Holiday jingles can jangle the brain – Christmas songs review

Holiday cheer would certainly not be the same with the fine throng of holiday music that comes with it.

At least grandma didn't get run over by a motorcycle/Ryn Gargulinski

At least grandma didn't get run over by a motorcycle/Ryn Gargulinski

After all, if Christmas songs were not billowing through every grocery store, eatery and shopping outlet, we may actually forget we were in the midst of a holiday season.

I actually have not heard as much music as I used to during previous seasons. Perhaps it has something to do with the recession. Or it may have something to do with the fact that I barely leave the house.

I recall whole neighborhoods in New York City where holiday tunes were set up to blast through tinny speakers down an entire block.

That said, I have enough ammo to classify some of these songs into their proper categories:

Most annoying song:

Jingle Bells – By far the song most likely to drive you to drink, drugs or pulling a gun on yourself or someone else, this pretty little ditty can run through your head for weeks following the holiday season. It is annoying in all its variations, whether in English, French or with alternate lyrics about Batman smelling and Robin laying an egg.

Stupidest song:

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer – It may have been funny the first time we heard it, or even remain funny to die-hard fans of Weird Al Yankovic. But hearing it again and again year after year not only makes us realize how dumb the song really is, but it also could be harmful to children’s fragile psyches.

Song most likely to run through your head until mid-February:

Feliz Navidad – It doesn’t matter if you neither know nor understand the lyrics, just the mention of the title will have this song bursting into your brain and repeating itself way past Groundhog Day.

Song that would make the best background music for a horror movie:

Holly Jolly Christmas – Just as the upbeat, happy tune of “Stuck in the Middle with You” plays during a scene where a guy gets his ear cut off in the movie “Reservoir Dogs,” this song would make a nice backdrop to a bloody massacre or dismemberment scene.

Crappiest song:

Twelve Days of Christmas – First off, no one wants half of the crappy gifts that are outlined in the song. What on earth are we supposed to do with 10 lords a leaping? And where would we store them after the holidays?

Secondly, the dang thing goes on and on in its unending litany. The song also has a number of versions with alternate lyrics, one fairly-known version in which the first day of Christmas gets the recipient a beer. There is also a lesser-known version where on the first day of Christmas, a woman’s poodles give to her “a backyard full of poopy.”

Sappiest Song:

Blue Christmas – Not only does this song make us weep at the thought of two loves stuck far apart for the holidays, but we weep because we know how truly awful Elvis had become in the years following this song.

Coolest song:

Just so you don’t think I’m a scrooge, I’m actually listing two songs as very cool Christmas music.

Little Drummer Boy – The deep, dark rhythm and the sweet story of a frail kid who gets a high honor is enough to melt anyone’s heart.

Do You Hear What I Hear – This one has the fun repeating vocals, not unlike a rousing round of Row Your Boat. I also like the fact that a lamb gets to talk.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who never sings in the shower but often screeches in public. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at E-mail

logoWhat do you think?

Are there holiday carols you absolutely abhor or adore? Why?

Do you have a Motown or other speciality Christmas CD?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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33 Responses to Holiday jingles can jangle the brain – Christmas songs review

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski. Thanks for the topic…now I’ve got every crappy, repetitious, Christmas tune runnin’ in an endless loop through my already cluttered brain. It’s almost as bad as those goofy, repetitious things on DVD’s that loop endlessly before you push the play button. 🙂

    • radmax says:

      Ps- I’ve got a Barry Manilow Christmas CD I’ll let you have dirt cheap, I currently use it as a coaster.

    • Rynski says:

      hahhaha! mornin radmax – glad i could help spread christmas cheer!
      i’m currently stuck with grandma/reindeer in my brain. if you want a quick fix to get an annoying song out of your head, just think of an even MORE annoying song to replace it.
      since you mentioned barry manilow, try COPACABANA – hahahha.
      and yes, those horrible loop-de-loop things on the DVD before the movie can also cause a severe need to bang your head against concrete.
      happy holidays!

  2. leftfield says:

    Jingle Bell Rock – once it gets in you head, it’s there for the day.

    • Jennatoolz says:

      Hahaha, my grandma often sings that with the aid of her karaoke machine. She reallyyyy gets into it, and it’s quite hilarious! 😛

    • Rynski says:

      agreed – jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock – jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring.  jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock – jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring.  jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock – jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring.  jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock – jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring.  jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock – jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring. … it’s even MORE fun when those are the only lyrics you know!

      jenna – your family sounds like such fun. we got your aunt imitating ostrich and grandma on karaoke!

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Oh yes, my mother’s side of the family is quite entertaining when we all get together. Mind you, there is usually no alcohol involved…in case you were wondering, hahaha. 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        that’s even better – i love when people are fun and exciting on their own! …that may also mean there is less chance of someone spilling wine on the fine white holiday tablecloth…hahah

  3. Jennatoolz says:

    Hey Ryn!!AHH I don’t mind hearing a Christmas song here and there, but when they’re played constantly in my ear, I go absolutely nuts! My most HATED song goes to Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime”. That one makes my ears bleed!!!

