“The Christmas Shoes” is The Worst Song Ever

I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music. I don’t want to hear it until the day after Thanksgiving, and it must be gone by the time the tree is taken down, 12 days after Christmas. In between those two periods I have a few things I like well enough, such as:

… as well as some Bach, Dean Martin, Alan Jackson, Harry Connick, and other bits and bobs. Most Christmas songs, however, go through me like alien blood through the deck of the Nostromo.

And then Katrina–proprietor of The Crescat–went ahead and posted about something called “The Christmas Shoes.” My wife insists she introduced me to this … thing … at some time in the past, but my brain (God bless it’s faulty wiring) erased all memory of it. This is good and bad.

The good is that I was able, for a time, to live a life that did not include “The Christmas Shoes.”

The bad is that I get to experience the horror of first discovery all over again, like some terrible version of Groundhog Day, but with music composed by people who despise all things good and pure.

Honestly, I don’t want to get all hyperbolic here, but “The Christmas Shoes” is something squeezed from the very hindquarters of Satan himself. This is the sound hell’s chorus makes after feasting on a diet of nothing but marshmallows and syrup and hate. This is the soundtrack for a thousand Hallmark Channel Original Movies, compressed by some unholy alchemy–perhaps involving non-Euclidean geometry and dark chants howled to Yog Sothoth during a gibbous moon in the eldritch shadows of Innsmouth or Arkham–into the span of five minutes. I cannot be certain, but I suspect cosmic evil was somehow involved in its aborning, because nothing this impure can be created without the taint of ancient horrors from beyond space, beyond time. And, being me, I cannot let this thing pass from my mind without inflicting sharing it with you.

Here it is, for those who may not know, or may have blotted it from their brainpans, or haven’t yet experienced it this year. There’s an official video starring Rob Lowe, but I think this amateurish film-school-project version really amps up the mawkishness to 11.

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Is this the worst song ever?

Yes it is.

I hear you starting: “But what about-”


“And you’re forgetting-”

No, I’m not.

I’d listen “Macarthur Park” or “Wonderful Christmas Time” and Culture Club every day for the rest of my life if it meant never hearing it again. It is all that is manipulative and tacky not just about hyper-sentimental Christmas fare, but about Evangelical pop culture in general. To say the boys in the band “New Song” have tin ears isn’t enough. They have tin hearts. This is Evangelical “Jesus is my boyfriend” pop culture, which can imagine–even through the eyes of a child–a dying woman who needs to get dolled up in red pumps to look spiffy for Jesus. Even in death, blind consumption is substituted for faith. Good Lord, kid: leave the damn shoes, and get the lady a priest for a final confession and anointing of the sick.

Because I’m not a cruel blogger, I will leave you with a palate cleanser. If the music of New Song is the sound of Lucifer cackling, then this is the sound the angels made on the first Christmas:

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And Beth Nielsen Chapman, from her album of Latin hymns:

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And here’s Elvis, because it’s Elvis, and that’s enough:

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UPDATE: Oh sweet mercy, they made a movie of it! Starring Rob Lowe! And Brad Paisley’s wife!

CHECK OUT some more good stuff to clear your ears.

"Caleb Meyer" [Dark Country: Songs For October]
I Got a Pope Benedict Bobble Head For Christmas
Snapdragon: A Festive Children's Game Played With Flaming Food
Dickens on Hope and Despair: "The Chimes"
About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat The Crescat AKA The Day Ruiner

    Always glad to be of service. Misery loves company.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    [shaking tiny balled up fists of impotent rage]

  • Maggie Goff

    You are the funniest and most delightful curmudgeon.
    Thank you for the lead to the Latin Hymns album.

  • Pat

    Enjoy the variety…

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald
  • Kristin

    I always turn the station when that song comes on. The second most despised Christmas song at my house: Feed the World. For this line alone: Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you
    (not that the rest of the song’s any good.)

  • http://www.newadvent.org Stephanie Bodene

    Thank you for your post. I didn’t even listen to the “thing”. I just enjoyed some good writing. Carry on, in the grand tradition of St. Jerome and Ambrose Bierce!

  • victor

    Hey, I’ve never even heard of the “The Christmas Shoes” before. Giving it a listen now….

  • Chris

    “Most Christmas songs, however, go through me like alien blood through the deck of the Nostromo.”

    This is quite possibly the best thing I have ever read regarding contemporary Christmas caroles. And a kudos on the non-Euclidian geometry comment.

  • Sarah M

    “…do they know its Christmas time at all?” I can’t stomach that line from that wretched song. Every year I find myself saying to the radio “They are hungry, not stupid! Of course they know its Christmas! Otherwise they’re Muslims and don’t celebrate the Incarnation, you dingbats.” It REALLY gets me, as you can see.

  • Jon D

    Your assessment is spot on. Secular Christmas music varies from 1 step above trash to several steps below. I’ve heard it since “The Little Drummer Boy” came out; which gets replayed every year ad nauseam. The last piece of such that was any good was “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” which was funny and a sideways commentary on Christmas materialism.

  • Joyce M

    Ok, the Christmas shoes song makes me cry, I’ll admit it, even all the while that I am thinking the kid is a little con artist probably put up to it by his parents who aren’t dying at all. This is aside from the uselessness of shoes to the one dying! I never thought about how commercial that song really is!

  • jdens

    New to this blog, but I laughed and laughed at this. That song is absolutely horrifying, but I’ve never seen such an entertaining description of its horrors before. Thankfully I live in a country where I do not have to listen to that particular rubbish, even in the shops. I did watch the video in its entirety, with wide eyes and gaping mouth (can’t look awaaay), and can only thank you, thank you, thank you for the palate cleansers!