Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time when lovely weather rolls around that’s just perfect for a sleigh ride together with you. Assuming you don’t mind riding with a stranger in 50-degree Texas sunshine in what is technically a Chrysler Sebring convertible. People are all hopped up on the holiday spirit and actually treat each other better, as long as they’re not driving, shopping for the last animatronic/demon-possessed Elmo or posting on an internet forum under the username MacremeLover72. And commercial after commercial reminds us that with these unheard of Yuletide savings, it’s better to go into debt 40% slower than to receive a clean credit report come January 1.

Also, there’s music.

Whether you prefer listening to the Luther College Nordic Choir sing Handel’s Messiah (yes, it premiered during Lent, but who rocks the Hallelujah Chorus on Easter these days?) or Nat King Cole croon “The Christmas Song,” chances are you’ve got a particular song that instantly puts you in the mood for Yule. Personally, I like my Christmas ditties how I like my Bradys – the more carols the better. Personal favorites include “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” I’m also a sucker for the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack, but that story will have to wait for next year. Oh, and really, my favorite all-time Christmas song is Burl Ives’ rendition of “Holly Jolly Christmas.” Because, seriously people, it’s Burl Ives. The man could make the Grand Poobah of the Dunhurst Society of Druids & Cricket Players believe in the power of Christmas for at least two minutes and sixteen seconds. Suffice it to say, the music of Christmas is arguably the best ever composed.

Except when it’s the worst.

Now, for the purposes of my own design, let’s set aside contemporary Christmas-themed atrocities.  “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer” isn’t even known by anyone under 20 – and please don’t introduce it to your own kids. Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” is more Ringo than Lennon. And anything by Mannheim Steamroller should be summarily subjected to the latter half of the group’s name. “Deck the Halls” is dead to me. Thanks, Chip.

No, to me a Christmas musical tragedy must be more than a mere aberration on the pop culture scene. It’s needs to have outlasted arguably better songs through the decades (or better yet, centuries) to become ensconced in the canon of Christmas carols. A song that, though the musical equivalent of Carrot Top, gets covered by people who should know better. Like Bing Crosby and Kermit the Frog.

By now, I’m sure many of you have guessed that I’m describing “The Little Drummer Boy.” Congratulations! You’re wrong. Because even though that song has all the melodic and dramatic tension of a kindergarten play about dental hygiene, it does feature an ox and lamb who possess some sort of supernatural rhythm. How do I know it’s supernatural? Have you ever met an ox or lamb? Please.

No, my vote for the Worst Christmas Song of All Time Including Next Tuesday is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” How is this song irksome? Let us count the ways.

First, it possesses a truly annoying structure. Being what is known as a “cumulative song,” each verse of “Twelve Days” gets tacked upon the previous verses. Meaning the song takes longer than a Dave Matthews Band jam break to finish. The only songs with structures more annoying are rounds and “Bingo” (whose lyricist actually thought “name-o” was a good rhyme).

Second, the song speaks of a tradition few people in America still follow. You know, the actual 12 days of Christmas. Sure, in the mid-1700s when this song was probably written, people had a good near-fortnight to celebrate the birth of our Savior. These days, you’re apt to attacked by a passing “free thinker” just for wishing her a hearty and/or hardy Merry Christmas. So, Christmas is one day. Not counting Black Friday, Christmas Eve (aka, Male Shopping Day) and Return It for Store Credit Day, which varies according to one’s beliefs.

Third, “Twelve Days” espouses the giving of inappropriate gifts. Like livestock and Lords a-Leaping. Apparently, this song was composed by the King of Everything who could afford to bequeath menservants willy-nilly. Okay, I could get behind the pipers piping, although I challenge anyone to control 11 Scotsmen for any length of time without the use of force or distraction via adult beverages, haggis and violent discussions of footie. Which may or may not be soccer.

Fourth and finally, this atrocity of a song has begat untold scores of parodies, most of which are part of some form of advertisement. Please, good sirs of Madison Avenue, I do not need to hear about five golden onion rings, four calling cards, three French [censored], two turtlenecks or the Partridge Family Season One on DVD.

I swear that Satan personally penned this tune to turn people off of the holiday all together. And if it hadn’t been for Burl, he just might have succeeded.

Merry Christmas.