Everybody looks forward to Christmas. Besides, this is the season when families get together and enjoy good food on the dining table. Also, festive decorations are literally everywhere so it’s really exciting. As a song tells us, Christmas is indeed “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Believe it or not, however, not all Christmas songs are cheerful. Although this is the “season to be jolly,” some composers believe otherwise and try to share a bit of their negativity into Christmas songs that have somehow achieved popularity among the public.
You may not be completely aware about it and you may have even hummed along to some of these tunes but if you pay close attention, you’ll realize how miserable they can be.
So go plug in your headphones, turn up the volume, and give these songs a spin:
#1. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Bing Crosby
Perhaps one of the most rehashed Christmas songs, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” seems hopeful in the surface since Bing Crosby even promises “You can count on me.” However, the song ends with these sad lines:
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
So yep, he won’t be home for Christmas after all.
#2. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
Another gloomy track from the past. This one has lines that say:
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now
#3. “Ringing The Bells For Jim” by Johnny Cash
I’m just ringing the bells for Jim
Please father, ringing the bells for Jim
I’m sorry, I’m cryin’ but my brother Jim’s dyin’
So, I’m ringing the bells for Jim
That’s perhaps the saddest song ever, Christmas or non-Christmas alike.
#4. “The Little Boy That Christmas Forgot” by Vera Lynn
We know how kids are dear to Santa Claus but what if, in his old age, he forgot someone?
In the street, he envies all those lucky boys
Then wanders home to last year’s broken toys
I’m so sorry for that laddie, he hasn’t got a daddy
The little boy that Santa Claus forgot
Better luck next year for the poor guy then?
#5. “Christmas Eve Can Kill You” by Everly Brothers
The title alone says it all but if you want to dig deeper, here’s what you’ll find on the lyrics:
And Christmas Eve can kill you
When you’re trying to hitch a ride to anywhere
The icy air I’m breathing’s all that keeps me on my feet
I feel like I’ve been walking all my life
#6. “Blue Christmas” by Elvis
All the wailing and moaning bring a sad vibe to the song. The lyrics go:
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
#7. “Seven ‘O Clock News/Silent Night” by Simon & Garfunkle
Actually, this is just Simon and Garfunkle singing “Silent Night” while a news anchor reads along some tragic headlines. It’s heartbreaking, to say the least!
#8. “Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” by John Denver
Ever had a drunkard father? You may relate with this John Denver song.
Mamma smiled and looked outside the window
She told me, son, you better go upstairs
Then you laughed and hollered “Merry Christmas”
I turned around and saw my mamma’s tears
#9. “Another Lonely Christmas” by Prince
In this song, Prince sings about a lover he misses:
And I, last night, I spent another lonely Christmas
Darlin’, darlin’, you, you should’ve been there
You see, of all the ones I dream about
You are the one that makes my love shout
You see, you are the only one I care for, yeah
The song, however, takes a dark turn during this part:
Your father said it was pneumonia
Your mother said it was stress
But the doctor said you were dead
And I, I say it’s senseless
Yikes! The girl’s already dead!
#10. “Someday At Christmas” by Stevie Wonder
Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime
#11. “Christmases When You Were Mine” by Taylor Swift
Media-darling Taylor Swift also has a depressing Christmas song in her discography. In it, she sings:
I’ve been doing fine without you, really
Up until the nights got cold
And everybody’s here, except you, baby
Seems like everyone’s got someone to hold
But for me it’s just a lonely time
‘Cause there were Christmases when you were mine
#12. “Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio
Featured in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is this sad song with a strikingly profound message:
Christmas time is here
Families drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
#13. “I Want To Come Home For Christmas” by Marvin Gaye
This is a really heart-wrenching song about a certain “prisoner of war.” Here’s a cover by Amali Ward:
Cause I’m a prisoner of war
Lying here in my cell
Hoping my family is well
Wish they wouldn’t worry so much about me
Just try to get us home
In time for the Christmas tree
#14. “Last Christmas” by Wham!
Of course, who could forget about this upbeat but tragic Christmas love song?
Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special
#15. “X-Mas Time (It Sure Doesn’t Feel Like It”) by Mighty, Mighty Bosstones
In this track, ska stalwarts Mighty, Mighty Bosstones sang:
It’s the holiday season
And it’s freezing cold
No one’ll have me
I’ll have no one to hold
I’ll have no halls to deck
I’ve got nowhere to be
It sure doesn’t feel like Christmas time to me
#16. “Christmas Lights” by Coldplay
Like some drunken Elvis singin’
I go singin’ out of tune
Sayin’ how I always loved you, darlin’
And I always will
#17. “Please Come Home For Christmas” by Charles Brown
Bells will be ringing this sad, sad news
Oh what a Christmas to have the blues
My baby’s gone I have no friends
To wish me greetings once again
Somebody give this guy a hug already!
#18. “I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up For Christmas” by Aimee Mann
‘Cause I can’t live loaded and I can’t live sober
And I’ve been this way since the end of October
And I know enough to know
That, baby, when it’s over, it’s over
And it’s over
‘Cause, baby, I’m done
#19.“Every Year, Every Christmas” by Luther Vandross
I don’t know how love could do this to me
I’ve waited and waited for someone I never see
But I’m so sentimental, and I’m so hopeful you’ll be there
So, here I am every year, every Christmas, yeah
#20. “Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love” by The O’Jays
Disguised in the song’s upbeat are these melancholic words:
Underneath the mistletoe
I saw a face all aglow
Last year this time
Now I’m staying home alone
And my house is not a home
Without that girl of mine
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