30. Last Christmas
"Last Christmas I gave you my heart..." — and a giant headache! We've heard this song played in various places over the years, from your friend's holiday wedding to the local T.J. Maxx as you browse the pillow section. Sure, at first it was fun to listen to, and even relatable, but now it's the earworm we can never get rid of. Wham!'s Andrew Ridgeley spoke to Smooth Radio about the song back in 2021, telling the story of George Michael's crafting of the hit.:
"We'd had a bite to eat [at George's parents' house] and were sitting together relaxing with the television on in the background when, almost unnoticed, George disappeared upstairs for an hour or so... We went to his old room, the room in which we had spent hours as kids recording pastiches of radio shows and jingles, ... and he played me the introduction and the beguiling, wistful chorus melody to 'Last Christmas.' It was a moment of wonder."
29. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" was originally sung by Darlene Love and has been covered numerous times over the years. Indeed, it is a popular Christmas song and ranked on Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of "The Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs." So, how can I say it’s annoying? Easy. I just did.
While it’s not a bad song per se, it’s so overplayed that it becomes unbearable to listen to after some time. Once is enough during the holiday season, and after that time, the song needs to be put away in a box and never opened again until next year.
28. Candy Cane Lane
Sia is a legendary modern songwriter, writing and performing hits including the likes of "Chandelier," "Cheap Thrills," and "Unstoppable." Those songs are great, yes, but are a bit overplayed in their own right year-round. But her Christmas hit "Candy Cane Lane" reaches all new levels of annoying that put her other songs to shame.
The last thing anyone asked for was another Maddie Ziegler spotlight in a Sia music video. They're all the same. She's dressed up in a funny wig and a funny costume and dances in a — albeit lyrical and impressive — "funny" interpretive way just like all of Sia's other videos. Only this time, it's Christmas! Yay.
27. Santa Tell Me
It's hard to hate Ariana Grande, but we can't deny that some of her songs get annoying after a while. It's not the lyrics or the rhythm or anything of the sort, it's just the amount they're played everywhere you go. "Santa Tell Me," like most Christmas songs released by pop artists, is the worst offender of her career.
"Santa Tell Me" is just like any other modern Christmas song — Santa, love, heartbreak, presents, the works. And Ariana has the best vocals of most artists at this time. We just wish people would chill a bit with playing it. There's a time and place for everything, and you know what they say about having too much of a good thing...
26. Where Are You Christmas?
"Where Are You Christmas?" started as a random ballad sung by Cindy Lou Who in the live-action version of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It wasn't a movie musical, so her minutes-long Christmas song was already out of place in the film and a bit annoying for the time.
But once Faith Hill got her grubby hands on the children's song, she transformed it into a radio hit for the holiday season. Her voice is clearly much stronger than the kid who played Cindy Lou, but that doesn't mean we enjoy it any more than before. In fact, it feels unnatural that a full-grown woman is singing it... Context, people!
25. Carol of the Bells
Before all of the keyboard warriors attack us for this one, we're not saying that the original "Carol of the Bells" is annoying. We think quite the opposite. "Carol of the Bells" with a traditional choir or simple instrumental remixes are both incredible. It doesn't get better than this song.
Where it all goes wrong is when people who have no business covering the song try to claim it as their own. Most of the time, it fails. Unless you're the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.No, we're signaling out artists like Leann Rimes... She single-handedly sucks out all of the mystical, dark holiday enchantment of the original. Yay, capitalism, right?
24. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Like "Carol of the Bells," the traditional Christian Christmas classic "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" isn't inherently an annoying song. No matter how many times this song is blasted over the radio during the holidays, it doesn't get old. Why? It's tradition, of course, and nothing beats tradition. At least, we didn't think so.
Then Weezer waltzed in during 2008 and released their own cover of the 1739 classic. That alone sounds like a recipe for disaster. Nobody wanted this American rock band to be a holiday icon. Just stay in your own lane, guys, and leave the Christmas ballads to the pop artists. On second thought, everyone should leave them alone.
23. The First Noël
Does anybody else think that Josh Groban's version of "The First Noël" is overrated? Groban is an amazing talent, especially when it comes to performance and singing, but we hold the same opinion as all of the other covers of Christmas songs. We like the original, just leave it alone.
