Holiday music seems pretty innocent. After all, children sing it, malls blast it in every store, and radio stations play it from Thanksgiving till 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Day. It’s part of the generally family-friendly holiday season. But many holiday songs are actually very sexual. Some imply that the narrator is definitely getting laid. Some tunes are obvious about it, but others are subtle. Those songs mention a lot of sexual snuggling: snuggling inside in front of the fireplace, snuggling in a sleigh, etc. Also, stopping under the mistletoe. But there are some songs that you won’t ever realize are about sex until you listen closely to the lyrics... and once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it. Enjoy this list of holiday songs that are about sex, ranked from obvious to subtle.
1. "Santa Baby"
What makes this song so sexual is that every performer always sings it in the sexiest voice possible. What creeps me out is that Santa isn’t a sexual figure. He’s grandfatherly and jolly. And yet the singer is heavily flirting with him to get some expensive gifts. When she says, “Santa, baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring,/ I don't mean on the phone,” does she want Santa to propose? Uh, he’s a married, elderly man.
2. "Baby, It’s Cold Outside"
Okay, it’s very obvious that this song is about sex. In fact, it’s a song about date rape. The whole song is about someone trying to make an exit after having drinks at another person’s home, but the person keeps insisting they stay. The giveaway line is “Say, what’s in this drink?” Fun fact: the vocal parts in “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” were originally designated as the mouse (the first voice) and the wolf (the second voice).
Are you creeped out yet? The song is usually performed with a woman singing the mouse part and a man singing the wolf part. However, when song was originally performed in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter, in a second scene, there was a man singing the mouse part and a woman singing the wolf part. A more innocuous reading of the song could be that the mouse isn’t sure if she wants to go, and the wolf is convincing her, but to me, “The answer is no” is a pretty clear denial of consent.
3. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
The song starts, “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus,” but who is Mommy really kissing? It’s unlikely that it’s actually Santa Claus. It could be the speaker’s dad dressed up as Santa Claus. He sings, “If Daddy had only seen / Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night,” so maybe he didn’t recognize his dad? Or maybe it’s another man altogether. The plot thickens... Also, Mommy is tickling Santa Claus. Things are getting frisky over here.
4. "All I Want For Christmas Is You"
We’re talking about the original Mariah Carey version here. This song wins the award for most sensual riffing ever. But also, the conceit of this song is that the speaker wants her significant other for Christmas. Let’s be real, wants = wants to have sex with. She sings, “’Cause I just want you here tonight/Holding on to me so tight.” And doing some other things too, probably.
5. "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm"
The very premise of this song is that the narrator doesn’t care how much it’s snowing because it’s a great excuse to cuddle (and more) with a significant other: “Why do I care how much it may storm / I've got my love to keep me warm.” It’s a modern update to the carpe diem poems like Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” that argue, "We might as well have sex because life is short and we'll be dead soon." Also, there’s a whole verse dedicated to the removing of clothing: "Off with my overcoat / Off with my gloves / I need no overcoat / I'm burning with love."
Burning with love, huh? Not exactly PG-rated. I feel like eventually all the clothes are going to come off.
6. "Merry Christmas Baby"
This one’s all about the performance. Both the Otis Redding and the Johnny Moore's Three Blazers with Charles Brown versions are very sexy. The way they sing it, the line, “I feel like I'm gonna kiss you / Standing beneath that mistletoe” could make you weak in the knees.
7. "You’re All I Want For Christmas"
This is more tame compared to “All I Want For Christmas is You,” but it’s the same idea.
8. "Sleigh Ride"
This song features a very sexual sleigh ride. "Our cheeks are nice and rosy / And comfy cozy are we / We're snuggled up together / Like two birds of a feather would be." Sorry, but there’s no way they’re just snuggling back there. Is hooking up in the back of a sleigh the winter equivalent of hooking up in the back of a cab?
9. "What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve"
This song is a seduction masquerading as a very innocent question. The speaker sings, “Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight / When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night,” but what she means is “Hopefully I will be holding you and also doing other stuff to you.”
10. "A Holly Jolly Christmas"
There’s only sexual line in this, but it’s enough, “Somebody waits for you / Kiss her once for me.” It really creeps me out. The speaker is like, “Hey, say hi to your girlfriend for me, except instead of saying hi, kiss her for me.” Not loving the whole male ownership vibe here.
11. "Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree"
"Rockin' around the Christmas tree / At the Christmas party hop / Mistletoe hung where you can see / Every couple tries to stop." Yeah, I’ll bet they do. Also everyone is definitely getting laid tonight.
12. "Let It Snow"
Another meditation on the theme “It’s snowing outside so we might as well have sex": "Oh, the weather outside is frightful / But the fire is so delightful / And since we've no place to go / Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." Also, “The lights are turned way down low." Clearly there’s sexy mood lighting going on here.
Although the narrator sings, “When we finally kiss good-night / How I'll hate going out in the storm,” I doubt anyone is going home at the end of this song. They are most definitely having sex in front of the crackling fire.
13. "Marshmallow World"
"It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts / Take a walk with your favorite girl / It's a sugar date, what if spring is late/In winter it's a marshmallow world." Who cares if winter is long, more time for sex!
14. "Winter Wonderland"
So, in this song, two people build a snowman and ask it to officiate their wedding. Cute idea, but I’m not sure that’s a legal marriage: "In the meadow we can build a snowman / And pretend that he is Parson Brown / He'll say are you married we say no man / But you can do the job when you're in town."
Then later in the song, you get an idea of why they were trying to get married so urgently that they let an inanimate object officiate: “Later on we'll conspire as we dream by the fire / To face unafraid of the plans that we made.” Plans TO HAVE SEX for the first time. Tonight. Since this song was written in 1934, premarital sex was a no-no, so this is their attempt to get married before they do the deed? A for effort.
Published December 8, 2015
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Madeline Raynor is a New York City-based writer. She is a Blog Editor at BUST. She has written for Splitsider, The Billfold, Death and Taxes, Mashable, Indiewire, and Time Out New York. She loves all things Tina Fey. Word to the wise: her first name is pronounced with a long “i,” like the red-haired girl from France. Follow her on Twitter @madelineraynor_.