Bollocks to Christmas: A Mixtape for People Who Hate the Holidays

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If the thought of hearing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Jingle Bells” or that godawful John Lennon song one more time fills you with the urge to kill, then relax: you’re not alone. We’re pretty skeptical about Christmas at the best of times, but if there’s one aspect of it we really detest, it’s the constant bombardment of Christmas music — you can’t step out the door without hearing some maddeningly jaunty tune that’ll inevitably lodge in your head for the rest of the day. So as a respite to the incessant bombardment of forced good cheer, here’s a selection of Christmas songs for people who hate Christmas. Bah, humbug!

Tiny Tim — “Santa Claus Has Got the Aids This Year”

Astonishingly, this apparently wasn’t about the disease AIDS — its lyric actually referred to something called Ayds, which was an appetite-suppressant candy bar popular in the 1970s. (Unsurprisingly, the product’s sales rather fell off during the 1980s.) Unfortunately, you’d never know this from the lyrics, which also make perfect sense if read in reference to a disease. Even more unfortunately, the song was released just as the AIDS epidemic was starting to permeate the public consciousness, and the whole thing has gone down as one of the most disastrous (and, it must be said, hilarious) coincidences in musical history.

Akim & The Teddy Vann Production Company — “Santa Claus Is a Black Man”

We found this on the John Waters Christmas album, which — if the simple fact that it’s a John Waters Christmas album doesn’t already obviate the need for further discussion — is all kinds of awesome. We briefly considered including Rudolph & Gang’s “Here Comes Fatty Claus” (sample lyric: “I believe in Santa Claus/ I believe that he’s a prick”), but in the end we plumped for this tale of sneaking downstairs on Christmas night and catching a glimpse of mommy getting it on with Santa, who… um… well, he doesn’t look exactly like he does in the pictures, eh?

Dr. Dreidel — “Dick N’ Ballz”

Dr. Dreidel’s record A Very Hairy Christmas is the musical equivalent of that point on Christmas afternoon when your pissed-up uncle stands up and starts telling dirty jokes — except, thankfully, it’s much funnier and comes from a guy who sounds like a sleazy version of Eugene Hutz. If you want to save your uncle the trouble of scandalizing the family this year, then just grab this from Bandcamp and slip it onto the stereo when no one’s looking — once everyone cottons onto the fact that Dr. Dreidel is rhyming, “‘Tis the season to be jolly” with “Dick and balls and loads of molly,” the festive spirit should dissipate pretty damn quickly.

Jim White — “Christmas Day”

White is one of the finer narrative lyricists working in music today, and we’ve never quite understood why he doesn’t attract the same acclaim as, say, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. Anyway, this is a tale of being stuck in a bus station on Christmas Day — it’s beautifully written, bleakly insightful, and occasionally bitterly funny (“I remember quite clearly/ A bad muzak version of James Taylor’s big hit ‘Fire and Rain’/ Was playing…”)

The Notorious B.I.G. — “Juicy”

“We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us/ No heat/ Wonder why Christmas missed us…”

The Gonads — “White Christmas”

From 1981 classic punk 12″ Bollocks to Christmas, about which the name says pretty much everything, really.

The Vandals — “Hang Myself from the Tree”

Punk bands seem to have an affinity for playing Scrooge, and Oi! to the World (Christmas with the Vandals) finds the Californian punk survivors basically taking a dump under the tree and then setting the damn thing on fire. Other choice cuts from the album include “Christmas Time for My Penis” and “Nothing’s Going to Ruin My Holiday,” but we couldn’t go past “Hang Myself from the Tree,” a seasonal suicide ballad for the ages.

Gruff Rhys — “Slashed Wrists This Christmas”

On a similar note, and shot through with similarly blacker-than-black humor: “The light entertainment drives us to/ Slashed wrists this Christmas/ Lifeless and listless.” Beyond the wry humor, though, there’s a serious point here: that if you’re prone to depression, or you’re broke, or you’re just plain lonely, Christmas can be a fucking horrible time. This is off Rhys’ fantastic Atheist Christmas EP, which also includes cheerful ditties like “Post-Apocalypse Christmas” — from the perspective of a survivor of a nuclear holocaust. And speaking of which…

“Weird” Al Yankovic — “Christmas at Ground Zero”

If you’re only familiar with Weird Al’s parodies of other artists’ work, you might find yourself rather taken aback by the bitingly sarcastic lyric of this song, which is a sledgehammer satire on the Reagan era and the nuclear arms race. (If you’re wondering, Ground Zero is being used in its pre-9/11 sense here, i.e. in reference to the point over which a nuclear bomb explodes.) This song is more something you’d expect from, say, Jello Biafra — but anyway, what better way to finish our mixtape than by considering the possibility of fiery death on Christmas Day? All together now: “It’s Christmas at Ground Zero/ The missiles are on their way/ What a crazy fluke/ We’re gonna get nuked/ On this jolly holiday!”

Half Man Half Biscuit — “It’s Clichéd to Be Cynical at Christmas”

But wait, we’ve got one more. And as much as we hate to admit it, HMHB do have a point here. So, alright, Merry Christmas, you lot. But please don’t play “Jingle Bells” again, or we may do something drastic.