Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It’s that time of year again

You know, the time when radio stations everywhere start playing holiday music. Including the most horrifying Yuletide song ever recorded.

No, not Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey.

I'm talking about "The Christmas Shoes."

I can just picture the jaded songwriters, holed up in a smoky conference room, wracking their brains to compose the most calculatingly-hearttugging, staggeringly vile song ever imagined. (It is so vile that they even made a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie about it.)

"Yeah, well, it's gotta be Christmas time," one songwriter murmurs.

"If it's Christmas, there's got to be a kid," the second songwriter says.

"Shit, dude, if it's Christmas, the kid's gotta be poor," the next guy over adds.

"And of course, if he's poor, he's gotta be looking at something through a store window that he can't afford," the first guy finishes.

"No, no, that's no good," says the token woman songwriter, trying her darndest to out cynicize the cynics while stubbing out her Salem Menthol in an empty pizza box. "He can't be looking for himself. He's looking to buy a present for..."

"HIS MOTHER!" they all chime in.

"What if his mother is, like, dying of cancer?" the new guy wonders, "and she, like, doesn't have, oh, I don't know, shoes?"

He's met with a chorus of boos. "Yeah, right," the first guy says, "that's too sappy and pathetic even for those chicks who watch The Bachelor."

Oh, no, it's not.

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
Tryin' to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood
Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing 'round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes
His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say
Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight.


Anonymous said...

This song can make me cry faster at Christmas than any other one ever written. Why do they do this to us??? Sigh...

Unknown said...


Liz K. said...


That song is the one that makes me angriest! The most manipulative, calculated, Lifetime-meets-Nashville Network tripe. It makes me want to vomit.

Ho ho ho.

Anonymous said...

I always tear up, and I always feel like a shmuck for doing it. I much much prefer "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas".
Barb B.
PS I am sure you're right on how this got written.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on "makes me want to vomit" But we better be careful what we say. woudn't want to be part of no "war on Christmas"

Anonymous said...

If you think of the shoes as the Berroco footsie pillow below, it's a lot better.

Franklin said...

The shoe song is bad enough but now I have that effing donkey song stuck in my head and you are in SO much trouble.

geogrrl said...

This is the time of year I drag out my own musical ammunition; i.e., "Father Christmas" by the Kinks, "A Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues, and "Christmas is Coming" by the Payola$.

Anonymous said...

I hate that song. Why doesn't someone call Child Protective Services at this dirty kid wandering around the store alone on Christmas Eve? And where's he been going to Sunday School to think Momma needs nice shoes to meet Jesus? It's just sick. So help me, if I'm ever on my deathbed, I hope someone makes sure my kids aren't loose buying me some shoes.

That song just brings out all kinds of hostility in me. Give me Little Drummer Boy by Joan Jett.

Susannah said...

Surely you haven't heard "The Cat Carol," by Meryn Cadell. Right up there.

Norskybear said...

My favorite annoying Christmas song has to be Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. I want to hate it, but every time I hear it, I end up singing merrily along.

Carol said...

Madam, that is so weird. My husband just played me "The Sweater" by Meryn Cadell because it was sort of knit-themed... I had never heard of her before.

Is the "Cat Carol" like the dogs singing Jingle Bells?

jill said...

Yarg. A few years ago, John Scalzi of the blog "Whatever" encouraged his readers to decide which of the worst holiday songs should be deleted from history. HIs vote was for Feliz Navidad. Mine was split between "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Happy Christmas (War is Over)".

Scalzi also did a wonderful piece about "The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time." My personal favorite is "Ayn Rand's A Selfish Christmas."

mindy said...

I kinda like "Christmas Wrappings", but I think it might be because that was my first year in Seattle- so its just the whole association thing. You painted quite a picture for the writing of "The Christmas Shoes" song- and even though its awful, I still cry, too. My fav. is "The Twelve Pains of Christmas". May have to check out that Donkey song.

Bridget said...

God, the shoe song makes me want to puke! (Hopefully it would be red and green holiday puke, though ...) I don't think you have imagined the scenario for the writing of it, I think you have it down pat.

The Christmas song I hate most? "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer."

Your mention of the donkey song made me think of one year when we bought a holiday song cassette tape for our (very old) car. It had most of the usual things, except it also included "The Donkey and the Elephant". Huh?

Carol said...

The song "Santa Baby" also makes me wretch. It's just a little too slutty for a holiday that's supposed to be about innocence and children and presents.

Thanks for the links, Jill!

Knittah said...

