It's a holiday tradition no less practiced than trimming trees and visting family. We're speaking, of course, of drinking. And while "Frosty The Snowman" works just fine for opening presents with junior, kids songs start to sound a little creepy once you go in for thirds on the 'nog. We, of course, are always here to help with these sorts of conundrums, which is why we've compiled the ten most boozy holiday songs. Fair warning, party people: not all of them are especially merry, but it's good to know limits anyway.
10. "Here We Come A-Wassailing" Traditional
Originally written as a good luck charm for the cider harvest (sounds a little Pagan, no?), this is one of the few Old English carols to endure. Probably because most people are using wine or spirits to make their cider merry these days, whereas no one's about to start munching on a boar's head.
9. "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" by Randy Brooks
Here's another one you might not immediately think of as a drinking song. But remember: grandpa pleads with grandma to stay because she'd drank too much egg nog. It's a jolly-sounding song, but remember kids: Don't drink and drive a sleigh. Terrible things have happened.
8. "Who Spiked The Eggnog?" Straight No Chaser
A capella group Straight No Chaser make a living on booze-related singing, obviously, but this is their holiday standout. It's cheesy, sure, but so is the holiday season in general, and we appreciate the fact that it's a song about office Christmas parties. Such a weird part of American culture, and yet so unheralded in song.
7. "The Night The Whiskey Froze" by Fred Gosbee
We swear this is a real thing. It appears on Gosbee's Christmas album of the same title, and he's got an interesting point to make about whiskey as it relates to your ability to conceive a child. It's a detriment, apparently, which is why we'll take a double. (Just kidding. We love kids)
6. "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" by Tom Waits
Some hookers never change. We start off with the results of our narrator's late night mistakes in Minneapolis. Namely, a child and, perhaps, a reformed life for his partner in debauchery. But then it turns out she's lying and just needs money to get out of jail. Presumably so she can continue to drink and do... other things. As always, tales like these gain a rare dignity in hands of Mr. Waits.
5. "Baby It's Cold Outside" by Frank Loesser
Generally one of the more fucked up Christmas standards. Just remember, in 1944, when this song was written, it wasn't called date rape. It was called manliness.
4. "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" by John Denver
Leave it to John Denver to put this steaming pile of mood killer right in the middle of a festive holiday album. It's the most depressing Christmas song this side of "Christmas Shoes" (which... don't get us started). There's something about the simplistic appeals of this young narrator that make the song a strictly laugh or cry experience. Laughter, we should be clear, would only be the result of shock.
3. "Winter in the Pub" by Kissing Party
Now that we're looking at this, maybe we shouldn't have advocated these as drinking songs. Here's another bummer from Denver band Kissing Party, although unlike #4, we actually enjoy listening to this one.
2. "The Hanukah Song" by Adam Sandler
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Not everyone reads the New Testament. It's easy to forget at this time of year, when all our efforts of political correctness don't change the fact that we've completely institutionalized a Christian holiday. Call it a holiday parade all you want, we all know what you actually mean. But there are a few voices from other religious groups loud enough to achieve pop culture ubiquity. And Adam Sandler is chief among them with his excellent and irreverent Hanukah song. Remember, everybody, to drink your gin and tonikah.
1. "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues
It's a bit more popular in the Motherland, but this is straight-up one of the best Christmas songs of all time on any subject. In fact, this is just an awesome song, period. With the adulation dispensed, let's get down to it: Within seconds the scene has been set in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve, and from there, it becomes a rude, ugly, profane love song, and an exceedingly honest one. Yes, there are regrets, yes, you could read this as the worst relationship ever. Us? We choose to imagine it as something different, a poem to what we're all willing to give up for love. What's more Christmasy than that?