Why “Father Christmas” Is the Best Classic Rock Christmas Song
“Father Christmas” has played every December since the Kinks released it in 1977.
Andre Gardner called it “a breath of fresh air” for the holiday season. It’s a great break from the mold of Christmas classics that have played in shopping malls seemingly every December in world history.
Is it really a song that celebrates the holiday spirit though?
It’s certainly about Christmas, and listeners can hear Christmas bells in the background throughout the song. Ray Davies has even appeared on stage in a Santa costume to perform it.
It’s a “commentary on class warfare” with unsettling lyrics at many points in the song, however.
The thought of a gang of kids robbing a Santa Claus collecting money outside a department store is not exactly consistent with the Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby approach to Christmas music.
Is the song misinterpreted by people just looking for a holiday tune?
Probably. That’s certainly become the case with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” playing on the Fourth of July even though the lyrics are anything but a celebration of patriotism.
Is it an angry punk rock song challenging the norm of Christmas classics?
In a lot of ways, yes. It’s the perfect punk rock song to provide a unique perspective on the Christmas season.
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys
But give my daddy a job ’cause he needs one
He’s got lots of mouths to feed
The idea of poor children pushing aside Christmas gifts and looking for money and a way to survive should give listeners a genuine glimpse of reality.
Does that make “Father Christmas” a song for haters who don’t enjoy the holiday and instead just call out the flaws of people who celebrate it?
No. The final verse flawlessly wraps up the song’s message and encompasses the mixed elements of a holiday favorite to enjoy every December and a commentary on class inequality with a perspective in the big picture:
Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin’
While you’re drinkin’ down your wine
“Father Christmas” celebrates the holiday spirit with seasonal touches that differentiate from the band’s normal routine. People might misinterpret the song’s meaning sometimes, but it’s most likely with an innocently festive spirit. It wraps all of these elements together in the greatest classic rock Christmas song of all time.