Are You Tired of Those Holiday Tunes Yet? – Rich Paschall

There are plenty of “Novelty” Christmas songs. As a matter of fact there are far too many. Some are amusing to the point of being endearing. Some are a bit weird or odd sounding. Some are just obnoxious and need to be removed from the Christmas playlist, permanently.

“Can you skip a few of those songs?”

Endearing novelty songs might include “The Chipmunks Song.” It certainly was a favorite when I was a kid. Alvin was my favorite chipmunk and it seemed perfectly OK to play the 45 (look it up) over and over, much to my mother’s chagrin. In later years, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” struck me as quite amusing. I guess it is funnier after a few spiked eggnog. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” may have many good versions, but the original recording from 1952 should remain locked in the vault. Also, radio stations will bring out the irritating “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas,” and the over-played “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” recorded originally by Spike Jones and His City Slickers, a novelty act if there ever was one.

The all-time most obnoxious novelty song, that ought to be put away forever by the way, is definitely “Dominick the Donkey.” What record executive thought that an Italian Christmas Donkey was amusing? To top it off the 1960 recording by Lou Monte sets new standards in displeasure. The song could have died a well deserved death, but the geniuses at Amazon decided in 2011 it should be rereleased, starting another round of annoyance:

Hey! Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
It’s Dominick the donkey.
Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey.

Some songs are just long and repetitious. Chief among these is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” After a while the litany of gifts is just too much. All versions of this song should be put away except, perhaps, the version by The Muppets. At least the popular Sesame Street characters find a joke and can carry it out to its funniest. That is much better than the many serious versions of the song that hit the airwaves at this time of year. The Muppets might even teach young ones the exceptional skill of counting backwards from twelve, something that is sure to be useful in their chosen professions later in life.

A song that is a classic but has clearly received too many variations is White Christmas. “The Drifters” version has been heard once too often on my radio. The 1954 recording was big for the Rhythm and Blues group, and it was the first of their songs to crack the Billboard 100 singles chart on mainstream radio stations. It would have thankfully been retired had it not been resurrected by holiday movies, including Home Alone starring Macaulay Culkin in his greatest role. I can pass this one up:

Ooh, doop doop, doop doo doop
Ooh, doop doop, doop doo doop

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where those treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow, the snow

Then I, I, I am dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days, may your days, may your days be merry and bright
(Read more here: The Drifters – White Christmas Lyrics | MetroLyrics )

Actually, every version besides the Bing Crosby version should be put away. Admit it, whenever you hear “White Christmas” you think of Bing Crosby. Every version is automatically compared to the iconic version that has been washed into our brain cells from infancy, unless you were born before 1941. You can not help it, the sounds of Bing Crosby whistling his way to another season of white is all you can hear. Everyone will come up short by comparison, no matter how good they are.

Recently, we gave a bit of the history of the song here. The song was a hit from the time Crosby introduced it on his 1941 Christmas radio broadcast.  The movie Holiday Inn helped to make it even more popular. When Crosby entertained the troops during World War II, it became a bit of nostalgic relief when soldiers where thinking of their lives back home. Bing thought the song might be making the boys sad, and he felt he did not go to entertain the troops only to bring them down. He tried eliminating the song from his show, only to have the soldiers call out for it anyway.

The original master recording of “White Christmas” wore out from all the “pressings,” the process by which vinyl recordings were made. So in 1947 Crosby recorded the song again with the original orchestra, trying to duplicate the original sound. It is the 1947 version you hear today. The recordings of the songs for the movie “White Christmas” would likely have been remastered into a Christmas Album had they not been destroyed by fire. Crosby performed the iconic Christmas song in 3 movies and countless radio and television broadcasts. There just is not another version.

Bing sang this song right to the end, after actually. The above is from his 1977 Christmas television show. It was his last Christmas special. He died after it was taped and before it was aired.

Author: Rich Paschall

When the Windows Live Spaces were closed and our sites were sent to Word Press, I thought I might actually write a regular column. A couple years ago I finally decided to try out a weekly entry for a year and published something every Sunday as well as a few other dates. I reached that goal and continued on. I hope you find them interesting. They are my Sunday Night Blog. Thanks to the support of Marilyn Armstrong you may find me from time to time on her blog space, SERENDIPITY. Rich Paschall Education: DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University Employment: Air freight professional


