Manger Management: Low, Bleat, Snort

Well, we’ve had some fun with the animal kingdom this month, but please remember where it all began: in the back of the barn. Let’s look at bunches of animals altogether now.

The Animals Christmas Song” is another Chipmunks ripoff, and from all i can tell, was actually recorded by Santa’s Pixie Helpers. It’s the tortured rhymes of names of animals with Christmas items that keeps on giving.

Carol of the Beasts” by Pete Seger mournfully strums through the manger’s menagerie, but in a folktastic way.

With his more modern maundering, Sufjan Stevens guides us through his version of “The Friendly Beasts.” Jesus’ beast-bro hoe down.

Tru Harmony swings and sways–mostly on key–with “Song of the Christmas Animals (Don’t Forget about Me).” Like Christ would forget that one lamb there.

I find the true spirit of the manger in the mangey tomfoolery of Spike Jones (featuring the Bell Sisters) syncopating “Barnyard Christmas.” Try to keep up.

Manger Management: Don we now our Key

Donkeys are there, in the manger, when it happened, that Christmas thing. So they get plenty of play.

Dominick the Christmas Donkey” is Italian, Santa’s friend, and a hit for Lou Monte way back when we thought all Italians were funny-talkers.

Ed Ames brings us back to the blessed moment with an echoey symphonic chant, reminding us in “The Ballad of the Christmas Donkey” that The Son gives us all a chance–lookswise anyway.

More donkeys at the birth of Christ! In “Nestor the Long Eared Christmas Donkey” Marty Robbins tells the same ugly duckling story with a bona nova backbeat. Howza, Lord!

Gracie Fields had perhaps the biggest merry mule music with her 1959 “Little Donkey.” This catchy tune sold as sheet music faster than hotcakes. This mono recording may cause loss of equilibrium, but the message will heal you.

But the ass is not the only odd-toed hoped mammal with a reason for the season. And i don’t really mean Ren & Stimpy’s “Yak Shaving Day” (shudder).  Nor even the crafty parodeus “Save a Horse, Ride a Reindeer” by the Whiskey Santas (really?).

No, no, no.I’m referring to that staple of 3rd grade winter singing festivals “Santa’s Using Zebras Now.” In order to understand a few lyrics we’ll zone in on Paisley Yankolovich’s unplugged version. He looks as if he might not be allowed within a hundred yards of a school.

Manger Management: Bovine Grace

Let’s get inside the stable with the real manger-ettes finally.

Santa’s helping at the Gilmer Dairy Farm in “The Gilmer Dairy Farm Christmas Song.” Will Gilmer sings up a bucketful of ‘Jingle Bells’ parody with cows in mind and it’s worth half a listen.

Cattle drives gotta happen first, o’ course. Cowboy Greg & The Done Goods yodel out “Cows Love Christmas” with that open range fantasia that usually precedes delusional seizures and death.

Bringing the hoofed ones home for the holidays Daniel Gould of Music Tech Group, solemnizes “Give a Cow for Christmas.” This rocks and feeds back and, i guess, postulates that poor people could use a burger as a gift this time of year. Hmmmm.

But we must pause and salute the greatest cow novelty Christmas music album of all time: It’s a Cow Christmas by Terry Esau. This True Christian went a little nuts in the best possible creative way cranking out parody after parody of carols with a taurine twist or two. Check out “God Rest Ye Merry Cattlemen” (reverential)

and the best of the herd: “Santa Cow.” It’s disco meets rap meets country meets trucker rock. Mooo, boy.


Axis of Awesome comes to the rescue with a real Nativity four-footed number. “I Love Being a Cow” may have a sudden turn to watch out for though. Watch out.

Manger Management: Santa on Safari

Some more et cetera mammals–this time the cool, exotic jungle kind:

Tigers need to get into that Nativity scene more often, i mean it just looks chill with that stripey killer lying beside the Baby Lord… or is that just me? Okay, see how nuts this gets with the “Christmas Japan Tiger-san Song” as posted by Ergesr Mikasoraesa. Hello, kitty.

Now i don’t think we need to get any more hippopotamussier than we have already, so check out same formula with an even more hilarious (bigger) “I Want an Elephant for Christmas” by the Peter Pan Carolers.

But if you want a Real Song on the topic, lets take a moment for Hank Thomspon and “I’d Like to Have an Elephant for Christmas.” Yee haw, merrily on down.

