The Least Liked Holiday Songs Of 2012

When it comes to holiday music, one particular novelty song is still a total dog.

“Jingle Bells” by the Singing Dogs—the 1955 version of the holiday standard that is actually barked, not sung, is still the most-disliked holiday song, according to a new holiday music test by Edison Research. The Singing Dogs are joined in the Ten Most-Disliked holiday songs by another equally disliked take on “Jingle Bells,” other holiday novelties going back to the ‘40s, and the less-than-reverential “South Park” take on “O Holy Night.”

Edison conducted a nationwide study of more than 200 women, ages 30-to-49, who said they liked or loved hearing Christmas music on the radio. The research, done on behalf of Adult Contemporary radio stations that go all-holiday music during November and December, follows similar research in 2004 and 2007. It’s the first test to include recent holiday music from Taylor Swift, Michael Bublé, Lady Antebellum, the “Glee” Cast, Justin Bieber, and more.

Since 2004, Edison’s research has shown a preference for the holiday standards. This year’s best-testing holiday song was the late Andy Williams’ “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Newer holiday songs have a hard time gaining attention, which is why all-holiday formats often tend to concentrate on multiple interpretations of holiday mainstays. However, certain other holiday novelties, such as “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” continue to test well.

These are the ten most-disliked holiday songs of 2012 in descending order:

  1. 1. Singing Dogs, “Jingle Bells”
  2. 2. Beach Boys, “The Man With All The Toys”
  3. 3. Spike Jones, “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”
  4. 4. Barbra Streisand, “Jingle Bells”
  5. 5. Elmo & Patsy, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”
  6. 6. Cartman, “O Holy Night”
  7. 7. Seymour Swine & Squeelers, “Blue Christmas” (the version that features a Porky Pig-soundalike stammering his way through the Elvis Presley standard)
  8. 8. Neil Diamond, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
  9. 9. Mannheim Steamroller, “Deck The Halls”
  10. 10. Little Jimmy Boyd, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

For more information on how your group, station or music supplier can use the Edison 2012 Christmas Music Test, contact Sean Ross, Melissa DeCesare, or Larry Rosin at 908-707-4707.

38 replies
  1. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I can’t support any list that doesn’t rank “Christmas Shoes” as not only the worst Christmas song ever, but the worst SONG ever, period!

    • Shelly
      Shelly says:

      I have to agree with Melissa. I think
      “Christmas Shoes” is the worst of all songs. Doesn’t anybody listen to the words, they’re just plain stupid. It’s like nails on a chalkboard everytime I hear it.

    • Larry
      Larry says:

      There are lots of stinkers on the air during the holidays. Let’s hurry up and get through the mess and the madness. It only hurts for a little while. Everyone have a nice winter solstice.

    • Big Jay Sorensen
      Big Jay Sorensen says:

      “Don, that song was one of the most contrived pieces of audio ever put on magnetic tape. That said, the SINGLE version of “Little St. Nick” never gets old. Especially the line, “Christmas comes this time each year.” Duh. But a pleasant little short original holijay song. The others are all ringers. I’m sure that every classic hits station will STILL play “The Man With All The Toys” because they THINK they must, because it’s the Beach Boys. To me, it’s like playing “You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)” instead of “Let It Be.” Just my two cents. Let the games begin. Love ya Donny boy. BE BIG! Der Bingle

  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    I love the Top 5 personally but could see where 1,3,4 and 5 would be issues. Im surprised at number 2. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Cartman on any serious Christmas station. Seymore Swine is another guilty pleasure that I could see burning quick, same with Jimmy Boyd. Number 9 is the biggest puzzler. And where is Christmas Shoes and Faith Hill moaning Where Are You Christmas, two terrible records that get way too much airplay.

  3. Ballz97FM
    Ballz97FM says:

    I hate to say this but I feel like a lot of Christian bible-thumpers were involved in this survey. Makes sense since it’s about Christmas music and the respondents were old(er) women. But the Cartman song is hilarious and Barbra Streisand (yes, a Jew)’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” is awesome. Mannheim Steamroller’s “Deck The Halls” is a hated Christmas song? I feel like I’m being punk’d.

