My Favourite Weird, Wacky and (sometimes) Wonderful, Obscure Christmas Tunes

Welcome to the Island of Misfit Carols

So, the holidays are here, and you’ve no doubt heard Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” a kajillion times.  You’ve probably also heard Boney M’s entire Christmas catalogue dozens of times over.  The great thing is, there are lots of other holiday tunes out there – some are awful, some are awesome, and some are awesomely awful… But chances are you won’t be hearing these jingles in the malls anytime soon.  Presented in no particular order, I give to you some of these misfit carols.

Heidi Klum – Wonderland

What’s the German word for “steaming pile of reindeer crap?”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me my Heidi Klum.  She’s a fabulous host on Project Runway, she always looks fabulous, and she’s just plain awesome.  But, as this song proves, she probably shouldn’t step into a recording booth again anytime soon.  Auf Wiedersehen, Wonderland.

Janice Dickinson – Twelve Days of Christmas

Speaking of models-turned-reality-show-judges-that-probably-should-step-away-from-the-microphone, “World’s First Supermodel” Janice Dickinson gives us 12 days of ridiculousness. I love Janice, but this is all just a little too… Janice Dickinson.

Burton Cummings – 8 Days of Christmas

I’m from Winnipeg, where we have a community centre, theatre and, probably, public toilet named after Burton Cummings.  There’s no doubt he shaped rock and roll with the Guess Who – but this ditty, composed in 1970, and performed here in 2010, won’t be getting him into any halls of fame.  In case you were wondering about Burton’s drug use back in the day…  Well…


(And boy, does he get excited about that).

A true Winnipeg hero. Or whatever.

Colin & Justin – Mary’s Boy Child

Having worked many years in retail, Boney M’s Christmas album gives me hives at the best of time, but this charity single from Colin & Justin takes an annoying Christmas song and makes it unbearable.  I love these guys, but this song is just wrong.  It’s just. So. White.

Olivia Newton-John – Christmas Time Down Under

Full disclosure: I am a HUGE Olivia Newton-John fan… But this ditty (from 1965) is just bizarre.  Yeah, we get that things are different in Australia, and that Christmas is in the middle of summer, but this is just odd.  Also, it appears that Australian teens are forced to work in Christmassy labour camps, like The Christmas Pudding Detention Centre here.

Donny & Marie – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Christmas specials in the 70s were pretty fabulous.  Here, Donny & Marie take a song with the word “rockin'” in the title, and turn it into something disco-riffic.  Also, D&M were totally down with the “ugly Christmas sweater” trend 30-some years before it was a thing.

There are so many more Christmas oddities, but hey, I gotta save something for next year, right?

To end off this collection of holiday weirdness, I have to post a TV Christmas special that very few people have seen.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a bizarre holiday special aired that was low-budget and bizarre – so much so, it has become pop culture legend.

No, not that holiday special!  This one…

Rupaul’s Christmas Ball

Before Drag Race, RuPaul was a B-to-C-list celebrity with a small cult following and a few hit dance songs.  Then, in 1993, the UK’s Channel 4 gave Ru a Christmas special… And boy, is it special. The Onion’s AV club has a great article about the history of this piece of ridiculousness.  To paraphrase SNL’s Stefon, this special has everything:

  • A-list guest stars: Elton John, Nirvana
  • B-list guest stars: Eartha Kitt, Boy George
  • …and LaToya Jackson.
  • Oral Sex References (courtesy of Taylor Dayne)
  • Laugh-in Style jokes courtesy of New York Club Kids

And so, so, so much more.  It looks like it was produced on a cable-access budget, but it’s just so gosh darn giddy you can’t help but watch it in all its WTF’ness.

And, actually, Ru’s “Little Drummer Boy” is pretty damn good. It’s just surrounded by more wackiness than you generally see anywhere outside of a bad acid trip.

As I snuggle up with my kitties and a glass of eggnog by the tree, I cap off this list with a song that is a little more well-known, but still pretty wacky…

Barbra Streisand – Jingle Bells?

Babs’ take on this classic is manic, ridiculous and, for my money, just plain awesome.  From the frenetic pace of the song to the “ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-jingle bells, ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-jangle bells” and, my favourite part – “Upsot?!” – this song is a Christmas classic for me.

What did I miss?  Let me know your favourite Christmas oddities!

Wishing you and yours all the best for this holiday season – and here’s to a fabulous 2018!

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