Five Christmas Lyrics That Have Not Stood the Test of Time

My love for Christmas music is widely known and well documented. But there are some lyrics that need to be retired. A short list of lines that just don't translate: 5. presents on the tree -- "I'll Be Home for Christmas"

I guess this is a bygone tradition, to hang presents on the tree branches? Glad this custom died; with three little kids, we have a hard enough time with strategic ornament placement: breakable ones out of reach, repositioning them slightly when the kids put five or six on one branch. Adding presents would put us over the edge. Plus, I'm thinking the Kinect for Xbox is going to make O Tannenbaum come crashing to the floor.

4. ox and ass before him bow -- "Good Christian Friends Rejoice"

The offending word appears in many Christmas carols, and you've gotta sympathize with authors looking for a single-syllable solution to "donkey." While this time of year does seem to bring the asses out of the woodwork, it's just not worth the snicker factor in worship.

3. "Do They Know It's Christmas"

Props to the British rockers for inaugurating the era of big-budget benefit songs, but... dear me, where to start. Having Sting sing the line about the "bitterĀ sting of tears"... giving Bono the God line even though its theology is reprehensible (thank God it's them instead of you)... the culturally absurd assumption that Africa is deprived of a proper Christmas because it lacks snow...

You know what? Let's just say the whole song.

2. snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow -- "In the Bleak Midwinter"

Christina Rosetti's poem is much loved, and after Snowpocalypse, I get what she's going for here. But let's face it, this line is the one you suffer through in order to get to the luminous final verse. And bless the hearts of the one or two people in the congregation who get the rhythm wrong. (I knew I loved Tiny Church when each and every person nailed it.)

1. say, what's in this drink? -- "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Ah, nothing like a little GHB overtone to ramp up the creep factor. I kinda like several versions of this song, but we just don't live in this world anymore.


C'mon, cringes are more fun when they're shared. What would you add?