25 Christmas Things: Day 5 – “Santa Baby”

I first knew Eartha Kitt as Catwoman from the 60’s Batman tv show reruns I would watch after school in 4th or 5th grade. She was pretty alluring, even to young Alex, with the hair and the eyes and the outfit. Not bad. Later, I heard her version of “Santa Baby”, the first to be recorded and fell in love with the sultry but not overly sexy voice she sang one of the most commercial songs of the season with. It’s easy for singers of this song to go too far, to stray into Marilyn Monroe territory with it and lose the dry wit of the whole thing in a sea of barely whispered lyrics. No, she did it just right. She escalates from wanting a sable coat under her Christmas tree to asking her lover to buy her a platinum mine and a duplex before ramping back down to “one little thing, a ring”. And she’s not talking about phone, Santa baby. Before she gets there, though, she also brags about “all the fellas that [she hasn’t] kissed.” I believe it, both that she’s desirable enough to have a bunch of guys lusting after her and that she’d keep them at bay for the sake of the guy she’s with. It’s that little element that gets lost when people like Madonna get a hold of the song and pout their way through it. Don’t even get me started on Michael Bublé (whose Christmas album is generally pretty good) and his dumb version of the holiday classic. Give me Eartha Kitt or give me death!

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