The Kinks’s “Father Christmas”: Give all the toys to the little rich boys and give me a machine gun!

By on December 25, 2016

The Kinks’s now-classic seasonal jollity “Father Christmas,” released as a single on November 25, 1977, is one of those songs that always ends up on perennial year-end Christmas mixtapes, and maybe you’ve heard it a million times before, but we thought we’d take a pause for the Claus to point out the wonderfully arch lyrics.

Have a look and a listen to the song being lip-synched to on “Plattenküche,” a 45-minute German TV series that aired between February 23, 1976 and August 5, 1980 (this particular episode was broadcast on December 15th, 1977, shortly after the release of the Kinks’s Christmas single).

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If you’ve not heard this hard-edged holiday rocker before, well then, you’re really in for a rare treat: “Father Christmas” is a cynical little ditty in which the protagonist of the song is actually a Harrods department store Santa (Mr. Claus is known as “Father Christmas” in the UK), who wearily relates how he’s tired of being beaten up by a gang of kids who have “knocked my reindeer to the floor.”

These snotty brats don’t want this dressed-up Santa clown’s toys — that’s impractical, they tell him, and besides,“save all the toys for the little rich boys”.

No, they want Santa’s money.

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The Kinks’s Ray Davies often wrote about the sad inequalities between social classes, and as it turns out, you see, these are poor kids, reminding us that not everyone is fortunate enough to wake up on Christmas morning to find gift-wrapped treasure under a tree.

The point of view then stays with one of the kids — perhaps he’s the spokeskid, speaking on behalf of the rest of the gang — who tell this Father Christmas that he doesn’t want a “Steve Austin outfit” either.

What he really wants is a job for his dad… and a machine gun so he can scare off another gang of kids:

“Father Christmas, give us some money
We’ll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys
But give my daddy a job ’cause he needs one
He’s got lots of mouths to feed
But if you’ve got one, I’ll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street”

A machine gun!!

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Initially, we’ve heard, BBC radio weren’t too excited about playing this song, and we’re not sure if they had a strong opinion about the flipside of the single, Prince Of The Punks,” which another wonderfully lyrical little rocker about a young musician

“He’s the prince of the punks and he’s finally made it,
Thinks he looks cool but his act is dated.
He acts working class but it’s all bologna,
He’s really middle class and he’s just a phony.
He acts tough but it’s just a front,
He’s the prince of the punks.”

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.