[And we’ve already gone into the Heart of Darkness with Les Paul and Mary Ford with “Jungle Bells (Dingo Dongo Day)”–though i’d go there again.] But let’s segue that into The Superions starting the conga line with “Christmas Conga (Jungle Bells).” Not many animals, but do the watusi!

If you want all the animals in one place, let Bah & The Humbugs lead you through “The Christmas Zoo.” It may make you do a childish little dance.


Some wild animals have been sadly house-broken. Curious George brings us, Grey Griffin as Betsy sings to us “Our Christmas Monkey.” But her question remains: why no Christmas monkey song?

Answering the question, in fine ‘sixties pop-rock style, are The Barbary Coasters with “I Want a Monkey for Christmas.” Those kids are going to be in so much trouble! But somehow i feel like surfin’.

Manger Management: Feline Navidad

Dogs have owners, cats have staff.

So let’s make some fun of those rascally rat-catchers! While Garfield, Heathcliff, Sylvester, and Hobbes have no notable carols about themselves…Grumpy Cat (and friends) sing about the travails of being good for Santa in “It’s Hard to be a Cat at Christmas.” Since this is Friskies sponsored, mostly they are forbearing and petable. Yeah, right.

I can’t abide animal sounds morphed into words/carols to humorous effect (though i do own the albums). So let’s just say Talking Kitty Cat is passable while singing “I Don’t Give a Damn about Christmas.” The lengthy skit set up is somewhat helpful. I liked the song more.

Another previously famous cat, Stimpy, is terribly disgusting with his holiday rendition of “Cat Hairballs” to the tune of ‘Jingle Bells.’ Parts can be the worst.

More aggressively “The Kitty Ate the Tinsel On the Christmas Tree“–a confessional sung by the Marty Gold Children’s Chorus like they’re facing down a school auditorium full of beaming, filming parents. Seems like a self correcting problem, eventually.

Apocalyptically, “The Yule Cat” eats naughty children for Christmas. You may learn the legend and the dread courtesy of The Hull Soul Collective. Or you can garage rock to Mozart Rottweiler with Sinister Undertones also revelling in this Icelandic traditional saga.

Back home, Shorty ond Kodi get precious and mean (appropriately cat-like) with their “I’m Climbing up the Christmas Tree Neow” complete with dopily adorable videos and sfx.

Manger Management: kitty carols

More likely to knock over your tree and shred your stockings are our less domesticated pets: the felidae. Don’t scoff over-wearied youtube watchers, felines are serious matter all year, never more so than the holidays.

Stevecash83 “Christmas Kitty Song“is just as smugly annoying as cat owners but has a couple good lines.

The baby cats are playful and innocent and embody the Christmas spirit, so at times we may dance and frolic to the idea of “Kitty Cats’ Christmas” a la Leon Redbone. This is a good one, folks, so i recommend you lower the limbo pole and go to town here.

Cuddling wiff widdle furry balls of love should be tres sentimental, however, so let’s look at what the Whiskers Animal Benevolent League parodied out of ‘The Christmas Song’: “The Catmas Song.” Cure petlessness!

[And we’ve already referenced Ken Platt singing “Snowy the Christmas Kitten” from last 5/28… awwww.]

I know Egyptian mythology digs those crafty cats…  but Christianity? Observe the reverence with which Meryn sings “The Cat Carol.” Baw whunh boo hoo! It makes me all weepy! Good kitty!

With greater harmony comes greater symbolism: David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing “The Cat and the Mouse Carol” Holy cats! It’s a manger puss! Recite your cat-echism!

Manger Management: Dog the Halls

Puppies are not dogs. They are a completely different mindset. One type you would let romp through expensively wrapped gifts grinning, the other you would harness for the Iditarod to save lives.

Martin Metcalf and Gillian Brown murmur “Santa’s Dog” mistaking one of the reindeer for Santa’s best friend. That’s the Olive-problem. It happens.

Getting a dog for Christmas is perhaps more grown up than getting a puppy. So Tom Manche’s “Dog Christmas Song” is an adult advisory on the appropriateness of beating the void with a ‘friend for life.” Cha cha cha.

The 1948 version of that gift list sounds like Billy Mayo’s Orchestra and “I Want a Dog for Christmas.” Pardon the poor sound and the sniveling 3/4 of the way through (by way of narrative bridge).

Once we get into grown-up dogs we can get mean and nasty. Vinnie’s entry to some Worst Christmas Song Ever contest is “The Christmas Dog.” Holy crap.

