The holiday season has arrived, and even if you were doing early Christmas shopping well before Halloween, you’re now going to be constantly bombarded with advertising. Whether you still have cable, listen to podcasts or spend your time flipping through YouTube videos, you’re certainly going to be hearing about a lot of “big savings” and “once in a lifetime” deals of which you need to take advantage. Just make sure that you read the fine print.
You’re also going to be hearing non-stop Christmas music between the ads. Getting harrassed by the same few songs (and usually, the same covers) is just something to which you have to adjust every December. Everyone has a few Christmas songs that really, really rub them the wrong way. Did anyone notice that “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” isn't really Christ-like? Isn’t the kid who sings “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas” the most obnoxious singer ever? Isn’t “Santa Baby” just way too suggestive to be played in shopping malls?
Thankfully, we do get a few new fun holiday albums every year, and it’s great to see some of our favorite artists get in the holiday spirit. That said, musicians and celebrities are looking to make a few bucks before the end of the year, and some are a little too keen on profiting off our affinity for holiday carols. It’s the type of commercialism that Charlie Brown has been trying to warn us about for years. We may have some celebrity Christmas albums that turn us into a Grinch, but some are just plain bonkers. Here are a few of the weirdest holiday tracks we’ve found.
Seth MacFarlane’s Holiday for Swing
Remember when Seth MacFarlane, the famously crude creator of Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, and the Ted movies, decided to take himself seriously as a Frank Sinatra-esque media figure? Following his controversial stint hosting the Oscars, MacFarlane doubled down on his legitimacy by releasing this classical rendition of several holiday favorites. It’s not bad, it’s just weird to hear a voice we all know as “Stewie” singing “Jingle Bells.” CeeLo’s Magic Moment
Here’s another performer we wouldn’t have expected to be playing it relatively straight. While CeeLo’s personality isn’t absent from this yuletide album, he surprisingly gives some pretty touching, soulful renditions of classic tunes. His homage to Stevie Wonder’s “That’s What Christmas Means To Me” is surprisingly strong; you probably wouldn’t know it was CeeLo if you heard it on the radio. Hilary Duff’s Santa Claus Lane
We’ve already lived though '70s nostalgia, '80s nostalgia and '90s nostalgia but post-Y2K nostalgia is having its turn. We are fully expecting Hillary Duff to have a music career resurgence of some sort. At the peak of her fame during the Lizzy McGuire era, Duff released this pop cover album of several holiday classics. It’s a bit of an oddity; the most memorable tracks are those performed by Duff’s guest stars, including Christina Milian, Romeo Miller and her older sister, Haylie. Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album Star Wars takes place “a long time ago,” right? So why would anyone in the Star Wars universe know about a holiday like Christmas (which wouldn’t be invented until several millennia later)? That logic was apparently lost on the creators of this forgotten Star Wars Christmas album, which dropped in December after The Empire Strikes Back’s release and Star Wars items were flying off the shelves. If you really need to hear songs like “What Do You Get A Wookie For Christmas?” and “R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” then you’re in luck! David Hasselhoff's The Night Before Christmas
David Hasselhoff seems self-aware enough to be able to poke fun at himself, but the actor's ego reached its peak during the holiday season of 2004 when he released this eardrum-shattering Christmas record. To make it worse, he even does some a cappella work. This isn’t even worth a “hate listen.” Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics
Holiday controversies are a staple of South Park, and the show continues to churn out fun holiday episodes to this day, as somehow the series is still on the air. Back in Season 3, the Christmas turd “Mr. Hankey” delighted the characters by singing and performing several holiday singles. Apparently, kids loved his offensive tunes so much that the music was compiled into a studio album. Shatner Claus –The Christmas Album
William Shatner has a truly odd side career in which he reads the lyrics to famous songs. We can’t exactly call it “singing.” His Christmas album is one of his most bizarre, particularly due to the cover art of Captain Kirk himself decked out in red as “Shatner Claus.” Christopher Lee’s A Heavy Metal Christmas
Christopher Lee has played some of the most iconic movie villains of all time, including The Lord of the Rings’ Saruman, Star Wars’ Count Dooku, The Wicker Man’s Lord Summeraisle, the James Bond bad guy Scarmanga and Count Dracula. He’s also an accomplished heavy metal musician. Never doubt someone’s age. At 90 years old, Lee released this metal Christmas collection. Tales From the Crypt: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas
The Tales From The Crypt holiday album sounds like the writers had a lot of fun brainstorming clever song titles. We’ll give them credit for “We Wish You’d Bury The Missus” and “Juggle Bills.” However, we didn’t necessarily need to hear a full album. Chance the Rapper and Jeremih's Merry Christmas Lil' Mama
This tribute to the city of Chicago is surprisingly sweet. In addition to a very fun appearance by Hannibal Burress, this laid-back composition was extended last year with The Gift That Keeps on Giving.Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas
Remember when Robert Downey Jr. was just Larry from Ally McBeal? In this Christmas album, he shows up only for “White Christmas,” and leaves the rest to regular star Vonda Shepard.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in About.com, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.