Christmas album?
Of course you do! Because this is a listicle of horrible Christmas music and I just spent two paragraphs talking about Star Wars! When discussing Christmas in the Stars, I have a lot of difficulty choosing just which song I consider to be the worst. “What Do You Get a Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)” deserves some honourable mention purely because it had its own single, and “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas” has an actual 18-year-old Bon Jovi on it, so I just took my download of the album (yes, I have this), put it on shuffle, and picked whichever song came up first.
“The Odds Against Christmas” was the winner of the raffle. That title alone makes me think of an American talking head over at FOX News, using those words as a lead up to yet another fantastical “war on Christmas” expose.
This song opens with an electric harpsichord providing an air of pretentiousness behind C-3PO as he recites a poem. The nature of this “song” is that Christmas may not have even happened, just like in 1647 when an act of Parliament banned the holiday throughout England. C-3PO continues to ramble off plenty of Earth history and references that come across as alien in a galaxy filled with literal aliens because Star Wars has no place breaking the fourth wall and talking about the Milky Way galaxy and this planet.
Finally, at 0:51 the song portion starts with the whiny soft rock vocals you’d expect from any other holiday trash with lines like “The odds against Christmas being Christmas / Are 365:1” and that Christmas could easily never have even occurred. Historically speaking, it never began in East Asia, Africa, or the Americas until centuries later, so maybe fix up your math and dust off those textbooks. Also, you forgot about leap years.
“You have a day / When love came to stay” says C-3PO, ignoring all other December holidays (and thousands of years of human history prior) that celebrate love and light in the Northern Hemisphere. So Christmas is the only day for love and light according to this self-absorbed robot. No Chanukah in your ideal worldview, huh? Well, at least we now know that Threepio is a Nazi.
6. Milton De Lugg and the Little Eskimos: “Hooray for Santa Claus”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but “S-A-N-T-A” does not spell “Santy” Claus, dipshit. Used as the main theme song for the 1964 holiday bomb, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, this tune is an assembly of all that makes a terrible song, never mind a terrible holiday song. A choir of untrained children shouting as loudly as possible into a single microphone? Check. An abhorrent trumpet and half-assed rock n’ roll beat? Check. Sleigh bells? Check.
Of course there are sleigh bells; it’s not a Christmas song unless there are sleigh bells.
Just one listen to this song’s opening will plant it so firmly in your brain that you will require a chainsaw to dislodge it. I know. I have found myself playing it on the piano when that accursed earworm finds its way through my skull (it’s in B-flat by the way). This song is so annoying that it makes “The Twelve Days of Christmas” seem reasonable. And there is never a reasonable time to sing that.
I don’t understand why so many producers out there feel that screaming children is a desirable sound. This is far from the only Christmas song I’ve heard that was performed entirely by an inexpert choir of kids. My family had mistakenly purchased an 8 CD album of holiday carols some twenty-five years ago and after hearing that every track was performed by the same group of unskilled children, promptly threw it away.
And those kids all got coal that year.
5. Matt Fox and AJ Rice: “Illegals in My Yard”
Oh. Oh dear. We have our first song that made the list because it’s racist. When constructing a good parody song, one should always ask: “What Would Weird Al Do?” This, my friends, is not what Weird Al would do.
As a parody of Jose Feliciano’s classic “Feliz Navidad,” the musical aspect seems to have been ripped right from the original record rather than performed anew, while the non-singing banter of a xenophobic uncle was glued on top of it in a free Pro Tools knock-off. This song premiered in 2009 on the extreme-right website Human Events, and was quickly picked up by anti-hate watchdogs for its despicable lyrics.
Even a decade later, in an era where the US President has openly classified all immigrants from predominantly non-white countries to be thieves, rapists and drug dealers, this song has an all new, toxic, slightly orange glow to it. It’s almost as though the President used only this song to learn about Mexico and Latin America.