Although dealing with puppy training, the responsibilities of cleaning up credentialize Cliff Berg’s “My Dog Just Shit Song (A Christmas Song).” Yeah, not much of a holiday number….

For a more seasonal parody, nothing beats Gary Gee with “Fleas on My Dog.” If you can’t guess the source material for the take-off, please listen: it’s pleasantly surprising. Although the slide show  is vertiginous and nauseating.

Best of Show is Eels laying into “Christmas is Going to the Dogs.” The tone is mongrel, the puns are dogged, the melody mangy–what fun!

Manger Management: Puppy Noel

So many songs about cutesy little fuzzy faces that i lack credits at times.

I Want a Puppy for Christmas” is off a British cassette tape from 1992 entitled 20 Children’s Christmas Songs and Carols–so it’s pretty short.

At times stellar, unnamed talent makes it onto the kids’ records. “Pookie Doodle Puppy’s Christmas Party” is by Children’s Songs. But check out the range on that soprano! (Not the unfortunate slide whistle).

A saccharine favorite for elementary school pageants is “Polar Puppy.” I don’t want to know who does this. Take it away.

The Christmas Puppy” is similarly adorbs, but i finally figured out it was recorded by Dudley Dogg Jr. Warning: sped up chipmunk voices.

Before we get too cool–watch out for overly sentimental pop like Gina Naomi Baez’s “Puppy for Christmas.” Too much! Too much!! Need snark!!!

[I’ve already referenced Red Buttons with “Bow Wow Wants a Boy for Christmas” and Linn Sheldon’s “Boofo Goes Where Santa Goes.” ]

I could have also noted Gene Autry’s “Poppy the Puppy.” Another attempt by the Singing’ Cowboy to be Xmas popular (not so successful this time).

See, retro rock likes little doggies: Adam Faith sings “Lonely Pup (in a Christmas Shop).” This seems to be on the outside lonelytimes looking in. Awww.

The Wiggles nudge old timey rock n roll as well with “Paw Paw Wags.” Honestly i’m not sure if a puppy is getting a child or a child is getting a puppy.

“Bobby Wants a Puppy Dog for Christmas” was made a hit by Merle Haggard and even recorded by The Wiggles. I like Bowling for Soup’s alt rock version.

Manger Management: Mixed Mammal Bag

We’ll get to the puppies, kitties, and cows in a bit. Let’s lump together the odds and ends of furry critters here.

Although the Red Cross loves ’em, i find Christmas seals daunting–they could drown ya or freeze ya. But Liz Anderson, The Fairy Grandmother, walks you through their features (strengths and shortcomings) in “Christopher the Christmas Seal“–even their flappers!

Honey Jean Bunch retros up the ante with “Whitey the Christmas Seal.” Tippetty tappety flippety flappety… try not to get all childlike with this drugged out tune.

Kristen Burkholder giggles through “Bunny Christmas Song” at some down home talent show. We all we wish we had close warm home holidays like we imagine rabbit families having.

If you’re not clear how cool the bunnies are then listen how “Rabbits Have a Christmas” by Linn Sheldon (a b-side from 1958… missed it before).

Based on the Teri Sloat children’s book Suzy Arnowitz again nails it with “Hark the Aarvark Angels Sing” –apparently to make sure your Christmas card is delivered on time. ‘Cause they alphabetize so well, you know, being first in the dictionary, and like that.


Another late addition! Bah & The Humbugs have crafted a crawling, scratching rocker: “Here Comes Skunky Claws.” Smell that stocking!


The Presidents of the United States of America have a fun alt rock time introducing us to “Christmas Piglet.” Who’s a cute swine?

What’s that crawling out of the canal! Benny Grunch & the Bunch get a little Zydeco with a new holiday mascot suggestion: “Norris the Nocturnal Nutria.” Cool… and eww.

Manger Management: Rodent Rites (5)

Christmas mice, rats… hmm, what else in the rodent line?

Oh yeah… chipmunks. Feh.

Not a fan of Christmas chipmunks. Not. I’ll let Bob Rivers make what fun he can with “The Twisted Chipmunk Song” paired with “Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire.”

What else…

The Caroleer Singers and Orchestra tootle out “A Squirrel’s Christmas Wish” as a PG version of the Over the Hedge character. It’s catchy. Squirrely even.

Winding up the most successful of the mammalian orders is “Earl the Squirrel,” an industrious winter wonder as sung by our friends to the North The Moffats. Nice one, kids.