If you celebrate Christmas, a fun way to get in the spirit of the season is to turn on some Christmas tunes. If you pay close attention to some of the classics, however, you might find some incongruities between the messages of the songs and the traditional Christmas messages of love, giving, goodness, and joy.
1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
This song is told through the eyes of a child with the intent of being a cute remark on the innocence of children. However, along with the portrait of a believing child misinterpreting something they were not supposed to see, it also can seem to condone infidelity and can be very confusing to young listeners. Is it okay for Mommy to act adulterously if Santa Claus is the other partner (an elderly, obese man that is an acquaintance at best)? Would Daddy be okay with it or would it be a problem? Why is Mommy hiding it from Daddy? This song seems lighthearted and jovial, but it seems like a good idea to keep it off the playlist for a few years if you have young children.
2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
For the most part, this song is a fun celebration of the arrival of Santa Claus and the effort of children to have their names placed on the “nice” list. However, it seems to take things too far with the phrase “He sees you when you’re sleeping; He knows when you’re awake”. In talking to others, I’ve found I am not the only one to race while dressing as a youngster so Santa Claus didn’t accidentally see me naked while checking on me. Painting Santa Claus as a peeping Tom smacks of pedophilia and gives an awkward ring to an otherwise fun song.
3. Silver and Gold
This classic Christmas song originally comes from the stop-motion classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. Although the film itself promotes accepting others, sharing, and helping others, this particular song seems to just promote greed and the desire for costly baubles in the same vein as “Santa Baby”. While the latter is a bold and humorous song painting a picture of a stereotypical spoiled rich girl, “Silver and Gold” is not presented as being satirical in the least, but rather seems to be a message in direct opposition to the traditional generous spirit of Christmas.
4. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
This is another song that seems fun and humorous at first glance. As a child I loved to sing the first verse. Grandma was out at the wrong time and had a chance encounter with Santa and his reindeer. However, upon closer examination, the subsequent verses reveal that Grandma passed away as they discuss the aftermath of her death. While running into a reindeer seems fun and jovial, the humor of Santa as a hit-and-run killer makes this another song best saved until after childhood.
5. Mary, Did you Know?
Although this song has a nice melody and celebrates many of the ways Jesus Christ is the Messiah in Christian theology, the entire premise is not in keeping with the Biblical account of the events leading up to Jesus Christ’s birth. It is not necessarily sacrilegious and does not promote immorality or even having a bad attitude, it just gets things wrong. The song paints a picture of Mary as an ignorant participant in the birth of the Son of God and completely ignores the event of The Annunciation in which Mary was informed of her future role and even agreed to it.
Runners Up: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “We Need a Little Christmas”
These songs get an honorable mention for making demands. In the first, Christmas carolers descend upon a house and demand figgy pudding, saying they won’t leave until it is given. In the latter, the singer demands Christmas decorations be put up “right this very minute” although is it still much nearer to Thanksgiving than Christmas.