5. 12 Days of Christmas - Foster Brooks
For nearly 50 years the irreplaceable Foster Brooks entertained the world, and made his mark in comedy with his hilarious lovable drunk persona. If you're not familiar with Mr. Brooks, I would recommend a quick youtube search and you'll be laughing all day. Though he was mostly known for his various television appearances, his take on this classic Christmas carol is pure genius. It starts a little slow, but as Foster becomes more and more hammered with each verse, there's no denying that he was a master at his own unique craft. It continues to leave me in stitches each time I listen. Merry Christmas, Foster Brooks, you're the drunken relative we all wish we had.
4. Chiron Beta Prime - Jonathan Coulton
Jonathan is an artist I've only recently gotten into in recent years, but he is quickly climbing the list of my favourite songwriters. He usually writes songs that focus on science fiction, technology, and other nerdy subjects mixed with various genres. Personally, the more I listen to him, the more I feel like he's been inspired by the likes of Weird Al and Ben Folds. If you're still unsure if you'd like his music, he did write the song "Still Alive" that appeared at the end of the amazing video game, Portal.
So anyway, this Christmas song is written like a Christmas card from a family enslaved by robots on a mining asteroid. It's hilarious and mad catchy.
3. Christmastime - The Arrogant Worms
One of the first songs I ever heard by the Worms, I remember distinctly listening to it on CBC radio around Christmas. These guys are no stranger to writing funny holiday songs, they even have a Christmas album in their sizable discography. Still with so many to choose from, this one stands out for it's energetic chorus and the delivery of lines like "Hey Mr. Santa Claus, I believe in you because, you've got more credibility that any doctor, cop, or lawyer!"
Unfortunately I couldn't find the song in any video to embed here (which may be a part of the internet's effort to keep us Canadians down), so I'm going to make you do extra work and listen to it on their website. Click the play button for holiday cheer!
2. The Night Santa Went Crazy - "Weird Al" Yankovic
I didn't want two songs by the same artist on the list, but I seriously considered Weird Al's other festive gem, "Christmas at Ground Zero" for its clever lyrics before finally choosing his other dark Christmas song. While it does make me feel old knowing the song is 15 years old already, I'll never forget listening to it for the first time and being shocked by its violent lyrics and then laughing my head off over the destruction of the North Pole and the gruesome demise of most of Santa's reindeer.
Please enjoy the extra gory version of the song posted below. I think you'll agree that nothing says Christmas like rocking out to Santa turning mad. I think you can also agree the story it tells would make one hell of a movie.
1. There Are Much Worse Things - Stephen Colbert and Elvis Costello
Colbert's 2008 TV special, "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All" was a impressive bit of holiday fun filled to the brim with funny and well-written Christmas songs. I've since watched and listened to the songs dozens of times, but it's the final tune of the special that sticks with me the most. You may click and listen to it here.
The more I listen to the song, the more I appreciate all the different things it has to say. It begins by addressing the state of Christmas; how it's become the "cheesy crass commercial travesty" we know today that seems to be devoid of any religious significance. It then pokes fun at the importance we put on Christmas, as if it will solve all our problems at the end of the year and we will find "the answer to all sorrows in a box beneath the tree".
From there Stephen and Elvis sing of faith, cynicism, knowledge, and hopeful optimism. For me the song captures so many different feelings about the holidays and life that I feel you could easily write whole essays about it. And yes, while it may not be laugh out loud hilarious, it still is at heart a comedy song. It's sincere and beautiful, and as someone who celebrates Christmas without having any interest in going to church or being religious, it feels especially meaningful to that modern mentality. You may believe in everything, nothing, or things that are empty to others, but if it makes you happy then maybe that's all that matters, because ... after all, there are much worse things.