Welcome to our weekly feature Video Rewind. Every Friday, a CoS staffer shares a video clip dug up from the depths of the Internet. Today, Ryan Bray shares The Kinks’ contribution to the holiday music canon with their music video for “Father Christmas”.
As much as I enjoy Christmas and all the warm feelings and cold egg nog, there always comes a point where the festiveness of the season reaches a tipping point. After weeks of being assaulted by hokey commercials and horrid caroling, I usually feel like ho-ho-hanging myself from the nearest stocking. It’s at that holiday precipice where a really good anti-Christmas song can help restore a bit of sanity. To that end, The Kinks’ take on “Father Christmas” might be the perfect song to crank up and sing along to when there’s too many tidings of comfort and joy going around. Just when you’ve had your fill of the 1,248 versions of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, Ray Davies and Co. have the cure-all: a three-minute power-pop gem about beating up and robbing the local mall Santa. After all, ’tis the season.
This corresponding music video, shot in Germany around the time of the song’s release in 1977, takes some understated jabs at the merriment of the holiday season. Between the cheap holiday decorations, Mick Avory’s shoddy Santa duds, and Davies’ condemnation of the holiday as little more than all-out class war, the video takes the piss out of the pleasantness of the Christmas season in the most subversively fun way possible. But underneath the song’s bratty exterior lies a message worth taking to heart. “Have yourself a merry, merry Christmas, have yourself a good time,” Davies urges. “But remember the kids who got nothing, as you’re drinking down your wine.” So, there you have it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and if you’re feeling charitable, give all your toys to the little rich boys.