Your composition scenario reminded me of the Monty Python skit where guys are sitting around the boardroom writing a movie. I hope that's not too obscure a reference.

Carol said...

Are you kidding? I'm a huge Monty Python fan...

Anonymous said...

That shoe song is tripe. My favorite carols are the Twisted Christmas ones - 12 Pains of Christmas, Walkin' Round in Womens' Underwear, those songs. They make me laugh SO hard.

Hurray for Monty Python - I grew up watching them and love them.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! Dominic the Donkey is the best! That f-ing Christmas Shoes song is the last thing I want to hear at Christmas time...it is totally a Lifetime Movie on radio. Gag a maggot.

Penny said...

You've all missed the 'plot' of the song. Really, the boy is such a po-faced pious little thing that his mother has been telling his father that she is "sick of his sanctimonious ways", and they are planning a moonlight flit. They realised the only way to get the boy out of the house - he has been spending every minute by her side, expecting her to keel over any minute - is to send him off to buy something for her.

Meanwhile the parents are hasily packing enough clothes for their cruise round the Carribean (including her Jimmy Choos), and are about to collect Grandma from the station to look after the dear child.

Anonymous said...

I am up to my eyebrows in songwriters here. Sadly, the writer of that one truly believes that it was "co-written by the Lord". If you weren't puking before, betcha are now.

Of course, the real question is where do they send the Lord's royalty checks.

And yes, there is a movie, and it stars Rob Lowe.

Anonymous said...

One year my brother made a fantastic compilation of weird christmas music. Along with such obvious choices as the dogs barking jingle bells and Alvin and the Chipmunks, he also included some true classics, like 'Let's put the X back in Xmas', 'Santa's smoking reefer' (Squirrel nut zippers), 'Rudolf the manic reindeer' (Los Lobos), Christmas at Kmart, a rendition of 'Santa Claus is coming to town' ostensibly by some crusty bahamian folk singer which truly sounds like a drunk singing for change at the bus station, 'Unshitty Christmas', and one which I actually enjoy, 'Mambo Santa Mambo'. I can drop off a copy at the store any time . . .


Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas CDs. I also really enjoy Christmas at Ground Zero by Weird Al (or was that a Benoit piece, I always get them confused), but people get a little snarky when they hear it even though it's about a nuclear bomb attack, written well before 9/11.
A Dysfunctional Family
1. Mars, the Bringer of War - Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski
2. Siegfried's Funeral March - Margarita Matlin, Erich Leinsdorf
3. Catacombs (The Pines of Rome) - Leopold Stokowski, Symphony Of The Air
4. Night on Bald Mountain - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, William Steinberg
5. Sad Waltz (Valse Triste) - Margarita Matlin, Felix Slatkin
6. "Come, Sweet Death" - Leopold Stokowski, Symphony Orchestra
7. Battle Scene (Hary Janos Suite) - Erich Leinsdorf, The Philharmonia Orchestra
8. Pavane for a Dead Princess - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, William Steinberg
9. Love-Death (Tristain und Isolde) - Margarita Matlin, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
A question--would Rush Limbaugh be the American Christmas donkey?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I heard that Benoit crack.
Did you relly think I wouldn't notice, naughty Micheline?

Lola and Ava said...

My personal favorite Christams song right now is "Get Behind Me, Santa" by Sufjan Stevens, but "Dominic the Donkey" holds a special place in my heart. The "Christmas Shoes" makes throw up a little in my mouth.

Carol said...

Hey, Michelene, were you missing in action for a while? Seems like you were awfully quiet the last few weeks/months. But I'm glad you roared back to life. Nothing says "Christmas has the highest suicide rate" like the sound of hurdy-gurdy music...

Purl Needlemeyer said...

I soooo agree! You're a riot. I'd be so honored if you hopped over to my blogged and offered up a holiday knitting tune. I'm doing a month long knitted caroling event.
www.knitandplenty.typepad.com won't you join in and write a tune?

Mel said...

Ugh. I am so glad I haven't heard this song. I believe that there is a special place in Hell for people who write blatantly sappy, emotionally manipulative verse, right next to the people who think up shit for the Franklin Mint to produce.

I also haven't heard the donkey or hippo songs, either, and around home the yuletide listening has been tending towards baroque and earlier (with some jazzy 20th century standards for good measure).

Elizabeth D said...

I have never heard this song. Not complaining!! What are you listening to? Time to change the station. . .

Mary Lou said...

That song makes Dominic the donkey sound good. Yah for Fairy Tale of New York.