    My favorite has to be Little Drummer Boy… “ba rum pa pa pummm!!” 😀

    • Rynski says:

      a fellow drummer boy fan!
      i love the whole tune, the rhythm, the story…
      but also yes, any song ad nauseum can really make you nauseous!
      that mccartney tune kinda sounds like alvin and the chipmunks should be singing it.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        hahahah! I’m sure they do (or will eventually)! It’s sooooo repetitive! I used to work in a store that would play it 234,912 times a day, and it just adds to the repetitiveness! I’m so glad I work in my own office space and get to choose my own tunes…lol.

      • Rynski says:

        man – that’s even worse than the tinny music streaming down nyc streets – at least on the street you can escape it by standing near a subway station rumble (haha).
        in the store, there is no escape!

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Yes, 8 hours of Paul McCartney and N’Sync Christmas tunes makes out for a horrible day at work, lol.

      • Rynski says:

        makes SMALL WORLD seem like a symphony!

  4. leapingleon says:

    My vote for coolest Christmas song:
    “Merry Christmas Baby”
    Lightning Hopkins

  5. Andrew Ulanowski says:

    Good morning Ryn, Jenna, Radmax! (Where’s Mouse? hmm)
    Don’t forget the classic “Winter Wonderland” by Felix Bernard, later parodied as “Walkin’ Round in Women’s Underwear”
    “Her name was Lola, She was a showgirl, She had loogies in her hair and her breasts were everywhere!” Take THAT Barry!
    Radmax, nice use of “Poobah” in a sentence, though my favorite has to be Kathy Bates in ‘Dolores Claiborne’ :
    “Now, you listen to me, Mr. Grand High Poobah of Upper Buttcrack, I’m just about half-past give a sh** with your fun and games.”
    For some odd reason, my brain functions in such a way that I often find myself humming Christmas tunes around June or July.
    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow (somewhere else).

    • Rynski says:

      hiya andrew,
      i must thank YOU for getting dang winter wonderland thru my head – although i am VERY grateful taht i have never heard the parody. have people no shame? first batman smelling and now this?
      never seen dolores claiborne either, but you’ve def. got me interested – hahaha.
      sorry to hear you are often haunted with christmas tunes in the middle of summer, but i will ALWAYS heartily agree with ‘let it snow somewhere else.’
      happy weekend!

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Andrew!! Hello! I, too, am wondering where our pal azmouse is hiding!? She’s probably out helping the elderly shop, painting a neighbors house, or doing something else awesome like that! 😀

         ‘Dolores Claiborne’ was a strange, yet fascinating movie, I thought. I love Kathy Bates…she is equally as crazy in the movie ‘Misery’ hahaha. She plays the role of a psychopath quite well! I think I’m going to watch those 2 movies over the course of the weekend. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

        Winter Wonderland…another of my grandma’s favorite karaoke hits! Hahah!

      • azmouse says:

        I’m so selfish!!! Here I’ve been trying to figure out my new and improved cell phone Merry Christmas to me!) and I should’ve been helping old ladies across the street!!! Argh!
        I will do good deeds tomorrow, and I also have to get started on my gingerbread house this weekend! 🙂

    • radmax says:

      Andrew! Hey, Dolores Claiborne was surprisingly good, compared to the crappy treatment King’s works usually end up with in Hollywood. Nice twisted little tale…somewhat surprising Rynski hasn’t seen it. 😉

    • azmouse says:

      Hi Andrew!
      Thanks for noticing I was MIA. Got a new sell phone with all the bells and whistles, and it’s taking me all dang day to figure the thing out! LOL
      I’m so tech-unsavvy.

  6. azmouse says:

    I have a Christmas CD of all these different punk bands playing different Christmas songs. No Christmas song is bad when done in punk-form! (it’s actually a quadruple CD set)
    I’ve played it for years. When my kids would here the regular version of Oh Christmas Tree (for example) they would wonder what the heck happened to it. They thought the originals were remakes…lol

  7. Carolyn Classen says:

    I was in a drug store yesterday and some Xmas song came on the overhead radio.  I started singing along out loud and then some other customers joined in.  We all smiled at each other in that particular aisle, as it was like a music video.  It was surprising that in this poll 40% of the voters said they would “beat their head on concrete.”  Get into the holiday spirit and enjoy the music.

  8. Carolyn Classen says:

    Glad to see now in this poll that 38% of the voters are like me, “singing along with glee”, reducing the concrete head bangers to 37%.  Come on, get into the festive mood. What’s wrong with a little sing-a-long?

  9. Carolyn Classen says:

    The new voters in this poll must be now singers getting into the holiday mood, as we are now ahead at 41% to the head bangers at 32%.

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