    • DDP
      DDP says:

      You call “30-49″, OLD? That says a lot about you. And why not Christians? Christmas IS a Christian holiday you know. If you celebrate Christmas you must be a Christian and if you aren’t then you are a hypocrite. Just saying…

  4. Steve Clem
    Steve Clem says:

    Great work from Edison once again!

    One reason I think Christmas music is so difficult for some programmers is that there is always the desire to “freshen it up”…and, with this format, the tried and true hits wins every time in multiple station Christmas battles.

    • Linda
      Linda says:

      Ditto, Gary. Number 9 was the biggest surprise to me, too. And Streisand puts her special touch on everything she sings with that phenomenal voice of hers, although I don’t remember her version of Jingle Bells.

  5. Lee Elliot
    Lee Elliot says:

    Puhleaze. Sean explained the sample is 200 Women aged 30-50 or a little over that amount. I can see why most of these songs are on the “coal in the stocking” list. I have literally 4000 Xmas songs at my disposal and every year we are inundated with more. I’m surprised there isn’t more testing being done.

  6. Steve Clem
    Steve Clem says:

    Actually, there IS a lot more Christmas testing being done…by other research companies and by individual stations. But the results are the nearly identical every time. It is the home-run songs we’ve been listening to the past 40 or 50 years…the titles that evoke the “mood” of the holidays that people still love.

    And Manheim Steamroller and the Beach Boys always test below the others. Transiberian Orchesra, on the other hand, has managed to place a couple of holiday songs “Christmas Eve (Sarejevo)” and “Christmas Canon” in the top or second tier of holiday songs, on most tests I have seen.

  7. George Woods
    George Woods says:

    Pleased to say that NONE of these are on any of the six channels of Christmas music at After a great response when the 3 Smooth Jazz Christmas channels were introduced a few years ago, listeners wrote to ask for traditional songs. The response to the first traditional channel was very strong and all positive. Two more followed and same response. This year will see a couple of more traditional channels added to the batch (around Thanksgiving if you want to see what’s on them. Oh yeah—the Barbra Streisand version of “Jingle Bells” has nothing to do with her being Jewish….it’s just a really bad attempt to be “different.” Different as in stinkin’ rotten modifications!

  8. Michael McDowell/Blitz Magazine
    Michael McDowell/Blitz Magazine says:

    I concur with #2 not belonging on that list. It has been subject to overkill in recent years, but not enough to make it that reviled.

    Speaking of overkill, over the past few years, an otherwise gem of a classic known as The Christmas Song by Nat “King” Cole has been so run into the ground that if I ever hear it again, it will be too soon.

    Hopefully sympathy for Andy Williams won’t push his respective monster classic in that direction this year….

  9. scott s.
    scott s. says:

    I only wish Paul Mccartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” was in the top 10…proof that anything put out by a beatle, even largely meaningless babble, will get played to death.

  10. Ronnie Lankford, Jr.
    Ronnie Lankford, Jr. says:

    I don’t usually think of Christmas songs as being polarizing . . . Although I’d guess that over-playing any Bing Crosby holiday song would be less offensive (even if we grow tired of it) than any carol or Christmas song by Cartman!

  11. Larry Weil
    Larry Weil says:

    The worst Chanukkah song IMO is the one by Adam Sandler. Some people think this is the only Chanukkah music out there, but there actually is a rich tradition of songs for the other winter religious holiday.

  12. John Phillips
    John Phillips says:

    When I hear “Blue Christmas” by Elvis, I lunge for the radio quicker than “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton. That is special territory.

  13. Dave Mason
    Dave Mason says:

    What we might be missing here is the ability of (many) of us to determine the musical value of a given song. Some serve no purpose other than to ANNOY after the first hearing. Spike Jones was a comedic genius who took purposely did lousy music. Don Charles and The Singing Dogs was a bit. Just a funny bit good enough to be on the charts as a novelty, but with no lasting credibility. If it’s true that the sample was 200 women, I’d like to congratulate the Arbitron PPM department for putting together yet another wonderfully sampled piece of research.

