A staple of every Christmas playlist is Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”, a jolly song about having fun at Christmas. Right? Having read the lyrics properly, I am not so sure.
Holder’s diatribe-and that is what it is, as being almost entirely composed of questions, it gives the air of a rant-is fairly revealing.
It starts of innocently enough, hanging up stockings and red nosed-reindeer, but takes a strange turn.
[santa] does a ton-up on his sleigh,
Do the fairies keep him sober for a day?
Why is he portraying Santa as a speeding alcoholic? What is his agenda?
He moves on to the chorus, where he is clearly trying to distract himself with noticing everyone having fun and telling himself to look to the future, to give himself a sense of perspective.
In the next verse, he reminisces about the good times he had with his family, presumably because they have never let him down, in contrast to the bitter resentment he clearly holds for Father Christmas. After another round of chorus, we get to the most expository line in the whole song, where it turns into a menacing minor key.
What will your daddy do when he sees your momma kissing Santa Claus?
Why such a dark line in what appears to be a fairly jolly song?
He then moves swiftly on back to a major key as if this whole episode never happened. There is clearly something deeply traumatic here he wants us to know, but can’t quite bring himself to discuss openly.
As most British people are prone to doing when uncomfortable, the weather becomes a topic for discussion, but he is unable to hold on to his anger, with a violent revenge fantasy obviously on his mind.
Do you ride on down the hillside
On a buggy you have made
When you land upon your head
And you’ve been slayed
Another couple of goes at the chorus and he yells “IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAS” in one last futile attempt to come to his senses and enjoy his company.
It’s clear that the whole song is intended to defame Santa Claus as a response to some childhood trauma that he caused poor young Noddy holder, possibly by breaking up his family. Or maybe Santa Claus is his father and he harbours many grudges about him over several years. The fact he is still happy to perform this song about 40 years after its release would suggest he is not over it.
The clues are all there. It’s ok to talk about it, Noddy.