But we shouldn't blame Josh Groban for our disdain for this particular song. We blame the radio for playing it over and over and over... and over and over! Any objectively good song gets old very fast after hundreds of people force you to listen to it every day. Don't you agree?
22. The Christmas Shoes
NewSong was the first group to sing the holiday hit "The Christmas Shoes." Is definitely popular, but not exactly at "Jingle Bells" levels of popularity. What we do know is that this 2000 country pop ballad is way too annoying to listen to more than once a season. Don't believe us? Give it a listen and form your own opinion.
NewSong is a Christian band that tells the story of Christmas shopping on Christmas eve. Exciting stuff, huh? But then it takes a turn to tell a far-fetched yet still heart-wrenching story of a young boy buying shoes for his mother so that she looks beautiful when she meets Jesus, pointing to the "true meaning of Christmas."
Justin Bieber is the epitome of annoying when it comes to songwriting, at least in his early career. Unfortunately, his Christmas song "Mistletoe" was a chart-topping hit for the season back in 2011. He sounds much improved compared to his YouTube and "Baby" days, but there's still plenty to complain about.
The worst part — aside from it being overplayed — is that Justin probably had no interest in making a Christmas song, but his producers Nasri Atweh and Adam Messinger just knew that a pop song from the hottest boy of the hour would rake in the cash. Perhaps they need a lesson on the true meaning of the season!
20. The Twelve Days of Christmas
We tend to give the cast of classic Christmas songs a pass when it comes to being "annoying," because they're part of the tradition of the season. "The Twelve Days of Christmas," however, is our exception. Repetitive songs are the first to get old to audiences, and this song is the epitome of "repetition."
The entire song is literally just counting up and down. If you can count to twelve, congratulations, you've discovered the meaning of Christmas! Even worse, it's the people who are the worst singers who just love to bring the family together to sing it. The only acceptable time to do is during a drinking game, not in the middle of Christmas dinner, Karen.
19. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
This song is so incredibly slow that I guess it’s supposed to be more of a mood than a song. The guy spends almost three minutes talking about how he’ll be home for Christmas and everything he expects when he comes home – things that are all a given on Christmas Day, so why is he wasting our time with this? Call us crazy, but we prefer our Christmas music to be a bit more...cheerful.
If the song were slightly faster, it would be over in a minute. And then after all that super slow singing, the dude reveals at the dead-end of the song that actually he might not be home, but he’ll be there in spirit basically. Thanks, man. Maybe you could give us all our time back from listening to this song that went absolutely nowhere. (And all the time spent listening to the countless covers over the years!)
18. Wonderful Christmastime
"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney is hard to hate... until it's overplayed and becomes so grating on the soul that you want to rip your ears clean off. But that's just us. It is annoying and always tends to kick on when you're at your worst. Christmas isn't always wonderful, Paul!
Despite all of its faults, "Wonderful Christmastime" will always be a holiday staple around the world, and we can't be too mad at it. Out of all the songs on this list, it is by far the most tolerable. Just wait until we get to #1... If you have ears, you probably know what it is.
17. That’s Christmas To Me
We hate to do this, but Pentatonix needs to hear the truth. We love their acapella Christmas covers as much as the next guy, but their original hit "That's Christmas to Me" takes itself way too seriously. The first few listenings are heartwarming enough, but it's devolved into background music for the annual holiday office party.
How many Christmas albums can one music group make? Perhaps they're just passionate about Christmas, but we have our doubts. Most people get their holiday hits over with to please the record label, but Pentatonix has made the holiday half of their brand at this point. When they sing "That's Christmas to Me," maybe they're talking about the money?
16. Underneath the Tree
Kelly Clarkson isn't a stranger to producing songs that get stuck in your head, whether they're painfully annoying or a breakup anthem (we're looking at you, "Since You've Been Gone"). And her Christmas hit "Underneath the Tree" is no exception to the Clarkson curse, as we so humbly call it.
