Last weekend’s SantaCon was another reminder that it’s the worst thing in the world. Well, that might be slightly hyperbolic, but as much as I love Santa and pub crawls (and I swear to Donner and Blitzen I do), the combination of both annually results in the most belligerent degenerate convention turning our fair streets into a red and white Yule tide of bodily fluids and douche chills. It’s terrible, and brings out the humbug in all of us.
But if this year’s SantaCon had one positive aspect (and believe us, it had exactly one positive aspect) it was its comfortable distance from Christmas itself. Yes, the week-and-a-half buffer allows us to find a way to purge our brains of it and allow us to fall in love with Jolly Old St. Nick once again. To help rekindle a winter love that may only be jingling part of the way, we suggest firing up Netflix to check out the great new I Am Santa Claus documentary, and then listening to our playlist, here:
Tiny Tim – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (1996) You’ve probably heard “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” before in some capacity, either singing it in some holiday choir or through John Cougar Mellencamp covering it on any number of Christmas compilations. We’re sure you probably haven’t heard it like this, our favorite version, by the finest in falsetto, Tiny Tim. Tim’s take on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” captures a perfect childlike wonder in the tune, when the joy of Christmas is completely overwhelming and the senses are illuminated by the majesty of the season. We much prefer it to Tim’s wildly inappropriate ’80s novelty record about Santa Claus getting AIDS.
Akim – “Santa Claus Is a Black Man” (1973) A different take on the “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” concept came from the adorable Akim, daughter of Brooklyn songwriter Teddy Vann, who penned “Power of Love (Love Power)” for Luther Vandross. Vann wrote the track for his daughter and it’s since become both a resonant statement of black power as well as a one-of-a-kind sweeter-than-sweet holiday tiding. Remaining a cult favorite to this day, it even got a shout-out from Keith Murray on A Very Special Christmas 3‘s “Santa Baby” seasonal posse cut.
Treacherous Three – “XMas Rap (Uncensored)” (1982) If you’ve seen the classic early hip-hop masterpiece Wild Style, you’re familiar with the holiday greatness that is Treacherous Three’s “XMas Rap.” Known as “Santa Rap” on their single, both it and the soundtrack versions had to be cleaned up a bit for public consumption. This original uncensored versions, as found on the five-disc Sugar Hill Records anthology, gives us the tale of a disgruntled Santa’s perspective as he verbally jousts with disappointed children and explains the meaning of Christmas.
Al Hirt – “Hooray for Santa Claus” (1964) Turning 50 years old this year is Al Hirt’s recording of Milton DeLugg’s “Hooray for Santa Claus.” While the original is the kiddie-sung theme from the immortal cult classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Hirt’s version largely replaces the kid’s voice with his incredible trumpet soloing. While Hirt may be most familiar to audiences for the opening theme to Mr. Magoo, here his virtuoso trumpet-playing absolutely shines. We also appreciate the Christmas restraint he displayed on this release by not retitling it “Hirt-Ray for Santa Claus.”
Rudolph & The Gang – “Here Comes Fatty Clause” (1982) Finally, a folk novelty song about the parents who make the fun of Santa possible. Rudolph & The Gang’s “Here Comes Fatty Clause” has all the markings of a classic one-off joke 45. Released on Yuletide Records with a name that seasonally appropriates a popular artist, it features sped-up vocals, unexpected cussing, and just a warm, folksy joke tone. For those of you struggling to get through the end of that holiday shopping, it’s a great way to vent your frustration with Santa.
See also: 9 Fantastic Old-School Hip-Hop Christmas Songs