“Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” by Buck Owens and his Buckaroos (Amazon Advent Calendar day 22)

Album Art

Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy

Buck Owens and his Buckaroos

Christmas With Buck Owens And His Buckaroos

Genre: Country

C-day Minus One. Time to focus on the Christmas-ey sort of tunes, no?

We can file this song in the same thematic category as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Both are first-person, unreliable-narrator accounts of a child who has left his bed late at night to investigate an unusual noise in the house, and witnesses a scene that was not meant for his eyes.

The impact of this simple libretto increases with the age and increased sophistication of the listener. A wee lad who has yet to develop a properly-skeptical mind is inclined to take the story at face value. A year or three later, a wiser and more worldy youth understands that the narrator’s Mommy was actually kissing his Daddy, who was wearing a Santa Claus costume at the time.

Aha! But when this same child grows into a cynical and sullen teen, they reflect on the horror of what the narrator is witnessing and how he must be processing the scene. The narrator’s still-developing mind has a limited ability to grasp abstract concepts. In addition, his sense of security is inextricably entwined with his definition of his mother and father as an unbreakable unit. And so, when this child witnesses his mother dissolving that unity and seeking comfort from another man — ie, Santa — he can only interpret this as the destruction of his entire universe.

The narrator may recover, with speedy and deft counseling. But how can we predict the long-term trauma? This child could grow to adulthood without the basic sense of trust that’s key to any longterm emotional connection to another person. He’s doomed to a lifetime of failed relationships and empty narcissism, all because his parents lacked the good sense to deadbolt the kid inside their room every night to prevent him from wandering around. Also from fleeing a house fire via the hallway and the front door. Again, I blame bad parenting: kicking out a bedroom window and jumping from the second floor teaches a kid self-reliance. Darwin makes the best babysitter.

How shall we interpret “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” once we’re past puberty and well into adulthood? Our robust, grownup sophistication allows the hidden message to become crystal-clear: Mommy definitely has a “type.”

What is it about this gentleman that forces her to ignore the wisdom of her better angels? Is it the beard? The belly that shakes like jelly? The leather boots and the faint scent of deer pheremones? Or is it simply the fact that Santa is, by his nature, a giver who enters a home — and by extension a relationship — without any expectation of receiving material or emotional support of any kind from his partner?

It’s probably wise to leave it there before you convince yourself that the couples in “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” were two pairs of cosplay swingers who had found each other via Craigslist, and that they were engaging in an evening of wife-swapping.

I actually didn’t even know about this song until it appeared on my BFF’s annual holiday mix CD. He selected a version by the Reverend Horton Heat, in keeping with the Alternative Music theme of this year’s offering. I went and got the Buck Owens recording. I really like its “classic country” style. Plus…I mean, I already had the Good Reverend’s version.

Try or buy “Santa Looked A Lot Like Mommy” on the Amazon MP3 Store. Yes, the link is embroidered with my Amazon Associates code and anything you buy after clicking it results in my receiving a small kickback in the form of Amazon credits…which I will spend on gloriously silly things.

4 thoughts on ““Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” by Buck Owens and his Buckaroos (Amazon Advent Calendar day 22)

  1. Tino

    No matter who Santa really is in I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, a few things have always jumped out at me about that song:

    1. The child doesn’t really seem surprised to find his mother kissing and otherwise kanoodling with what appears to be a strange man;

    2. The child apparently has some reference for what Daddy’s reaction to this would be, suggesting that he has witnessed same in the past;

    3. The child characterizes this reaction as a ‘laugh’, suggesting that either:

    a) The child is so dead inside that a brutal fight between Daddy and Santa Claus would be mere comedy, not horror, or

    b) Daddy is a pathetic, Gil-like figure who would just chuckly weakly at the notion of his wife carrying on with another man.

  2. John Holderried

    Hey, all women have a type, and some women have a thing for Santa. I’ve worn a Santa suit at parties and gotten some pretty strong signals.

    It’s partly the wish-fulfillment thing, partly the fantasy element, and it could be daddy issues. But it’s a situation rife with possibilities, what with sitting on Santa’s lap, finding out if they’ve been naughty, etc. etc. Remember, Santa knows where all the bad girls live…

    If I’m ever single again, I’m buying another Santa suit.

    (see what I did? I didn’t leave it alone…)

  3. Jazzmaniac

    Maybe it comes down to nothing other than the different tempos and melodies, but I always found “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” creepy, while Buck, Don, and the Buckaroos just sound their usual kick-ass selves.

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