Right off the bat, we are introduced to classic Klansman approved archetypes with lines such as “Illegals in my yard / Sixteen arrive in a stolen car.” In under a minute, Fox and Rice have stated that all Hispanic peoples are lazy and no good for anything besides what basically amounts to slavery and the amusement of white folks. And it gets worse. It gets a lot worse!
In addition to using fear-tactics for old white bigots, such as the idea of “illegals” spreading “anchor babies” throughout the US, it also carries a centuries-old line of hate that reads: “They’re going to spread bubonic plague this Christmas / They’re going to bring me lots of bed bugs this Christmas / They’re going to pass tuberculosis this Christmas / Those illegals in my yard.”
For the record, propaganda like that was used in medieval Europe to justify pogroms against Jewish communities during the Black Death, and again in Nazi Germany’s wretched posters and films where Jews were compared to disease infested rats, spreading ruin to “good Aryan citizens.”
All these idiots did was change the target of their hate, and rolled with it.
4. Tiny Tim: “Santa Claus (Has Got the AIDS This Year)”
Look kids, it’s Tiny Tim! You know him from doing that song in that SpongeBob episode, right? Let’s hear what he has to say for Christmas this year and... oh no.
For this tune, we have to do some digging. To do that, I am going to have to take you back to when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. Despite what shows like Stranger Things and other nostalgia fueled endeavours would have you think; that decade was quite atrocious. Nuclear war was a greater threat than it had been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The economy crashed because of reckless financial policies set forth by the Reagan Administration. The Falkland Islands were invaded. And a newly discovered disease was spreading around the world that was a death sentence to anyone who contracted it.
At the time, in the early ‘80s, that disease was known as GRIDS for the poorly-aged name of “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency,” which would eventually become known as AIDS when people stopped being so prejudiced and realized that anyone could contract the illness. This was a terrifying time.
I distinctly remember my mother, who taught kindergarten, having to be trained in how to handle a “blood-related emergency” for anything as minor as a nose bleed or paper cut. No one knew how AIDS and HIV developed, or who might have it, but at this time it was only known that it spread via blood, and all blood was at risk until deemed safe. Teachers had boxes upon boxes of latex gloves in the classroom to handle any child who had an open wound, no matter how small. That is how paranoid everyone was in the ‘80s and ‘90s about this disease.
So, Tiny Tim went ahead and wrote a heartless song about it, in 1985, when AIDS had officially become AIDS and was no longer GRIDS, and everyone knew how severe a condition it was.
Apparently, he assumed it was similar to a very nasty flu and that it was something that could be recovered from in that day and age with bed rest. He also thought it was similarly contagious and spread through simple contact, because he describes Santa as having to stay away from everyone until he gets better, even his reindeer, which raises even more questions.
In a desperate effort to save face after the release of this song, Tiny Tim claimed it was about the unfortunately named AYDS diet candies from the 1970s, but that makes no sense with just one listen, and we all know what Tim had done and was trying to do to correct his course.
3. Jan Terri: “Rock 'n Roll Santa”
At long last, we are nearing the top of our Christmas Tree of Misery. We’ve waded up to our shoulders in vile sludge, and now we are approaching our final destination beneath that grimy surface. If you have to ask “How, just how, can it get any worse?” then I’m about to show you.
Let me introduce you to Jan Terri, a Chicago native who entered the indie rock scene in the early 1990s with her homemade VHS music videos. On one hand, you must admire her raw and authentic approach to music. She doesn’t let anyone stop her from pursuing her dreams, even a fellow musician writing a scathing review of twelve Christmas songs that she has found her way into the top three of. But on the other hand, one cannot shy away from the low quality of the songs from a compositional or lyrical point of view.
With that, here is “Rock 'n Roll Santa,” just one of Jan’s many VHS recordings from the decade that gave us gross-out cartoons and Yikes school supplies. The song is fairly… okay at the beginning, then Jan enters and adds three extra syllables to the word “window,” and we quickly hear that she has enormous difficulty pronouncing the letter “R,” which is unfortunate as there are two distinctive “Rs” in the title.
