The six most underappreciated Christmas songs

Last week, I talked about what I think are the 10 worst Christmas songs ever, and I promised that I would stop being such a Grinch and post something positive about Christmas.

Despite my hangups about Christmas, I am quite a fan of Christmas music (when it’s played in season). There are a lot of great Christmas songs out there, but there are a few songs that I think should get more shine.

6. You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch: I know that this is probably the antithesis of a Christmas song, but I really like it. It’s The Grinch for crying out loud. He’s the modern day Ebeneezer Scrooge. Sure, the Grinch was miserable and he took everyone’s presents and stuff, but in an odd way ‘You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch’ gets me in the Christmas spirit.

‘You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch’ is like the OG diss track. Homeboy makes it known that he is absolutely, positively, 100% not here for The Grinch and his shenanigans. This song has more shade than the dark side of the moon, with the shadiest verse being:

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch,
You’re the king of sinful sots,
Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

Pretty much, what homeboy is saying here is that The Grinch is an awful, stingy drunk (a rotter is a stingy mean person and a sot is a drunk) with a heart like rotted fruit and his entire being is like a sandwich with two things that can kill you and one of the smelliest foods out there. Burn.

5. My Deliverer: ‘My Deliverer’ is a Contemporary Christian song that was written and recorded by Rich Mullins. It’s a Christmas song, but it’s sort of not, also. It has a very 1990s Contemporary Christian feel, and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I like it. I first came in to contact with ‘My Deliverer’ through my local K-LOVE station a little more than a decade ago. They played it year round.

It’s kind of corny, but that’s part of its charm. I wish that someone would come out with a more modern feeling arrangement.

4. The Little Drummer Boy: Part of me actually wants to hate ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ but I can’t. I should, but I can’t. There’s something that gets me right in the feels whenever I hear it. The whole idea of the little boy having nothing to give the Little Baby Jesus so he plays a song for him on his drum. Mary nodded. The ox and lamb kept time. I start getting all up in my feelings, and then I realize that IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

The story of The Little Drummer Boy is apocryphal. It’s nowhere to be found in the Bible. Why is this a thing? Why does it give me feels?

3. Ding Dong Merrily On High: I hardly ever hear Ding Dong Merrily On High sung or versions of it on the radio. It’s often part of Christmas medleys (usually instrumental), but that’s about it. Perhaps it’s because of its melodic similarities to ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ It’s such a simple, low key song with a charming melody.

Note: The version in the video posted above is great, but it annoys me how they pronounce ‘excelsis.’ It’s not the generally accepted pronunciation. 

2. We Three Kings: ‘We Three Kings’ is my favorite Christmas song. It is probably a bit hypocritical that The Little Drummer Boy gets on my nerves because it’s not biblical when ‘We Three Kings’ isn’t exactly biblical. At least the idea of there being three magi. The biblical account doesn’t actually say how many magi there were (though there were three gifts). The Bible also doesn’t say that they were kings. Other than that, it’s not a blatant insertion of people and events not in Scripture.

I love that it’s in a minor key (which is a trait shared by a lot of the songs that I like). I love that it draws the parallels between the gifts that Christ was given and his death, burial, and resurrection.

Incidentally, the song doesn’t indicate when the gifts were given, which is actually biblical. The ‘wise men’ weren’t there on the night that Jesus was born, but showed up sometime after. He could have been as old as two!

1. The Twelve Days of Christmas: ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is one of my favorite songs. I don’t know why people dislike it and why you hardly ever hear the whole thing.

When I was a kid, and when I say a kid I’m talking like three years old, I had a book from the Little Golden Books series that was the 12 Days of Christmas. I loved that book when I was growing up and I have no idea why. When I hear ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’ I see the illustrations from that book in my mind’s eye.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is kind of a creepy song when you think about it. The ‘true love’ sounds rather overbearing. Think about it, someone sends you multiple gifts over the course of twelve days. It seems harmless, but what if those gifts consisted of people and livestock? That seems like a lot of relational pressure. Why would anyone do that to someone they love.

There’s actually a short film that depicts what would happen in such a situation. I remember watching this once with my mom on AMC (back when George Clooney’s dad used to talk about oldmovies before they came on…before The Walking Dead took over).

If you want to see the film, skip to 1:30 on the video below.

I’m not sure that I would want this to happen to me. The True Love was doing the absolute most.

If you ignore the creepy, stalkerishness that the song seems to imply, it’s actually pretty cool.

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