1. “The Christmas Shoes” is the best and possibly only Christmas song about shoes.
Sadly, shoes were never a big part of Christmas until 2000 when contemporary Christian music group NewSong bravely released an album with a Christmas bonus track called “The Christmas Shoes.” The song weaves a very specific narrative about a poor little boy trying to buy shoes for his dying mother on Christmas Eve. And once it became an adult contemporary chart-topping hit, there was no turning back. Shoes had rightfully earned their place in Christmas tradition.
2. The lyrics are a sobering slap in the face to anyone who was enjoying the holidays too much.
3. The vocals are like the gentler version of Creed we never asked for but desperately needed.
Here’s THE song. The music video includes shots from the made-for-TV movie based on a book based on the song, aptly titled “The Christmas Shoes.”
NewSong’s lead singer lends a gravelly world-weariness to Christmas twinkles, which is the perfect juxtaposition for lyrics about a dying mom.
As a special bonus, the song ends with actual children singing the chorus, to pack an extra sadness punch.
4. The lead singer also proves you can sing a somber Christmas song while lookin’ cool in a baseball cap.
5. And that your band can just stand in the background looking sad for the entire video.
6. It reminds us what Christmas is really all about: confronting the horrific reality of mortality.
Every year, it’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. We forget that what we really should be thinking about is the fact that one day everyone we care about will be dead and that people die in tragic ways every day, all the time, leaving sad loved ones to mourn and grapple with their loss. That’s what Christmas is really all about.
Plus, you can tell the mom is dying by how she throws a football into a car.
This is a scene from the film based on the song, shown in the music video. You can also kind of see that she could use some more stylish shoes.
7. The song opened the door for Rob Lowe’s most amazing role ever.
The song inspired an entire book which inspired an entire movie. Rob Lowe is essentially the narrator of the song who helps a little boy buy shoes for his dying mom. Would Sam Seaborn of “The West Wing” buy shoes for a little boy’s dying mom? What about Chris Traeger from “Parks & Recreation”? Eh, probably. You’d have to be a monster not to. But whatever.
8. We finally learn that Jesus is into shoes.
According to the song, the little boy is buying these shoes because he wants his mom to “look beautiful” in case she “meets Jesus tonight” (dies). Finally we have some insight into Jesus’s opinions on footwear.
The shoes pictured above are the shoes from the movie/music video and as you can see, they’re just the kind of shoes Jesus would love.
9. It utilizes a Christmas trope we don’t see enough: poor, dirty children.
NewSong paints a grim picture of the little boy in the song, “His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe.” Unfortunately, the movie didn’t stay true to the song and used a clean kid. But you know what they say, the song is always better than the movie.
10. It treats the death of a loved one with the gravity it deserves, unlike some other Christmas songs.
For too long “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” dominated the Christmas songs about death game. Like being trampled to death by an animal is some kind of joke. Now, when you want to listen to a Christmas song about death, you have another sadder option.
11. It reminds us that paying in change is super annoying.
The song’s narrator complained about the poor little boy, “He counted pennies for what seemed like years.” But to be fair, he hadn’t learned the meaning of Christmas yet.
12. It reminds us that waiting until the last minute is a bad idea.
The man in the song is still doing Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Bad call, dude. Because as a price, you’re not only going to have to help foot the bill on a poor kid’s tasteful mom shoes, you’re gonna get real bummed out real fast by his sob story.
13. It drives home that even the true meaning of Christmas involves consumerism.
Don’t feel guilty about the mass buying frenzy of the holidays. A sad little boy with a dying mom sent by God to teach a cranky man a lesson about giving still completely revolves around buying a pair of shoes.