One of my favourite bits of the bedtime routine is singing to my children. I always sing at least one song to each of my sons before they go to sleep. My eldest usually chooses a song now that he knows my full repertoire, but during the festive season his only guideline is that I sing Christmas songs.
There aren’t a lot of Christmas songs that I know by heart, and even with those I’m probably getting the lyrics wrong. But either way, I find my inner monologue while singing these songs to my son ever so slightly troubling. I worry about what exactly do these lyrics mean and are they really sending appropriate messages to a 4 year old?
Okay, so it’s not a really serious worry. Certainly not big enough for me to stop singing them. But I thought it might be amusing to take a look at some of the weirdest Christmas song lyrics out there.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
My son pegged this one the other day. “How does Santa Claus see me when I’m sleeping?” I told him it was “magic”. He seemed to accept it. But how creepy is that? No wonder my children look slightly worried in their Christmas photo, if they think they’re meeting the fat bearded man with odd dress sense who has been watching them all night long – ALL YEAR.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Without quoting the lyrics directly, we all know the story of this song. All the mean bully reindeer laughed at poor Rudolph because he had a stupid big red nose. They wouldn’t let him join in their reindeer games (whatever those might be – maybe antler ring toss – Rudolph probs wasn’t missing much).
But then, when suddenly Rudolph gets some extra accolades from the big boss (Santa), and becomes the manager of the Sleigh Guidance Department, all the reindeer “loved” him. The bastard suck ups. I worry that this song is teaching my son that it’s okay to be a shallow arse-licker who bullies people until they want something from them.
My son said the other day that this is his favourite Christmas song. I guess he just likes the tune. I worry about the old-fashioned sentiments.
In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say, “Are you married?”
We’ll say, “No man”
But you can do the job, when you’re in town
What? So this couple is walking around in the snow, they decide to build a snowman, and then they decide to pretend he’s a priest? How random is that? Is it actually both members of the couple, or just one of them trying to propose in an entirely creepy way? “Look, Parson Brown the religious snowman wants us to stop living in sin. What do you say, babes?”
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
I’m not actually worried about my son’s reaction to this one. We both know we’re talking about snow. But the whole time I’m singing this, I can’t help but think of racists. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. I mean, why don’t you still know white Christmases if you used to have them all the time? Did you move from Finland to Spain? Or are you just a member of the alt-right and speaking in thinly veiled innuendo? It just makes me think of some of the worrisome politics we are facing today, even though that’s obviously not what the song is about.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
This one is pleasant enough, until it gets to the bit about figgy pudding. Bring us some figgy pudding. Please bring some right now! We won’t go until we get some. Bugger off, you spoiled brats. Where are your parents? Get your own figgy pudding.
This one is lovely and soothing. It is definitely one of my favourites. But I have to admit to cringing a bit at the round yon virgin bit. What if the boy asks me, “Mummy, what’s a virgin?” And what do I tell him? Maybe a young, unmarried woman? But that could backfire. He might go around calling people virgins. “My cousin is only 16. She’s a virgin.” But I can’t tell him what it actually means! It’s a minefield. I’ll just mumble the virgin part and hope he doesn’t notice. Round yon mm-mm-mm, mother and child!
What are your favourite Christmas carols? Do any of them have slightly dodgy lyrics?