Some days ago, for the first time in my adult life, I saw the music video for a popular Christmas carol. It was…disturbing. It may have been an unreleased sequel to The Shining. For 33 years, I have successfully dodged this visual trip into the realm where happiness is just a mask you put on to pretend you haven’t gone mad.
So what scary Christmas carol am I talking about? “Satan’s Little Helper”? “All I Want For Christmas Is Kill Kill Kill”? No, I’m talking about “Merry Christmas Everyone,” by Shakin’ Stevens.
Sure, the song may be a family classic and a perfectly decent Christmas carol. But the video…man, the video. I can’t describe the creepiness of this video without going into detail, which is why I’m offering a scene-by-scene account.
Yup, I’m about to ruin “Merry Christmas Everyone” for you the same way I ruined The Sound Of Music for everybody.
In the opening shot, a girl enters an airport terminal through a door with a clearly marked “EXIT” sign. While not necessarily unusual—most doors are both exits and entrances—this creates the “something’s off” vibe for the rest of the video. The girl is pushing a luggage cart, the sound of its shoddy wheels echoing through an airport that’s eerily devoid of people. Is she the only one traveling this Christmas?
The girl is completely alone; nobody is there to see her off. Either she has the worst parents in the world, or her family and loved ones are all dead. I don’t know which is worse, but way to set the Christmas mood, video. After a brief flight in the cockpit with an unenthusiastic pilot randomly pointing at the barren landscape below, the girl arrives…somewhere.
She’s met by three people dressed in the exact same green-and-red elf uniform. She gets an awkward hug and two lukewarm handshakes. Each of the three “elves” chants “Welcome to Santa World,” which a keen geography student will notice is not a place that exists. They’re lying to you, child!
The flight attendants wave goodbye, and we realize that the girl was the only passenger on that plane. What? This can’t possibly be a profitable venture for the airline. Is this a lavish Christmas miracle where some rich benefactor went all out to make a child’s wishes come true? If so, why the commercial airline instead of a private jet? What’s with the cheap, dollar-store uniforms on the three elves? Why does an old bus deliver the girl to her final destination in the very next scene?
The girl walks out of the bus in front of a seemingly abandoned wooden building with a giant “Tomteland” sign on it, which an astute English student will notice isn’t how you spell “Santa World.”
When will all the lies stop?! Run away, child, this is your last chance! Ah, but too late: Shakin Stevens—the artist himself—leaves the bus behind the girl and ushers her inside the haunted Tomteland house. We’re now almost one full minute into the four-minute video, and the song hasn’t even started yet. All we’ve witnessed is what appears to be an expensive and elaborate kidnapping.
No time to think about that now—Shakin Stevens is singing alone in the snow, assuring us that the children are, in fact, “having fun.” There are other children out here? Did they all arrive on separate airplanes? Where are you getting all these children from, Stevens?
We can’t be sure where Stevens finds the children, but we do know what happens to them: Stevens appears on a horse-drawn carriage driven by a hollow husk of a human being—a biological automaton who’s unable to display any emotion but is forced to feign happiness. This former child clearly doesn’t want to be there.
At the entrance to Tomteland, Shakin Stevens is joined by what we’re supposed to believe is Santa Claus. He looks like this:
Inside Tomteland, we’re treated to a scene from “Where’s Waldo” as envisioned by H.P. Lovecraft.
It’s clearly a child labor camp supervised by sentient garden gnomes. Notice our creepy Santa in the top right corner—he doesn’t move through the entirety of the scene. Then…this happens:
Tell me that’s not an alien’s failed attempt to blend in among humans. On top of that, Stevens sure is quite affectionate with the children. But where do you draw the line between “friendly affection” and “invading a child’s personal space”? Shakin Stevens clearly doesn’t know the answer to that question, as he stumbles through moments like this:
But at least “Santa” and Stevens are teaching children things like hard work and the joy of making toys, aren’t they?
Okay, first of all, these…
…are not toys. Feel free to call them “deformed creatures from another dimension” or “faceless abominations,” but they’re clearly not like any toy I’ve ever known. Secondly, the only useful skill these children seem to pick up is how to bash solid objects against each other in maniacal rage:
None of the children have built a single toy, yet they’re more than happy to follow the lead of the silent gnomes and learn how to destroy things:
Once they’re done practicing on inanimate objects, it’s time to move on to live target practice outside:
Creepy Santa clearly approves:
And what would a snowball fight be without an abominable anthropomorphic snowman?
After yet another shot of Stevens taking the horse to Tomteland, we’re back inside. Here, a hypnosis session is ongoing to brainwash the remaining, mentally resilient children.
By the end of the video, the children are successfully transformed into a wild lynch mob with torches.
Stevens is content. His job is complete. He says goodbye, leaving the zombified children in the care of the humanoid snowman and “Santa”:
So there you have it, folks: “Merry Christmas Everyone” is about a sinister sect of humanoid aliens kidnapping orphans and converting them into mindless weapons of mass destruction. Or it could just be an innocent Christmas video about a bunch of children having fun at Santa World…but that’s what they’d want you to think, isn’t it?