I hesitated to write this one today, because I’m not going to be writing reviews of just songs that I hate. Snark is fun, but it’s Christmas, dammit, and I want to be jolly. But Brand Gamblin and Jason Ramboz begged for it yesterday, and I figured I’d get it out of the way. It must be written about. I gotta get it out of my system.
Actually, I got tons of suggestions for future reviews. So I will be doing Christmas Wrapping, Dominic The Donkey, Wonderful Christmastime, and Baby It’s Cold Outside. If you have requests for reviews, leave them in the comments!
So. Christmas Shoes. Hans Christian Anderson’s skeleton is nodding happily to itself somewhere, so very pleased that people are still writing maudlin death stories for the holidays. Mama and the Little Matchstick Girl, hand in hand!
This review will contain swear words. It can’t be helped.
It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
Tryin’ to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood
Is anyone in the Christmas mood while shopping? For me, I get to the store, smile at the decorations, but by the time I’m in line, I have exhaustion, anxiety that I’ve purchased the wrong thing or annoyance that I’ve not found what I wanted, and just want some hot chocolate or gin, or hot chocolate AND gin, and my home and a Christmas movie (Something better than The Christmas Shoes, a made for TV movie based on this song). That is to say, dude in line, you’re not unique in this feeling.
Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing ’round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes
OK, so there’s a kid (who needs to pee) in front of him. Carrying shoes. Nothing too weird about this on the surface, but not a lot of kids buy adult things on their own with no adult nearby. Kind of odd.
Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight
So kid, what you’re telling me is, your mom is dying (presumably of cancer, or more likely movie disease) and instead of being by her side, you’re shopping. No, your DAD has told you there isn’t much time, so that implies he knows you’re out here and you’re buying shoes instead of being with your mom. “There’s not a lot of time, Timmy, come back ‘afore she’s dead, OK? I’ll text you if she looks like she’s goin’.”
And I get that you want the pretty shoes, but your mom is likely in a hospital gown, and the best shoes in the world are NOT going to spruce that up. Also, you never see cadavers’ feet in the coffins, so she won’t need these for the viewing. I’d go for a pair of earrings, myself.
And fuck, kid, what kind of god do you worship that’s going to judge your mama on her accessories? Is that a Commandment I haven’t heard of? I’m suddenly seeing Jesus as Carson from Queer Eye who just rolls his eyes and purses his lips when you get to him, saying that you’re going straight to hell for those Birkenstocks.
And I know this is cynical, that it’s sweet that he wants to do this. But honestly, he should be with his family, and if they’re this poor, save the goddamn money for a morphine drip.
He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me
He said Mama made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me Sir, what am I going to do,
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes
DUDE YOU ARE BEING PLAYED. Those big eyes, the sob story… The little shit probably doesn’t have a sick mom; he is going to turn right around and return the shoes and go buy some licorice or Bey Blades or whatever kids are buying these days.
So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
Mama’s gonna look so great
I’m sorry kid, but she’s not. In fact, someone sick with movie disease is usually pale and emaciated, with limp hair. Mama’s going to need a LOT more than shoes to make her look great.
And what the fuck are we teaching our kids that the most important thing at a deathbed is how you look? How obsessed are we with women’s beauty being the most important thing in the world that a boy is worried his Mama is going to hell because she wears Keds?
And Jesus said unto them, ‘Lo, it’s easier for a rich man to fit through the eye of a needle than a woman with shit shoes to get to heaven.”
I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about
OH MY FUCKING THOR. GOD PLANNED THIS?
God: “Hm, there’s a mortal who isn’t feeling the spirit of Christmas. Let me dedicate my all-powerful mind to solving this problem. Hey! I’ll send a little boy with a dying mom in to need his help, and then he will feel warm and fuzzy inside!”
Dying Mama: “Um. Over here? Dying?”
God: “No, sorry, I need you, see. If you’re not dying then this man won’t see the true meaning of Christmas.”
Dying Mama: “I will see the true meaning of Christmas if you heal me.”
God: “Hush. This man’s epiphany is more important than some poor dying woman.”
This view of God is utterly, completely baffling to me. God has infinite power, and he shows it by FUCKING UP SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE JUST SO YOU CAN GET A WARM FUZZY BY HELPING THEM (and remember it’s a fake problem the kid has created, the ugly-shoes-that-make-Jesus-hate-you.) God doesn’t make life actually any better. He just puts you in a situation where you can let your Visa make you feel good even though the kid’s mom is going to fucking die anyway… But that’s OK, cause the narrator is who we’re following, not the kid. The narrator goes home to some eggnog and carols, and maybe decorates a tree and ponders the true Meaning of Christmas, yay warm fuzzies and fa la la. The kid goes back to his shack, or the hospital his father can never hope to pay for, and his mom’s probably so far gone she won’t even see the shoes, and he’ll always remember Mom died on Christmas, and fuck Christmas and Jesus anyway cause Jesus didn’t lift a finger to save my mom because he was too busy MAKING SOME FUCK FEEL THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.
So. What has this song taught us?
Christmas is about looking good even if the last thing you want in the world is to shove your feet into the torture devices that is women’s shoes. Christmas is about leaving your mother’s deathbed in order to go shopping. Christmas is about worrying if you look good enough for Jesus.
Also, you see God’s work when He shows you people who need help, but He doesn’t actually help them Himself. Let the poor woman die, what’s important is we’ve taught this man an important lesson!
God has fucked up priorities. That’s what this song is telling me.