Whether you want it to happen or not, this time of the year, our ears get clogged with plenty of Christmas classics — and, well, not-so-classics. You know what I mean, neo-Christmas carols pushed out by Top 40 stars, or even those retro pop princess/boy band Christmas songs from the '90s that sneakily make their way onto your holiday Spotify playlists. They're yuletide oddities, even if they're too ingrained into our brain to notice. But I'm here to uncover the truth: There are a lot of modern Christmas songs that have incredibly absurd premises.
Sure, sometimes it's something small, like a throwaway line about getting a diamond belly ring. Occasionally, it's strange enough to hear a certain artist took a Christmas song in an out-of-character direction... or an inappropriately in-character direction. And sometimes, the song is just a hot old mess, with the singer in question either low-key committing a felony or having way too many demands for a fictional character with a big beard. New Christmas songs can really take a sleigh ride into some strange snowbanks, in short.
But in case you need some actual, tangible convincing, here's a brief selection of the silliest modern Christmas originals, ranked from casually side-eye worthy to absolutely absurd.
21. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey
OK, this is the Christmas pop song standard, so it seems pretty sacrilegious to slander it. However, this song fails to sell me on two things: the idea that all anyone could want for Christmas is the aforementioned "you" (creepy), and the idea that Mariah Carey — a woman who is constantly dripping with diamonds and furs like she raided Liz Taylor's tomb — would settle for a singular man this year. Plz.
20. “My Only Wish (This Year)” - Britney Spears
Knocked down a rung simply because it's just a redux of Carey's concept: all Britney wishes for Christmas is for you. Could we not do better for her? Also, it gets a knock down because Brit-Brit is making this special request (sealed with a kiss). You are a grown woman.
19. “Everyday Is A Holiday” - Katy Perry
It's hardly a Christmas classic (and very literally background music for an H&M commercial), but it falls on this list for a very specific reason. If everyday is a holiday with Katy Perry's new beau, doesn't that kind of cheapen the holidays? Did she not see that Fairly OddParents episode where Timmy Turner wished every day would be Christmas? Everything stagnates, kids.
18. “I Don’t Feel Like Christmas Without You” – Rihanna
Oh, yeah, Rihanna did a Christmas song, and while the subject matter is pretty self-explanatory (this season's pretty glum without her dude), the inherent weirdness is about the fact that Rihanna did a Christmas song.
17. “Christmas Time” – Backstreet Boys
Sort of a disjointed narrative from BSB, with the main concept being the boys are excited to spend Christmas at home with their significant others. But who are they actually ... singing to? There's talk about how "Friends are reunited / One big family," so is this really just about wanting to hang with your racist uncle and weird cousins from Maine with "the smell of chestnuts in the air"? IDK, I feel like I need more specifics.
16. “8 Days Of Christmas” - Destiny’s Child
Bey and the girls just list off all the Chloé shades and a CLK Mercedes they're getting from their BFs. At least some people are upfront about holiday greed. I still kind of don't get why "8" was the number selected here (subtle Hanukkah shade?), and it gets weird, because the song quickly devolves into lots of moaning about how their boyfriends are the best ever. Suffice to say, if this band was your high school classmate on Facebook and not one-third Beyoncé, you'd have no patience for this bragging.
15. “Last Christmas” – Wham!
An '80s standard, and yet I find fault with the whole,"and the very next day, you gave it away" thing. What exactly went down? Did one of the Wham! boys try to get official with someone on Christmas and once Boxing Day rolled around they were all, "Nah fam, I can't date someone who's just always gonna have better feathered hair than me"?
14. “This Year” – Christina Aguilera
So maybe the main love interest in Xtina's "This Year" has been with our girl for a while, long before the holiday season. If not, though, this is song has a hell of a lot of entitlement in it. It's only Dec. 25 and she's talking about how this dude will be her "flower child in the month of May." Slow down, lady, slow down.
13. “Mistletoe” – Justin Bieber
What's creepy about this is Biebs' single-minded obsession with parking underneath the mistletoe to kiss some chick. He's forgoing chilling with his parents, playing in the snow, writing letters to Santa... wait, is this kid old enough to seriously be macking it with anyone? -5 points for making me wonder that, -1000 points for the use of the word "shawty" in a Christmas song.
