The holidays come but once a year, and in a hot garbage year like 2018, there’s a good chance that this season will catch you in your feelings rather than in the spirit. Upbeat Christmas music can feel like a splash of cold toilet water directly into your butt hole. Here are a few sad, sad Christmas songs you can put on when your grandma gives you the aux chord on the way to midnight mass that won’t make you want to puke all the candy canes you ate when you were drunk on the nog last night.
Please Come Home for Christmas - The Eagles
The sad boys of dad rock have got your back this Christmas. This tune matches your Christmas blues with lines like “my baby’s gone/I have no friends.” If you swap baby for bong and friends for weed then I think we can all relate to these Christmas blues.
Play this if you want to prompt your dad to tell the story of the time he forgot to buy your mom a Christmas gift and found himself in the doghouse on Christmas eve.
Last Christmas - Taylor Swift
There’s nothing sadder than listening to Taylor Swift talk about her exes post-thank u, next. Feeling resentful or pouty or white-girl jaded is so 2008 to early-2018. Making resolutions to spite your ex is still a vibe though. “This year, to save me from tears/ I’ll give it to someone special.” If you’re feeling like Santa and his elves did you dirty this holiday season, country Taylor gets it.
Play this to drown out the sound of A Christmas Story on TBS starting over for the 45th time.
Blue Christmas - The Lumineers
Yeah, the original Elvis version is pretty blue, but what is sadder than four Coloradans in wide brimmed hats trying to croon? This has all the characteristic Lumineers touches you need to lean in to the blue: strummy acoustic guitar, a tinkling tambourine that is decidedly not Christmas bells, an ethereal and unintelligible female voice. “You’ll be doin’ all right/with your Christmas of white/but I’ll have a blue, blue Christmas” listening to the only band that GETS ME GRANDAD.
Play this to spite your Elvis loving elders.
River - Joni Mitchell
This, like most good Christmas content, is only tangentially Christmas content. “I wish I had a river I could skate away on” most of the time I’m traveling during the holidays, so play this downer while paying too much money for a tiny mixed drink on your Southwest flight because “I’m selfish and I’m sad and I done lost the best baby that I ever had.”
Play this to signal to your cool aunt that you’re ready for that walk around the block to talk shit about your wild cousin.
Christmas Time is Here - Vince Guaraldi
This classic is straight Christmas song Xanax- a heavy, addictive downer that you can probably find tucked away in your parents’ record collection. A few years ago, I played this song while cutting an onion for a casserole and when it hit the second repeat someone took over my task. Highly recommend.
Play this when you’re left alone with the little ones because it’s Snoopy! and they should learn about the depth of human sadness as soon as possible.
Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Plastic Ono Band, The Harlem Community Choir
If you want to be read as a lazy trash bag who isn’t doing enough for your own self improvement and for the world’s, this is your tune. It goes hard right from the opening line: “So this is Christmas, and what have you done” yeah, I mean, you know we are currently at war in seven countries and I haven’t done a goddamn thing this year! It’s cool, though, because when you put this song on your MAGA dad will tell you that this is his go-to Christmas tune causing a crack in your understanding of reality that makes the rest of the stay in your childhood room more interesting. (RIP John, keep up with Yoko here, donate to a Harlem Choir here, and remember that vets are just people who also need healthcare)
Play this when you can’t decide if you should or should not engage in your family’s heated debate on Beto.
Here’s the playlist. Merry Christmas you sad, filthy animals. Let’s hope Santa brings us a fresh avoidance technique for 2019.