Have Yourself a Blue Christmas Playlist

Have Yourself a Blue Christmas Playlist

By: Claire Frank

Nothing says depressing quite like a sad Christmas song. In the season of happiness and cheer, it may seem out of place to have so many dismal melodies out there, but Christmas isn’t always happy. Since the holidays are supposed to be a time for family and love, spending Christmas alone can be harsh. Just like love songs, there’s two sides to this musical coin, with just as many sad songs as there are happy ones. Here’s a playlist of ten Christmas downers in case there’s a need to be sad this holiday season:
“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley (1964) A classic heartbroken love song, Presley’s short 10 line blues song brings up all the memories of loneliness, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. Presley actually released his version of “White Christmas” at the same time as “Blue Christmas” to offset the sadness. The song was originally recorded by Doyle O’Dell (1948). The song has been covered a multitude of times, including in Michael Buble’s album Christmas and in the Christmas special The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), so it’s pretty hard to avoid.
“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band (1971) As a rule, war protest songs are depressing, and this song is no exception. With the message “war is over (if you want it)” resonating in the background, the song calls for an end to fighting and bitterly mentions how another year has come and passed without any change.  Protesting the war in Vietnam, this catchy song was released to go along with billboards across the world rented by John Lennon and Yoko Ono with the message “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.”
“Where Are You Christmas?” by Faith Hill (2000) Originally performed by Taylor Momsen for How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), the longer version popularly known today was first recorded by Mariah Carey, then re-recorded by Faith Hill due to legal issues between Carey and her co-writers  James Horner and Will Jennings. The song hits home, especially to parents, because it hints at a child’s deep fears of change. The lyrics, coupled with the sad piano music, guarantee to leave the listener feeling sad and in need of a good hug.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Frank Sinatra (1948) Although it was actually first sung by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Sinatra’s longer, altered version is the more popular of the two. The song’s lyrics are reassuring, telling the listener to forget their problems and enjoy the holidays, and that until their problems go away they should just keep going. Sinatra’s wistful delivery and the slow pace of the song leave the listener feeling melancholy and nostalgic, thinking back to old happier holiday memories.
“Last Christmas” by Wham! (1984) Yes, this is the song that people only know the chorus to. Probably the most cliché song on this list, it’s the mother of all holiday breakup songs. It’s pretty straightforward; the narrator laments an ex to whom he gave his heart (love) but was broken up with over Christmas. He swears that he won’t make the same mistake twice and that “this year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.” This song is perfect for people who are going to be spending Christmas alone this year, as well as “Blue Christmas.” There are so many covers from artists like Coldplay, Billie Piper, and even the Cheetah Girls that it’s going to be hard to avoid this song.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby (1943) Written during WWII, Crosby sings from the point view of a soldier at war writing home to family saying that he’s planning on coming home for the holidays, even if that means in his dreams. This crooner leaves the listener feeling extremely melancholy and sympathetic towards soldiers away from home during the holidays, and definitely puts a damper on any cheerful mood.
“Please Come Home for Christmas” by The Eagles (1978) The more popular version of the original song by Charles Brown (1960), it is also referred to as “Bells Will be Ringing,” which is the first line and is also a reference to the church bell sounds created by the piano at the beginning of the song. In this heartbroken love song, the singer begs his ex-lover to come back to him for the holidays to save him from a sad, lonely Christmas.
“Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters (1970) In this ballad, the singer professes how much she misses her lover with whom she has been separated from. While it may seem romantic to couples, this melancholy song can leave lonely listeners nostalgic for past lovers. Interestingly enough, it’s not about heartbreak like some of the other love songs on this list. Based on the time period, the song is mostly likely from the viewpoint of the wife of a soldier fighting in Vietnam, but it may just be about a couple who can’t spend the holidays together. Either way, it’s sad.
“Christmas Time is Here” written by Vince Guaraldi (1965) This song is actually from the opening scenes of A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), and although the lyrics aren’t sad, the music and performance of the singers is extremely melancholy and keep the listener from feeling particularly festive. It could be said that it is the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of Christmas songs: in the Christmas spirit but kind of pitiful.
“The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong (2000) The song’s narrator tells of a young poor boy trying to buy a pair of shoes for his mother. As the song continues, it becomes apparent that the boy’s mother is going to die, possibly from cancer, and he becomes frantic when he discovers he doesn’t have enough money, because he wants her to look beautiful in case “Mama meets Jesus tonight.” The song’s religious message is that people should get away from the materialism aspect of Christmas and remember how it’s about the act of giving itself and being with family. Anyways, this is one of the most depressing Christmas songs out there and leaves grown men blubbering like new-born babies; it became an equally depressing movie in 2002 and was named “The Worst Christmas Song Ever” by Gawker, a popular online newspaper. It’s a bit harsh to say that it’s the worst, but it’s easily the saddest.