12. “Christmas Must Be Something More” – Taylor Swift
Dude, there are pretty strong religious overtones of the "Jesus is my homeboy" variety here. And that's whatever. I've watched A Charlie Brown Christmas enough to know what the holiday is about. It's just a strange delivery from baby Taylor Swift.
11. “Santa Tell Me” – Ariana Grande
In theory, Ari isn't doing anything vastly different than Mariah, Britney, or even Eartha Kitt several decades early. In practice, though, it sounds like she really really believes in Santa, and desperately wants him to guide her through her guy problems. It must be really awkward trying to go Christmas shopping with this chick and having her launch into a saga about her ex while parked on some dude's big red lap.
10. “Peppermint Winter” – Owl City
"I twirl through the driveway with angelic grace 'til I slip on the sidewalk and fall on my face." In short, this is an Owl City song about the deliciousness of Christmastime-era winter (which is enjoyable until Jan. 2 rolls around and you never want to see snow ever again).
It's also pretty much just a cold-weather variant of "Fireflies." Everything by Owl City is basically just "Fireflies."
9. “Wrapped In Red” - Kelly Clarkson
Legit, this track is about how Kelly Clarkson decides to wear something red to attract a man. That's it. On one hand, I can't condemn that life choice. I'm full Jessica Rabbit year-round, it's an easy life hack. On the other hand, red? For Christmas? Ground-breaking.
8. “Under My Tree” – NSYNC
OK, this song is just a bunch of poorly written metaphors about yuletide boinking, right? That's why it was about to fly under our radar as 7-year-olds, right? "Nothing I would rather do / Than hold you all through the night under my tree"? I'm still not 110 percent certain what that means, but it sounds dirty.
7. “Christmas Tree” – Lady Gaga
Meanwhile, long before Lady Gaga was doing holiday standards with Tony Bennett, she was comparing her vagina to a Christmas tree. There's a lot of not-subtle Christmas cover-ups for sex stuff in here, but uh ... props for going there, Fame era Gaga.
6. “Sleigh Ride” - TLC
Maybe this shouldn't be ranked as so strange, because it's pretty much taking some early '90s R&B creative licensing on the classic Xmas song of the same name. Then again, there's a whole series of lyrics where the gang is requesting gifts from one another. Like, you can't really go caroling with lines like, "I want T-Boz to get me some headphone sets."
5. “Won’t Be Home” – Blink-182
This song delivers some pop-punk real talk to your inner 7th grader who just doesn't wanna deal with this holly jolly nonsense. But honestly, how are the Blink-182 boys always getting into catastrophic, not relatable trouble? Like backtrack on this song, because it's about how a guy goes on a violent rampage and lands in jail. That only happens to me like ... every six Christmases.
4. “Christmas Conga” – Cyndi Lauper
Listen, I'll karaoke to "Time After Time" time and time again, but there doesn't need to be such thing as a Christmas conga. There just doesn't. Next.
3. "Everybody Knows The Claus” – Hanson
I shouldn't snark, because Hanson's Snowed In was the #1 Christmas album of 1997, no joke. Still, how can we not poke fun of a Hanson holiday song that tries very hard to make Santa sound hip and cool to the youths?
2. “Funky, Funky Xmas” - New Kids On The Block
Overall, there are a lot of cringe-worthy boy band Christmas song out there, but this one takes the gingerbread house with lines like, "Kick the ballistics Santa Claus." What?! You leave Santa Claus out of your funky Christmas, Jordan.
1. “Ludacrismas” – Ludacris
Man, "Ludacrismas" definitely lives up to its name. First of all, it has a brief interlude that name-drops the hit Vince Vaughn film, Fred Claus. Second of all, Ludacris' Christmas list tops any of these amateurs, with two gold front teeth and $10 million as his modest self requests. And through it all, he's decorating his Christmas tree with toilet paper. Or just like, TP-ing his neighbor's house (that's Halloween Eve, bb).
Ludacris' song is crazy, as crazy as this whole Christmas season. Bless.