Top depressing Christmas songs

So this is the season to be jolly?  What is all this forced fun and happiness we have to have around this time of the year?  Christmas may be bring tidings of joy for many but for some it doesn’t.  Infact it may sharpens the unhappiness that people may feel as everyone says to ‘be happy’.

So for anyone who is blue at Christmas here are my top not so cheerful songs.  Instead of ho ho ho let’s say boo boo hoo.

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

This song has fallen in the category of now being what was the opposite of the original intention, such as ‘Every breath you take’ by the Police which is a song about stalking which is being played at wedding, or ‘Born in the USA’ by Bruce Springsteen that was heralded by Ronald Regan which is infact an angry song about the exploitation of working class Americans.

Quoting Wikipedia, the song first appeared in a scene in Meet Me in St. Louis, in which a family is distraught by the father’s plans to move to New York City for a job promotion, leaving behind their beloved home in St. Louis, Missouri just before the long-anticipated Louisiana Purchase Exposition begins.   In a scene set on Christmas Eve, Judy Garland’s character, Esther, sings the song to cheer up her despondent five-year-old sister, Tootie.  The original lyrics go like this:

No good times like the olden days, happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more.

But at least we all will be together, if the Fates allow,
From now on we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Here is the scene from the movie.  And as you can see is not a ‘happy’ one, but quite sad (see the clip right to the end after the song).

This was thought to be far too depressing for later versions to be played on Carols by Candlelight on TV. So the schmaltzy version goes like this:
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

The version sung by James Taylor here at least keeps the ‘From now on we’ll have to muddle through somehow’ line.

Blue Christmas – Elvis

And when those blue snowflakes start falling
That’s when those blue memories start calling
You’ll be doin all right, with your Christmas of white
But I’ll have a blue, blue blue blue Christmas

I know that there are Elvis fans out there that choke when they hear this song sung by him. Personally even though it is a sad song I reckon he sung it a bit tongue in cheek. But have a look yourself. What’s really sad is that Elvis turned from that handsome man in this video into a obese food addict.

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis – Tom Waits

As Wikipedia explains, the song’s lyrics narrate a letter written by a prostitute to a man named Charlie. She confesses to being pregnant, and describes her current living circumstances, including her stable relationship with a partner who promises to raise her arriving baby “like he would his own son.” At the song’s conclusion, the author confesses to Charlie that she has been lying to him; she does not have a husband, is currently serving time in prison, and will be eligible for parole on Valentine’s Day.

River  – Joni Mitchell

This is a very melancholic song where Mitchell writes sadly on the breakup of relationship where she feels she was responsible. Christmas is near and she wishes to escape and skate away, but perhaps reflecting on her Canadian origins she says that where she lives now (maybe California) the warm climate does not offer her that ice or that chance.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
But it don’t snow here
It stays pretty green
I’m going to make a lot of money
Then I’m going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas

This maybe is not only as sad song but more of a WTF song.

“Please Daddy don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t want to see my Momma cry
Please Daddy don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t want my Momma cry”

I know that John Denver did the most famous version, but this one I am showing is even more incongruous as the singers are smiling while singing it.

Wish you were here – Melinda Schneider

OK, for the most depressing top rated wrist slashing Christmas song you can’t go past Wish you were here by Melinda Schneider.  It is actually a nice song, but is its depressing.  It deals with grief of the first Christmas without someone who passed away.

if a sinner prayed to the lord above
would he send me back the one I love
would he suddenly make you appear
my darling, wish you were here…….


i long for our younger days
the chance to say I love you
a million memories made, but now I’m here
without you
they say the pain will fade
a little more each year
and darling, wish you were here

And while some song have a bit of redemptive hope at the end, this song does not let up.

hung the tinsel on the tree tonight
little candle now I’ll hold on tight
to the memories i hold so dear
my darling wish you were here
oh it’s gonna be a sad new year
my darling, wish you were here

Fuck Christmas, i got the blues – The Legendary Tigerman

The title says it all really.


Filed under Musings

3 responses to “Top depressing Christmas songs

  1. Alex

    Possibly add Paul Kelly’s “How to make gravy” to the list.

  2. Emma

    The actual lyrics for Melinda Schneider’s “Wish You Were Here” are;
    “If I said a prayer to the Lord above”,
    “If a sinner prayed to the Lord above”
    Heartbreaking song. She had half of the Sydney Opera House in tears when I hear her perform it. Written for her father – what an amazing, powerful and touching tribute to someone she clearly adored.

  3. penno

    Great list!

    You could certainly add Send Me Back My Dad by Katy Steele.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s