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Snow is falling: the Christmas playlist that gives us (terrible) flashbacks to our retail days


by Erin Lindsay
22nd Nov 2020
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Without the hustle and bustle of a busy shopping street, are we starting to miss the Christmas songs we hated during our years in retail? 


I would have paid to never hear Shakin’ Stevens again.

Ah, the holidays. Traipsing around a packed shopping centre, pushing through queues to bag yet another Yankee candle, and the ever-increasing pressure behind the eyes as you hear ‘Step into Christmas’ for the 14th time that hour. Christmas shopping is a pain unlike any other, it’s true, but for those working the tills, it’s an entirely new level.

I wish I could say I remember my days working in retail at Christmas fondly, but that would be a rotten lie, and we all know how Santa feels about liars. Not even the Domino’s delivery on Christmas Eve (eaten on the floor in the back) could ease my incandescent rage at the general public at this time of year, who seemed to deliver their holiday spirit with a generous helping of crazy. Christmas is the time of loving and giving, it’s true, but we all tend to forget about that when we venture to the shops to stock up. But this year, our usual Christmas mood swings are taking a back seat.

With two more weeks of Level 5 restrictions to go, Ireland’s retail outlets have been largely closed for the beginning of the Christmas season, and, believe it or not, it seems that people are really missing the experience – especially the music.

Midweek data from the Official Charts Company in the U.K shows that sales and streams of Christmas classics are up more than 50% compared with the equivalent week in 2019. Spotify has also reported an increase in Christmas song listening figures, with the 10 most popular festive songs on the service seeing an average 25% increase in listenership in October 2020 compared to previous years. Christmas classics, including Mariah Carey, Wham! and Wizzard have all re-entered the Top 100, and may battle it out for the top spot for this year’s festivities.

The news of people’s affection for the shopping centre Christmas playlist got me reminiscing to my own time working retail, and the songs that truly scarred my soul for life. Here are just a few of those fateful tunes, and how I’d rate them now.

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

Look, it’s a classic, she’s an icon, all of this is true. The initial “Iiiiii” is truly the first herald of the Christmas season, and it does tend to get me excited. However, like all good Christmas tunes, when you hear it for the 45th time, it starts to wane a little. But still, a solid tune is a solid tune.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas – Bing Crosby

I actually quite like the old-style Christmas swing songs, and this Bing Crosby classic doesn’t fill me with dread like its more modern counterparts. Listening to this feels like mulled wine and watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ – an A+ way to spend a December day.

Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney

Hands-down the worst Christmas song of all time. McCartney really dropped his genius ball with this one. You can’t just repeat the same line 40,576 times and call it a Christmas song. This one haunts me in my sleep.

Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens

Again, repeating the same line over and over again can really make you question your sanity when you listen to this.

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty McColl

Hands-down the best Christmas song of all time. You can really entertain yourself by counting how many dads come up to you when this is playing and tell you that Kirsty McColl died in a jet ski accident as if you had never heard that piece of information before.

Stop the Calvary – Jona Lewie

Great anti-war message here, but they really could have done with recruiting someone who didn’t have the most boring voice of all time to do the singing.

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Wizzard

This is actually quite a fun song, but the downside is it encourages every ‘gas ticket’ within a 20-metre radius to scream “IT’S CHRIIIIIISTMAS”, believing himself to be the absolute peak of comedy. Please don’t ever do this.


Read more: RuthAnne Cunningham on Irish Women in Harmony coming together for a Christmas song

Read more: 5 underrated festive albums that belong on those Christmas playlists

Read more: Your favourite Christmas song is actually about date rape, sorry

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