The first is a powerful lament from the perspective of an LGBT adult unable to go "home" for the holidays because of an unaccepting family. The second is a vicious skewering of the holiday, trashing the materialism of the modern celebration as only Frazier Chorus can.
Perhaps because I'm a church musician, I find it interesting that many of these "depressing Christmas songs" have nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever. They're straight up pop songs stuffed onto a Christmas album because the lyricist managed to find a way to put the word Christmas in there somewhere. Believe me, there are plenty related to the season that top these if you really think about it. Peter Warlock's "Bethlehem Down" comes to mind. The message? All is sweet for now, but you know soon enough the babe is going to be crucified. If you don't fully buy the notion of the resurrection, what could be more maudlin?
A reader writes: The all time, hands down, most depressing Christmas song has to be "Grandma got run over by a reindeer." I mean…a GRANDMA gets RUN OVER by a Freakin' Reindeer! Missing your, family, or a lover kinda' seems a little whiny compared to a senior citizen brutally attacked by an animal. They even … Continue reading Depressing Christmas Songs, Ctd
You're going to have a hard time finding any Christmas song more depressing – or chilling – than Woody Guthrie's "1913 Massacre". Based on a horrible chapter in US labor history, it is one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. It also demonstrates why Guthrie was among the greatest of American songwriters.
Another reader passes along an unreleased Bob Dylan cover from 1961. Lyrics after the jump:
Several readers have recommended “How To Make The Gravy” by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly. One writes:
It has depressing, slightly schmaltzy subject matter (man in jail missing Christmas writes a letter to a family member), but leaves you really appreciating what we often take for granted during Christmas. Throw in a recipe for gravy (light on the specifics, but good on the general idea) and references to Nina Simone and Junior Murvin and you have, IMO, one of the best damn Christmas songs ever. Lyrics after the jump:
I have to nominate "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." It was written for the classic musical Meet Me In St. Louis, a depressing tune in which Judy Garland tries to cheer up her distraught family forced to move from their beloved St. Louis home when the father gets a promotion in New York. And in the context of the film, yeah. It's pretty depressing. Here are the original lyrics, changed to become slightly more upbeat after Garland complained it was too depressing:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last,