This results in the aural unpleasantness that is the chorus. A chorus that comes out as “Wock and Woll Santaw” who is “weally, weally, wocking tonight.” I suppose this could have been a humdrum, mediocre Christmas song that might have gotten some local airplay if not for the fact that we are hearing Elmer Fudd with a mouth full of spaghetti leading the entire tune. Santa is also “jumping awound like a house on fiwe / Having some fun tonight.” I’ve never seen a burning house jump, though I have seen them collapse.
The next verses have similar uses of extended syllables on short words while retreading the pedestrian cheese of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Christmas song. There are toys, there are decorations, chestnuts are “awoasting.” The presentation is obvious and over-the-top, with visuals that reinforce everything the song states. It comes off a little stale, but sort of nice at the same time? I mean, one cannot help a speech impediment, and I know as I have an annoying little stutter, so if we overlook the easy jokes that could be made at Jan’s expense, what we are left with is more or less a typical Christmas melody.
A Christmas melody so typical that it is almost like a setup wizard, providing the bare bones for another songwriter to construct his or her own piece over. To me, this song comes off as so threadbare, it could easily be one of the Sunshine Girls in Günther’s song. I also have to point out the infringing video portion at the very end of the song that was clearly stolen from Rudolph, it’s just something that I find overly amusing, especially with today’s copyright obsessed algorithms and swift punishment for those who use a clip even in Fair Use.
How much simpler those crazy ‘90s were.
2. Jan Terri: “Excuse My Christmas”
Oh look, it’s Jan Terri again. Am I a bully, picking on this one woman and her zany videos and poor articulation of the English language? Let me explain a bit. I had first heard “Rock 'n Roll Santa” in 2011 as I was writing my very first incarnation of what would become “Festive Filth” for my now long-gone Krowness Chronicles website. Shortly after that article was published, Jan left the abyss of obscurity with this new song just in time for the holiday season and announced her return to the music scene along with a new record, Wild One. I discovered this too late, and added this song to 2012’s “Festive Filth” alongside plenty of generic country and western songs that, to be fair, never deserved to be on that list when this list showcases so much worse.
Compared to “Rock 'n Roll Santa,” this song just doesn’t cut it. Jan just seems so lacking in the energy and enthusiasm that made the latter tune so great by comparison. Yes, this is a downtempo song, but her delivery of the lines is so forced. It’s almost as though she is not enjoying herself in the making of “Excuse My Christmas.” She was very clearly having fun in “Santa,” while here, her performance comes off as an imposition.
The music is a drudgery of Casio piano chords and sleigh bells that just do not sit with Jan’s singing. Jan’s voice also seems unprocessed with little to no space, so it sounds and feels as though she’s right in your face without any reverb or EQ that would allow the music and vocals to blend a little better. And if you thought adding three syllables to “window” was a train wreck of a lyric, the words here are all crammed into as many beats as possible. Come the chorus, Jan is completely out of tempo with the rest of the song and sounds as though she is desperately trying to find the beat while still being able to breathe.
Jan is also highly redundant here with the rushed delivery of lyrics like: “In Spanish they say: Feliz Navidad / Feliz Navidad this Christmas.” She is literally saying “Merry Christmas this Christmas” akin to how Manos: the Hands of Fate is just a dumb way of saying Hands: the Hands of Fate.
And while technology has advanced immensely in twenty years, this video seems a lot cheaper with its green screen use and poorly drawn Adobe Flash figures dancing with the most basic of animations. There was just so much more effort in “Rock 'n Roll Santa” even with the limited video tools of the day! The difficult, low-tech approach of the past required passion to make something even remotely usable, and this comes off as depressingly dull at worst, and a barely involved side-project at best.
Jan made up for this a few years later with her 2015 rendition of Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” which delightfully blends modern video editing with her old fervent approach to creation. And if you think you see a pattern here, and you think you have already guessed my Number One pick for Worst Christmas Songs of All Time, then you are dead wrong.
