With the holiday season comes holiday songs and the debate over some of those songs’ appropriateness


Some people already uncomfortable with the lyrics of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” were furthered creeped out by her video collaboration of the song with Justin Bieber as it showed a woman seemingly preying on a man half her age.

Around this time of year during the holiday season, the air is filled with excitement and happiness! Adding to that feeling is the holiday music that so many enjoy listening to, whether it be in the car or around the house! For many holiday songs, the meaning behind them is set in stone. However, for some holiday songs, the meaning is can be somewhat ambiguous, leading to a debate over the songwriter’s intent.

One very debated song is the holiday staple “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” written by Frank Loesser. Over the past few years, some people have taken to pointing out that the song has a bit of a date rape feel to it. 

The song features a flirtatious call-and-response duet between a man and his lady friend who are debating whether she should stay the night. Although ambiguous, by the song’s end, it appears the lady has decided to stay,  keeping them both warm on a cold winter’s night. However, during the song, the man becomes a bit more demanding, leading some listeners to feel his flirtation has developed into sexual coercion. At one point the woman even asks, “Say, what’s in this drink?” Roofie references in a holiday song is a bit too much for some.

Two years ago, a Wall Street Journal article on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” pointed out that the MeToo movement’s prevalence in society led to the song being more scrutinized, leading to “some radio stations … refusing to play it.” Olympic Heights Senior Shea Posner says, “The lyrics do make me uncomfortable since they have an inappropriate underlying meaning.” However, Posner adds that “All in all, it is just a song.” While the song may not intentionally portray sexual coercion, it most definitely makes people question the song’s overall tone.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey was already a controversial song as it implied that a woman’s life rotated around getting a guy. This song became even more disputed in 2011 when Carey and Justin Bieber collaborated on a version of it. Many people felt that Carey seemed to be preying on Bieber, and came to realize that it was an inappropriate song. The music video of the song only seems to enhance the inappropriateness. OH senior Arianna Wigodner disagrees with this sentiment, saying, “They’re performers, so it was probably only for the cameras.”  The truth is most likely somewhere in the middle, but there are those that find “All I Want for Christmas Is You” somewhat inappropriate. 

AP News has also weighed in on the controversy over the possible banning of some holiday songs because of offensive implications. Some of the possibly offensive songs and their implications mentioned in the AP News article include “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” which implies stalking; “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” which suggests depression should be kept hidden; and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” which endorses bullying.

Based on these holiday songs and others that have come into question, it is easy to see that one person can interpret a song one way and another person can have an exact opposite interpretation. The same goes for pretty much all songs and the meanings associated with them.

The holiday season is filled with so many different emotions! As people begin to listen to holiday music, moods change from happy to very conflicting. No one will ever know if their beliefs regarding holiday songs are misconceptions or the unfortunate truth. 




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