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Thank God for Sad Christmas Music

a melancholic playlist to cheer up your holiday season

By Scott ChristensonPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
What song did Darleen Love, Mariah Carey, U2, and Michael Buble all famously cover?

TGIF! In the lexicon of modern English, if we can thank god for Friday, a popular AI program tells me I can also thank god for sad Christmas music.

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, the enforced positivity of Christmas begins creeping in all around us. Decorations are put up, holiday sales items are put on display. And, after a few days of spotty rotation, the Christmas playlists are turned on auto-repeat at every coffee shop, restaurant, and shopping mall for the next 28 days.

It can feel overwhelming. Yesterday, at a coffee shop, I was about to put in my earbuds and turn on angsty pop music to cancel it out, when suddenly, a new voice began singing a familiar holiday song. After a few verses, I realized the lyrics were... sad ! What a pleasant change from the overwhelming happy festive songs chosen by the overlords of retail to keep shopping. I took out my earbuds and immersed myself in the holiday mood.

♫ Baby please home ♫

This wasn't the version I heard in the coffee shop. But wow this is a great rendition. Even James Corden, the happiest man on television, enjoys this overtly sad Christmas song.

He's not alone in appreciating festive songs of melancholy. Do you recognize this one?

Sad Christmas music appear to have a long history. Perhaps holidays are also a time for remembrance of times gone by. Here's a classic from 1944 during the depths of World War 2. I have a feeling that many of the problems she was singing about may have cleared up the year after.

The original lyrics were even sadder. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. It may be your last. Next year we may all be living in the past.”

After Judy Garland complained that the lyrics were too depressing, the composer rewrote them to, "Have Yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light. Next year all our troubles will be out of sight"

A few decades later, The Pogues sang a unique song about a different conflict that occurred on Christmas Day. It's a Christmas standard in the UK:

In 2007, The Killers may have taken the concept of dark Christmas lyrics too far. This one didn't catch on:

Thanks for reading! If you know of any other sad or unique Christmas songs, please drop them in the comment section.


The lyrics of White Christmas, the most popular Christmas song of all time:

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know

Where the treetops glisten and children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write

"May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home):

Ooh yeah

the snow's comin' down

(Christmas) I'm watchin' it fall

(Christmas) lots of people around

(Christmas) baby, please come home

the church bells in town

(Christmas) are ringing in song

(Christmas) full of happy sounds

(Christmas) baby, please come home

They're singing Deck The Halls

But it's not like Christmas at all

'Cause I remember when you were here

And all the fun we had last year

pretty lights on the tree

(Christmas) I'm watching them shine

(Christmas) you should be here with me

(Christmas) baby, please come home

They're singing Deck The Halls

But it's not like Christmas at all

'Cause I remember when you were here

And all the fun we had last year

if there was a way

(Christmas) I'd hold back this tear

(Christmas) but it's Christmas day


(Please) please

(Please) please

(Please) please (please)

Baby please come home (please)

(Christmas) baby please come home

(Christmas) baby please come home

(Christmas) baby please come home (Christmas)

Oh yeah yeah


About the Creator

Scott Christenson

Born and raised in Milwaukee WI, living in Hong Kong. Hoping to share some of my experiences w short story & non-fiction writing. Have a few shortlisted on Reedsy:

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Comments (6)

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  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Congratulations! I finally caved in and listened to Taylor Swift without any quivering. I did not make it to the end as it was all, well, just to pretty for me.

  • Interesting collection of thoughts and songs... The Pogues are great fun and a good song. Judy Garland does a nice job with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas but must admit Karen Carpenter really brings the song home. Of course I love Last Christmas by Wham! You just can't beat George Michael's super smooth lead vocals. Great work Scott!!! I enjoyed this!!! 😎

  • I despise happy songs, lol. I love sad, heartbreaking songs. I used to work as a retail Nutritionist in a mall so I was forced to listen to happy Christmas songs for more than 8 hours a day for more than 1 month. It drove me crazy. I wish they played these sad ones instead!

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    The pogues isnt a standard everywhere?

  • Grz Colm3 months ago

    OMG what an enlightening romp Scott. 😆 I couldn’t tell if you were being satirical with the first two, but I gathered the original songs were more maudlin. I cracked up at The Pogues! (The instrumental and guitar were really good though). How’d you get the video to play mid song? I’ve not very tech savvy. I’d never heard that one by the Killers but really enjoyed it! (Even the low-key creepy video!). I think I honestly don’t mind those sad tinged old school Hollywood ones like white Christmas I.e Bing Crosby or the Garland one; probably as I use to watch a lot of old movies. Have a good one!

  • Salman siddique3 months ago


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