1. Nancy LaPlante: “Debbie’s Last Christmas”
Holy. Shit. We are in the deep stuff now! Welcome to the little devil sitting atop the Tree of Misery. We’ve made it, but do we really want to be here? I know I don’t want to be here. From our new location fathoms beneath the surface of demonic cow manure, we are so far from any hope. We can feel the incomprehensible permanence of death, and the lonesome void of an uncaring cosmos. Listen, listen well, and you will hear the dark chants of the Old Ones. They are singing to us the absolute worst Christmas song ever committed to tape.
This song. Oh, this song. This song, my friends, is evil. It was created after Satan himself took a volcanic shit that was transformed into paper at the hands of Adolf Hitler with the lyrics written with the blood of a billion murdered cherubs by H. H. Holmes. Unless you are morbidly curious, I highly recommend that you skip listening to this one. I am only sharing the recording to prove that this alleged piece of “music” exists.
With the arrival of “Debbie’s Last Christmas,” we have established the end all be all of worst music, period. This is not only the worst Christmas song, but the worst song ever. In a way, we have come full circle. This list started with a song about a little boy trying to make his dying mother’s Christmas a beautiful one. This is a song about two parents trying to make their own child’s Christmas a beautiful one as she suffers from an unspecified terminal illness.
Opening with a rip-off of “One Tin Soldier” on what I think is a sour Mellotron, the instrumental introduction takes no prisoners and lets us know that this is going to be horrible for every single moment that passes by during this 2-minute and 47-second abomination. Then, Nancy LaPlante’s nauseatingly congested, nasally vocals enter and introduce us to the story.
Annie and Johnny are in a hospital, awaiting word from Dr. James on their daughter Debbie’s condition. He enters with a grim look upon his face and bluntly tells these young parents that their only child is just days away from dying. These parents have not seen their daughter smile since her diagnosis, and knowing that she will not survive to see December, they decide to celebrate Christmas early in one last chance to change that.
Debbie is brought home with her favourite toys; a teddy bear and a generic mouse (to avoid a Disney lawsuit) and she looks forward to celebrating Christmas while her parents know that there is no possibility of her living that long. Debbie is bedridden, so a tree is put up in her room and Johnny will play the part of Santa Claus to surprise is ailing child. As Debbie’s health wanes, Santa shows up as planned and she is elated upon seeing him and receives a cute little doll.
As Santa sits with Debbie on this cold November night, Annie receives a phone call. It’s Johnny on the other end, saying he is stuck in a snow storm and will not be able to make it home to play the part of Santa Claus. Just as Annie realizes that the real Santa is in the room with their daughter, Debbie dies while smiling.
There is no Christmas miracle. There is no happy ending. Debbie’s father didn’t even get the chance to be with her because of the weather. Everything is horrible, and you and I both feel horrible after having read this.
In a world where Santa is a real being, capable of magic and for whom there is nothing impossible, Debbie is still allowed to die. The moral of the song, if you want to play games and call it such, is that “at least they saw Debbie smile!” But even that’s a lie, because Johnny was still stuck in the snow, far away. There is nothing good for anyone.
For the longest time, I was convinced that this song did not exist and that it was, in fact, an hallucination on my part or on the collective consciousness of only a select few, like how only kids and some adults can see Pennywise.
After years of research, I was able to find out that this was a promo-only recording made around 1968 in Rockland, Maine and was produced by a man named Eddie A. Boucher. It was only released regionally in that US state on Boucher’s own label, EAB. Sometime later, a deal was made with Laurie Records for a nationwide release, and the record was cut with this song on both sides, one being with vocals and the other an instrumental. As you can guess, this was not a popular tune with anyone.
This is a song that had the potential to make us believe in Christmas magic, to help us feel better about the tormented mortal world we occupy, but it chose to hurt us. This song hurt me. If you ignored my advice and listened to it, then it hurt you too. There is no place in this world for “Debbie’s Last Christmas.” Like atomic weapons and mustard gas, this is a piece of history that we all want to forget, but ultimately have to live with so that we can ensure a better future for the next generation.
Now I’m sad. So here’s a bunch of people chasing a pair of llamas set to Yakety Sax:
And now, "Fighting the Frizzies."