Five Christmas Songs That Will Totally Bum You Out
2. Stompin' Tom Connors, "An Orphan's Christmas"
On what does Tom Connors stomp, you ask? Why, your heart, of course. And your Christmas spirit. This particular sadness carol is in story form, told in first person through the eyes of a 7-year-old orphan looking forward to Santa Claus' Christmas visit. Santa Claus, it seems, expects a surplus of sleds in this year's Christmas inventory, and has plans to stop by and unload the extras on the orphanage once he's done making sure all the kids with parents have as nice a Christmas as possible.
Our seven-year-old protagonist is an earnest, fastidious little fella, and on Christmas morning when the orphanage matron tells him he can't go downstairs until his bed is made up nice and tidy-like, he fusses and frets over it until he's the last one out the door, on the heels of the other kids who all figured, "Screw it, that's good enough" and went to see Santa with their sheets naughtily rumpled and askew. The boy waits in line, and by the time he gets to Santa, the jolly old elf tells him "Sorry kid, I just gave away the last sled, all I have left is this big ol' bag o' FUCK YOU."
Well, not in so many words, but that's the gist of it: The little boy who did everything right and tried his hardest to be the best little boy he possibly could got the shaft for his efforts. Let that be a lesson, kids: shirk your duties, cut in front of the other saps who are doing things the proper way, and always, always cheat. If you play fair and do as you're told, Santa will give your presents to more privileged children whose parents didn't veer their car off a bridge driving home from a key party while blasted on speedballs.
1. Nancy LaPlante, "Debbie's Last Christmas"
What does the singer want for Christmas more than anything else? A new car? A new house, maybe? Perhaps something simpler, like a certain book, phone, or purse? Nope, all she wants is to see her daughter Debbie smile. "Uh-oh," you should be thinking, and you're right: Debbie's dying.
We're not sure what of, and for the purposes of the song, it doesn't really matter: who wants a graphic description of symptoms in a song like this? The descriptions of the little tyke sitting sadly in her hospital bed waiting for death are quite enough, thanks. Yeah, this one beats the ass off "The Christmas Shoes" by reversing the roles; instead of a kid buying his dying mommy stiletto heels so she'll look hot for Jesus, we get a mother torturously watching her daughter wither away while praying for just one smile.
Things get bad way before December 25, and it's still November when they decide to have Christmas early for Debbie. Then there's this whole trying-to-be-uplifting section about how the guy who was going to play Santa Claus is stuck in a snowstorm but can't make it; if that's the case, who's that guy who has been talking to and laughing with Debbie all this time?
It's kind of an O. Henry ending, but here are the important facts: Yes, Debbie, there really is a Santa Claus; yes, Debbie finally smiles; and yes, smiling Debbie is quite dead. Ho ho ho.
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