And that means that some of the most beloved holiday songs are essentially great love songs accompanied by some jingle bells. Here, we take a closer look at 10 Christmas songs—just those that are romance-focused, rather than the other many wonderful songs about religion or Grandma's unfortunate demise by reindeer—and rate them based on what you'd be doing under the mistletoe while each song played in the romantic comedy of your life.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside”
Sample lyric: "I really can't stay. Baby, it's cold outside."
Romance factor: The melody sounds romantic and sexy, and the idea of lingering with the one you love much longer than you should is pretty familiar to anyone in a new relationship.
Ick factor: Sorry, but this is basically the "Blurred Lines" of Christmas carols. It’s so friggin’ catchy, you wish you could pretend the lyrics weren't so problematic. But the "Say, what's in this drink?" bit? Diiiiiisturbing.
Mistletoe potential: Saying "No kiss and please read this pamphlet on consensual sex instead."
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Sample lyric: “I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus underneath his beard so snowy white.”
Romance factor: I mean, there’s kissing. And sneaking around, which is kind of hot.
Ick factor: When you’re a little kid, this song is about your mom cheating on your dad. When you get a little older, it’s about your mom and your dad sucking face when they should be focusing on getting your presents under the tree. Either way, EW MOM STOP THAT IS SOOO GROSS.
Mistletoe potential: Watching your dad pat your mom's bum and wink.
“Twelve Days of Christmas”
Sample lyric: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…"
Romance factor: Calling someone “my true love” is so black-and-white movie swoonworthy. And 12 days of appropriately numbered gifts seems like a pretty grand gesture.
Ick factor: I can tell he put a lot of thought into these themed gifts but like, what is with the bird obsession? Birds are creepy. Also, this song is like the holiday version of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" because it feels like it never ends.
Mistletoe potential: Exchanging a meaningful look with your man that's interrupted by your shrieking niece and nephew.
Sample lyric: "We're snuggled up together like two birds of a feather would be."
Romance factor: Obviously, a cuddle sleigh ride for two is just plain adorable.
Ick factor: Not much, although it should be noted that your view on that darling sleigh ride is probably a horse's backside, and realistically, that can get kind of gross. It's a real mood-killer.
Mistletoe potential: Blushing during a kiss on the cheek from your crush.
“Let It Snow”
Sample lyric: “But if you’ll really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm.”
Romance factor: Awwwww. OK, this is basically the non-frat-bro version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” This is how you linger with your baby: no pressure and with no suspicious drinks.
Ick factor: Ick free, unless you’re so cold your heart has frozen over.
Mistletoe potential: Getting wrapped up in a big, warm hug from your long-term boyfriend.
Sample lyric: “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away.”
Romance factor: Well, at least this year, you’ve got plans to give your heart to someone special?
Ick factor: Spending Christmas still mourning the dude who broke your heart last year is mega-depressing, and I would know.
Mistletoe potential: Wiping away a single tear while you watch your ex-boyfriend kiss your mortal enemy from across the room.
"My Only Wish (This Year)"
Sample lyric: "Seems like everyone but me is in love, Santa can you hear me?"
Romance factor: A wishing-for-love song for single girls everywhere that's upbeat enough to keep your from weeping into your hot cocoa. Thanks, Britney Spears.
Ick factor: You might still weep into your hot cocoa. But get it together, this song is charming.
Mistletoe potential: Toasting yourself with a glass of champagne.
"Please Come Home for Christmas"
Sample lyric: "My baby's gone; I have no friends to wish me greetings once again."
Romance factor: It's a sad but very sweet wish for a lover to come home.
Ick factor: Dude, it's depressing as all get-out.
Mistletoe potential: Passing out alone in the doorway with a half-eaten roll of cookie dough in your hand.
Sample lyric: “Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me.”
Romance factor: If you think diamonds are a girl’s best friend, this song is probably the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard.
Ick factor: The person singing this would definitely not agree with my rant against “Dating for Free Things.”
Mistletoe potential: Eye rolling while protesting, "Don't kiss me honey, you'll smear my carefully applied Chanel lipstick!"
“All I Want for Christmas Is You”
Sample lyric: "I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know."
Romance factor: All of it, this song is everything, go home, other Christmas carols, BYE. Mariah sends her love.
Ick factor: Nothing, duh. Although you are more likely to drunkenly scream-karaoke this song six times in a row with 14 of your closest girlfriends than you are to play it quietly while staring into the eyes of your love. But really, is that any less special?
Mistletoe potential: Getting a proposal from the man of your dreams followed by a perfect life.