“Santa Baby” is one of Americans’ most disliked Christmas songs

Jamie BallardData Journalist
December 23, 2021, 9:21 PM UTC

With just days to go before Christmas, Americans likely have spent the last few weeks hearing Christmas songs almost everywhere they go. While most say they wanted to start hearing Christmas music in November and December, many have at least one song that drives them crazy. 

YouGov asked Americans what they think of Christmas songs. The shortlist was based on the top responses to a 2020 survey in which YouGov asked Americans to write in their least favorite Christmas song, as well as outside lists of disliked seasonal tunes. Songs that provoked an opinion in at least half of Americans were ranked by how many said they dislike them. Among the findings: Even the most disliked of well-known Christmas songs are far more liked than disliked. 

Among Americans who are familiar with the song and have an opinion on it, the 1953 song “Santa Baby” is the most-disliked Christmas song. One-third (32%) of Americans say they dislike this song, though more than twice as many (68%) say they like it. (Many of these songs have many different recorded versions over the years and our survey didn’t specify which one to rate.)

Another much-maligned Christmas song is the novelty Christmas song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The 1979 song is disliked by 31% of Americans who are familiar with it and have an opinion about it. A similar percentage (28%) dislike “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and a quarter (24%) dislike Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”

Slightly fewer say they dislike “Last Christmas,” “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” (Each is disliked by 22% of Americans) One in five (20%) dislike the 1984 song “Mary, Did You Know,” and 17% feel similarly about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Little Drummer Boy.”

Least disliked? “Jingle Bells,” which just 16% of Americans say they dislike. About five times as many (84%) say they like the song, among those who know the song and have an opinion on it.

YouGov ranked songs which more than 50% of respondents knew and had opinions on. But there were a few lesser-known songs that were widely disliked by people with an opinion. 

Dominick the Donkey” came in with only 24% of Americans who knew it and had an opinion about it. Of these, 43% said they disliked it while 57% said they liked it. Just over a quarter (27%) know “The Christmas Shoes” and have an opinion on it; 32% of this group dislikes it while 68% like it. 

More than two in five (45%) are familiar with “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” The latter proves less popular, with 40% saying they dislike it. Close to three in 10 (27%) dislike “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

Last year, YouGov asked Americans about their favorite Christmas songs. The two most-liked Christmas songs among Americans in 2020 were “Silent Night” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” tied at 13%. “O Holy Night” and “Jingle Bell Rock” were close behind at 12% each.

YouGov also asked Americans last year about their least favorite songs, a measure of recall and intensity of specific songs rather than the current rankings’ measure of dislike. “Santa Baby” ranked third as the least favorite of 8% of Americans, behind “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (17%) and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” (15%).

See the toplines and crosstabs from this U.S. News Poll

Related: Christmas 2021: How will Americans celebrate?

Methodology: The U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online December 10 - 14, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. 

Samples were rebased to only include those respondents who were familiar with the song and either liked or disliked it. The chart only shows songs where more than 50% of respondents were familiar with the song and had an opinion on it.  

Image: Getty