  14. Keith Mitchell
    Keith Mitchell says:

    I’ve always had Mannheim Steamroller on Christmas lists and felt that it didn’t belong. Thanks for confirming it finally. Never got the appeal.

  15. shirley romano
    shirley romano says:

    The Joyfull Noise Tour, provided by Clay Aiken set the standard for the most beautiful Christmas music ever sung, and it has become a tradition in our house to listen to Clay Aiken’s Christmas music all during that most festive season. This year Clay is bringing his Joyful Noise Tour to my neighbordhood, and I will be there with many friends and some family to listen,once again to that extraordinary voice, singing this beautiful music and it will make the season festive once again.

  16. Demodave
    Demodave says:

    Here is one that classic rock stations play that makes me cringe every time it plays…

    Billy Squier’s “Christmas is the time to say I love you”.


  17. John Kier
    John Kier says:

    My favorite era in music is ’60’s and the first half of the ’70’s, but for Christmas pop music, I like ’40’s, ’50’s and ’60’s best. I really don’t care for much in the way of Christmas pop music after John Lennon’s 1971 “Happy Christmas.”

  18. Dave
    Dave says:

    I guess even Barbra Streisand hits a clinker once in a while. Sometimes South Park carries something into excess. Even though I did snicker at the fight between Jesus and Santa Claus,a South Park rendition of “O Holy Night” is bound to stretch the limits of bad taste. And, on the whole, I like Mannheim Steamroller and their Christmas albums. I would have added Madonna’s reboot of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” But the classics endure and, like others have said, I hope they won’t feel the need to overplay Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, and Bing Crosby. Happy Holidays to all!

  19. Jay B.
    Jay B. says:

    It’s actually very difficult to choose the worst song or the worst rendition of the Christmas music. There are too many cheesy and plain bad Christmas songs. However, to ruin the “O, Holy Night” should be considered almost a crime. One can’t go wrong with the classics.

  20. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    So you took a poll of some random women in a very narrow age bracket (because they are the only ones who listen to Christmas music right?)…and whats more horrifying is that instead of pointing out something actually terrible, like “Christmas Shoes” a song thats designed to make you feel like garbage around the holidays…by force and guilt, you single out a song written by a known musical genius, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. “Man With All The Toys” is a masterpiece of songwriting…I challenge you try to make a memorable radio hit thats under two minutes these days and actually have the vocal talent to sing and harmonize without digital effects! It is not done in the top-40 world, instead you value quantity to quality and few can write a song this catchy and capture the joy of the season. I’m ashamed to be a women and you ladies are perpetuating a bad image for us all.. though I may be younger than this demographic polled, I feel a whole lot wiser…

  21. Seymour Tinsel
    Seymour Tinsel says:

    The only people who listen to Christmas music on the radio are women in their 30s? I could have sworn there were TWO genders plus people younger and older who love the mood evoked by the songs of the season. And most of them — as is the majority of the U.S. population – are, in fact, Christians (although that’s hardly a prerequisite). There are actually three different kinds of Yuletide tunes: the sentimental/romantic (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Merry Christmas Darling”); the Frosty-Rudolph-Santa fantasy fun (“Little Saint Nick,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”) and the carols (“Silent Night,” “O Holy Night”). Everyone has their own favorites among them – and tunes they can’t stand. The same is true in any genre of music. Keep in mind that Christmas always marks yet another milestone in our lives. It’s a time when we stop, reflect, count our blessings and fondly recall Christmases long gone yet never to be forgotten. That’s one reason why traditional tunes — especially the original hit recordings of those songs — resonate so deeply in our hearts. For proof, listen to “The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time,” a brand-new ten-hour countdown special hosted by Wink Martindale and syndicated worldwide by Radio Express. Based on 75 years of Billboard research into the best-loved and best-selling Christmas singles and albums, it includes 25 surprise bonus tracks plus the stories behind all the songs along with Yuletide greetings and comments from nearly 160 stars.


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