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How the Song, "Santa Claus is Coming To Town," Rubs the Average Person the Wrong Way

Updated on October 10, 2015

Santa Claus Song

" You Better Watch Out"

" You Better Not Pout"

" You Better Not Cry I'm Telling You Why"

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

"He's making a List and Checking it Twice"

"He's gonna find out whose naughty or nice"

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

"He Sees You When You're Sleeping"

"He Knows When You're Awake"

"He Knows if You've Been Bad or Good"

"So Be Good for Goodness Sake"

These lyrics are rather cheerful, but upon adulthood, they become the definition of unanswered and disturbing questions. They inspire feelings of wonder and discomfort. They reflect the arrival of a dictator, judging smiting spirit, or evil vengeful chieftain. The song makes the idea of Santa Claus, and getting free gifts based off good behavior, feel uncomfortable and disturbing

Lyric 1 - You Better Watch Out

Watch out for what, a falling reindeer? A flying present that comes lose from the sack? Or, maybe it's him that's falling his big round butt out of the sky.

When someone says, "you better watch out," that insinuates "high alert, danger, be careful," etc... Whoever wrote this song could have found a better way to say this. They could have found a way to say, "look for," or, "watch for Santa," since his arrival is supposed to be great.

This lyric just makes his arrival seem bad; it creates some issues and questions.

Lyric 2 - You Better Not Pout

And why can't we do this? Why is pouting something we can't do? We may be having a bad day, pouting is better than punching someone in the face. But because Santa Claus is cheerful and happy all the time, it seems we have to be cheerful also.

Well, we human beings that work for a living will have bad days, bad encounters, tired feelings, anxiety, etc... we are human. And if we need to pout, then we should be able to without being punished for it. This lyric in the song creates an issue and serious questions.


Lyric 3 - You Better Not Cry I'm Telling You Why

This one throws a whole left into our expectations. Why would we even have an idea of crying because he comes around? Why is crying a factor at all?

It's as if crying will ruin the receipt of a gift. It's as if we have to conform to Santa's behavior standards in order to receive a gift when he comes around, like the bitter grandpa in the family. Crying should be okay since receiving a gift will probably make it stop. This lyric in the song creates an issue and serious questions.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town


Lyric 4 - He's making a list and checking it twice

Making a list? Making what type of list? A hit list? A favorites list? Yeah, a favorites list of the people that behave the way he wants them to. And you know, this takes one back to school and all the suck-ups, teacher's pets, and bad kids that were outcasts. The notion of the trials of being in school and everyday lifestyle of favoritism fosters negative feelings about Santa.

Well, in this particular list he's judging us. This list of everybody's name throughout all towns and populaces contains JUDGEMENTS on our behavior that he has miraculously seen maybe, ONLY TWICE, throughout the entire year. So we may only have two times to mess up, and that's just unfair. This lyric in the song creates an issue and some serious questions.


Lyric 5 - He's gonna find out whose naughty or nice

Why does he have to know? Why do we have to worry about him finding out? It's not like anybody really asked him for a gift. Our niceness is none of his business, yet he's judging us, and only TWICE in the year.

And when he finds out whether we're naughty or nice through his, VARIOUS SOURCES, he labels us worthy and unworthy of a gift. Jesus would give us a gift regardless of how much of a mean ghoul we have been, but it's such an issue to some to celebrate His birth and sing a song about Him. No, most of us sing about Santa, with his favorites list and his narrow margin of acceptable behavior. This line in the song creates an issue and serious questions.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town


Lyric 6 - He sees you when you're sleeping

Well, the question comes to mind, how long has he been seeing us while we're sleeping? And at which times has he been seeing us while we're sleeping? What if we were sleeping inappropriately, how many times did he see us when were sleeping inappropriately? Well, that's easy, quite possibly TWICE.

What if we woke up while he was watching us sleeping, just startled awake, did his big round butt disappear? Does he become transparent or something? This is unacceptable. This is another place where the the song creates a real issue and serious questions.


Lyric 7 - He knows when you're awake

And now, we have to share our morning with him. He's standing in the house or outside the window of the house when we awake. Or maybe, he's hanging out in the room's closet while we're getting up. This is disturbing. Even the idea of this in a spiritual essence is creepy.

This is not something we want. We are not okay with this from Kris Kringle, Saint Nick, SANTA CLAUS. This is another place where the song creates a real issue and some serious questions.


Lyrics 8 & 9 - He knows if you've been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake

Why goodness sake? When you say, "for goodness sake," it carries a feeling of life-threatening urgency. You can't just relate this phrase to the probability of not receiving a gift.

This phrase relates to, for the sake of something, or to save something, in regards to that kind of urgency. I could look at the meaning of, goodness sake, but still, the urgency in the phrase is what throws us. This is the last place where the song creates a real issue and some serious questions.

Last Note

As a child, we enjoyed a breezy cheerful tune, and all we could think about is all the presents and joy we would have. But as an adult, the notions created by these lyrics are followed by questionable ideas and feelings about Santa Claus.

Santa has always rubbed me the wrong way since I was a child, but even as an adult he, Kris Kringle, doesn't have to rub YOU the wrong way. There are better songs about Santa than this one. Of course, we are all entitled to what we believe. As far as my beliefs are concerned, this song about Santa, rubs me and many of you the wrong way.


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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love "Santa Claus in Coming To Town." When I hear Bruce Springsteen sing it I know that it's officially Christmas. It will be interesting to see who reads your hub and what their opinions on this song are.

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