Don't get it twisted, we definitely have a great time dancing to Clarkson's ballad at the first holiday party of the season, but after an entire month of listening to the same vocal runs over and over, we need a glass or two of spiked eggnog to bear listening to it for the 1,000th time.
15. Do They Know It's Christmas?
Ah yes, the Band Aid, the only thing worse than finding one in your soup, is to find them in your ear singing their 1984 “Do They Know It’s Christmas” because what Africa needs is another bunch of white boys wondering if they have FOMO about a magical infant's birthday.
There is so much in this song, which is so very, factually, wrong. It would be absolutely canceled in today’s political climate had it been released this year. They sing of doom and despair as though it’s magical. No worries though; they end on a high note. Feed the world!
14. The Little Drummer Boy
"The Little Drummer Boy" encapsulates everything about what the holiday is about. There are few songs about Christmas that are actually about Christmas if you catch our meaning, but the Little Drummer Boy has a huge problem with lyrics that’s hard to ignore.
Most of the words to the song are some person singing the sound a drum makes, only we aren’t exactly sure how accurate those onomatopoeias actually are. It’s a decent effort, but trying to sing this song without sounding like a goof is almost impossible. And it’s perhaps a bit too religious for the newer generations.
13. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
"Baby, It’s Cold Outside" isn’t just annoying, it’s one of the most controversial holiday songs we have. And technically, there’s actually no mention of Christmas in the song—but at least it's winter-themed. The song is typically performed as a duet and was written by Frank Loesser in 1944. The song has been called out for being a bit date-rapey, in part due to lyrics like, “Say, what's in this drink?”. In the song, the woman is trying to leave the man’s house, and the man is not letting her; instead, trying to convince her to stay–and seemingly won’t take no for an answer.
The narrative has become a bit more nuanced in recent years, as people on the internet have pointed out that at the time the song was written single women didn't have the freedom to say, stay the night at a man's house of her own free will—what would the neighbors think?! So although "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is more of a portrait of the times (and maybe more consensual than the lyrics would have you believe), it's still one Christmas song I think we'd be fine without hearing covered another million times.
12. Jingle Bells
"Jingle Bells" is pretty much the one Christmas song everyone knows—at least the abridged version with the first two verses. (And then there are the parodies with Batman.) That being said, at this point in your life, you're probably well over this song. Jingle Bells can go jingling all the way to hell if you ask me.
The song is one of the oldest Christmas songs out there, written by James Lord Pierpont and published in 1857. Some claim the song was meant to be sung at a Sunday school choir, while others claim it’s a drinking song. Those are obviously very different circumstances, so who can say what the truth is?
11. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
This is the song that almost spoils the secret about Santa—that secret being that Santa is an old pervert. No, but for real—mommy is obviously kissing Santa Claus because Santa Claus is in fact, Dad. But really, who in the heck is this song for? It can’t be for kids, because what child wants to think about their parents kissing?
And if it’s for adults, isn’t it a little weird to be thinking about your child observing your make-out sessions under the mistletoe? Again, though we are sexualizing Santa a bit here and it’s kind of awkward, the song is just plain annoying.
10. Shake Up Christmas
I only recently learned about "Shake Up Christmas," and I have to say, I was shocked to find out how horrible this song is. Train is already a devastatingly annoying band, and for them to make a Christmas song, it should come as no surprise that their song is annoying too.
The lyrics and the melody of the song are a total cringe-fest. You’ll cringe so hard it'll give you a headache—and not the kind of headache from drinking too much rum and eggnog, but the kind of cringe that stays with you forever. If you don’t know this song, do yourself a favor and never listen to it. You’ve been warned.
9. All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
"All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" is another one of the most annoying Christmas songs to be sure. The lyrics, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth/My two front teeth/See my two front teeth” repeat over and over again and are usually sung by a child in an annoyingly high-pitched volume.
If there is a quintessential annoying Christmas song, this one has all the boxes checked. Why anyone thought it would be a good idea to produce this song is beyond my level of comprehension. And kid, come on, teeth don’t grow by wishes. Get it together. Have patience and be sure to brush your teeth, kids, or you’ll lose the second pair.
8. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" was the most hilarious song we ever heard... when we were about 11 years old. It got old pretty quick after that. Our hearts go out to all parents and grandparents who have kids who just learned about this song and can't stop singing it.
What's the point of this song anyway? It's supposed to be comedic, obviously, but when we try to locate the theme of the dang thing, all we reach is the same old "believe in Santa" message as every other children's Christmas song. We can leave it for the kids to enjoy, because it's definitely not for us.
7. Santa Baby
"Santa Baby": the song that sexualizes Santa Claus and disturbs children by calling Santa “baby” and a “cutie” and herself a "good girl." Crafty kids will realize though that the woman in the song is not singing about the actual Santa Claus—but really her boyfriend whom she wants to propose.
But even the relationship isn’t all that innocent because you got a thinly veiled threat in there – “Think of all the fun I've missed/Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed.” So, like she could have cheated if she wanted to but didn’t so that’s why “Santa” needs to propose.
6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is the most messed-up Christmas song of all time. It teaches kids that bullying is okay and you just need to deal with it. All of the other reindeer in the song refuse to accept Rudolph and don’t let him play with them. They laugh, they call him names–they bully him.
That is, until Santa realizes he can exploit Rudolph’s genetic mutation. It is in that moment in which they finally accept Rudolph. So, we have a song where Rudolph is bullied and exploited and there are no consequences for anyone else. What’s the lesson here? Let people take advantage of you and treat you like garbage until you prove you bring value to the workforce?
5. Feliz Navidad
If you don’t know any Spanish at all, you might not even figure out that the singer of this song is singing the same exact three lines over and over again but in two different languages. He is saying “Merry Christmas” in Spanish, “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas” in English, and “Happy New Year” in Spanish again.
It’s almost as if someone who didn’t really know Spanish wrote it. Yet, they did. So, I guess they just wanted to make the song accessible to Spanish and English speakers, but the results are super annoying. We have a song where there is basically only a chorus that will inevitably get stuck in your head. It’s terrible.
4. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
Whoever wrote this song is probably exuberantly rich at this point just by how much is played every year. And, personally, we believe they deserve the worst Christmas ever after writing it. "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" is by far one of the most annoying Christmas songs out there.
It's always the Christmas songs targeted at children that are the worst. Why? Well, the song will get stuck in your head regardless of who sings it, but that scenario becomes 10x worse after a group of children all have the same line stuck in their head for 25 days straight and start begging for a killer animal for Christmas.
3. The Chipmunk Song (Don’t Be Late)
"The Chipmunk Song" is easily one of the worst songs of the holiday (for adults, at least). Alvin and the Chipmunks are already annoying, and they really don’t need to be ruining Christmas by making us listen to their voices on the radio. The high-pitched squeaky voices singing this song will instantly ruin Christmas for you.
Christmas is supposed to be heartwarming and sentimental, and this song does not convey that in the least. It’s commercial trash that basically encapsulates everything people hate about the holidays. If you want a Christmas that feels cheap and meaningless, this should help you get into that state of mind in no time.
2. Dominick the Donkey
If there is one song that takes the cake when it comes to annoying Christmas songs, it’s Dominick the Donkey—The Italian Christmas donkey, as you may know him. The lyrics and the melody to this song are absolutely dreadful. When a song has too many "la, la, las," you know it’s bad as a general rule.
If you don’t know the song, it’s about a Donkey who helps Santa deliver toys to the children of Italy because Santa’s reindeer cannot climb the hills of Italy. This song obviously didn’t quite take off quite like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—and clearly with very good reason.
1. All I Want for Christmas is You
This Mariah Carey classic is one of the most overplayed songs at Christmastime. Devastatingly catchy, this song stays in your head and never leaves, haunting you for the rest of the holiday season. Even just reading about the song now is sure to have put it in your mind. Am I sorry? No. If I am to suffer, all must suffer.
"All I Want For Christmas" is loud, poppy, cheesy, and totally cringe. The idea that the person you are spending Christmas with is all you need to enjoy the holiday sounds nice, but seriously if you don’t give a gift, it’s not going to be good for anyone. Remember that when someone says, “you don’t need to get me anything,” they don't actually mean it. Capeesh?