  1. There haven’t been a lot of good new Christmas songs either, at least not that I’ve heard. I was in a store recently where they were endlessly playing a tune, not sure if it was an actual song or a store promotion but it was something along the lines of “Santa’s coming. ” repeated ad infinitum. On the the same day I heard two young girls playing carols in the street on a trumpet and a what I think was a cornet. It was lovely and I told them so. At our local Christmas Pageant the entertainment was a group of locals singing proper Christmas Carols and for the kids “Jingle Bells”.And yes, when I think of “White Christmas ” I think of Bing Crosby.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You left out “Little Drummer Boy”. It was invented in the late 50s, I believe, and touted as a ‘true Christmas Carol” and played to death ever since. Usually with the hands-folded intonation, by every singer who can carry a tune and some who shouldn’t. There is one version I do like, that that’s Bob Seger’s, belted out with as much energy as he can muster. it’s funny, it’s loud, and it’s real.
    And the only version of “Joy to the World”, for me, is Train. He really rips his way through it.

    One song you do NOT hear in stores is Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” and I would love to hear that one over the speakers. Quite festive, and truly funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard Earth Kitt on my radio yesterday and was pleased not to hear the Madonna version again. I like the Madonna version, but it is played too much.
      I do not care for these made up stories like Little Drummer Boy, no matter how well done they may be. I have nothing against Joy to the World. When I was in a band and we did a Christmas program., we listed Joy to the World as the final song. We played the 3 Dog Night song, much to the surprise of everyone. That was fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Santa Baby is one of the few good modern carols. The others, as far as I am concerned, are just trying to make modern things that used to be sung in Latin. Of course, that’s because I learned them in school. In Latin. I can still sing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in Latin … and I’m JEWISH.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve worked in retail for almost 20 years, so I have a pretty good loathing for just about ALL Christmas songs. Ironically, one of the few I actually do love is the one you seemed to hate the most…. Dominick the Donkey. It used to get played at work a lot in December, and for whatever reason, it grew on me. Heehaw! Heehaw! Heehaw! Heehaw! Heehaw! Heehaw…..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Some Christmas songs I once hated, I now love. Top of that list is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” You have to be older to get that song. The rest? I like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” That’s about it for me. They’re all old and over done, IMO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most are overdone by Christmas. I love the original Judy Garland version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” You are right. It makes more sense as you get older and not as depressing as it may first appear.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope. As we get older, too, our Christmases might become actually “little”. Mine are very small, but I’m good with that. I learned to let the whole thing just unfold in its own way every year. 🎄

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel I should point out that the Boston Pops version of the 12-Days of Christmas is wonderful and even better to see. They do all kinds of funny stuff. It was always the high point of the Christmas concerts. They were wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is one of the best Christmas specials. If you can catch the St. Olaf Christmas Special, the conductor is Garry’s youngest brother and the music is truly the exactly opposite of what we’ve been discussing. Anton is a brilliant conductor.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My favourite Christmas song at the moment is O Saviour, Hear Me by Christoph W. Von Gluck. I’m not even sure it is a Christmas song. (probably more for Easter)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I got to talking about this with somebody at Starbucks a few days ago. It’s like the South Park episode where Cartman becomes a songwriter for a Christian rock group. He changed “girl” in pop songs to “God” and they scored some hits. I bet a bunch of unpublished songs changed the word love” to “Christmas” and it counts… and I think they had that moment on “Love, Actually,” now that I think about it.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. If I have to hear “Feliz Navidad” (seriously, why only one version–I’m sure a dozen other artists have tackled it, not just the nasal guy), or three different versions of Santa Baby and that “Last Christmas” song in a two hour stretch, I’m annoyed all to hell and break out the headphones and my own tunes.

    I’ve become a Grinch, and only really listen to a few albums now.
    1. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” soundtrack, complete with Karloff reading the story. Makes me smile every time.
    2. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” soundtrack–all except for the “break-up” song, but I can listen to Stadtler and Waldorf singing “Marley and Marley” over and over again. Its just fun. And Present’s Christmas morning song is so happy and pleasant.
    3. John Denver and The Muppets album–originally given to me as a joke, but it grew on me.
    4. A Charlie Brown Christmas–because I love jazz and Vince Guaraldi rules, dammit
    5. Rick Steves’ “European Christmas” special soundtrack–some tracks are give and take, but the Norwegian Girls’ Choir’s version of “Carol of the Bells” is one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard in my life. I stop and listen because it’s amazing.
    6. Ella Fitzgerald’s Swinging Christmas–because it’s Queen Ella-Freaking-Fitzgerald, and her versions make Christmas materialism and forced holiday cheer go down a little easier.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am not sure I have heard another version of Feliz Navidad, although I am certain there must be some. It is annoying to keep hearing Santa Baby, and the Taylor Swift version is particularly bad. Too many have now recorded Last Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

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