“Christmas Kids” by ROAR

Owen Evans is a musician who some readers may be familiar with as once being part of a Phoenix-based outfit known as AJJ. But back in 2010 he also initiated his own project known as ROAR.

By the looks of things this initiative hasn’t gotten a lot of press, but Evans has thus far been able to put out five albums – beginning with 2010’s “I Can’t Handle Change” and one of his most-recent being 2021’s “Diamond Destroyer of Death” – under this moniker. And it is from that first outing that we get “Christmas Kids”, whose writing is credited to ROAR and production to Owen Evans.

The Lyrics of “Christmas Kids”

From the onset you will notice that the addressee, the vocalist’s “dear”, is identified as one “Ronnette”. More specifically, that would be Ronnie Spector (1943-2022), a singer who most notably fronted a 1960s’ era girl group known as The Ronnettes. It is also her image which obviously graces the cover art to this track.

As the song progresses, despite what can be deemed its tender onset, it becomes obvious that the primary subject matter at hand is one of an abusive relationship. It is not really clear what Phil means by referencing “Christmas kids” in the process. 

The situation develops such that the vocalist is obsessed with the addressee, who later on is forthrightly identified as “Ronnie”. And in the third verse and pre-chorus that follows, she is given her own voice, coming off as if she’ll do what she has to do to escape this situation, even if that entails committing suicide. 

So what we are met with here are actually two thesis sentiments. From the primary narrator’s perspective, that would be him expressing his wherewithal to “find” Ronnie if she ever attempts to escape his grasp. Therefore, from her viewpoint, she is once again expressing a strong desire to leave, which may even come to involve, as implied, someone carrying her out of this relationship.

“But I’ll know, I’ll know
I’ll know, I’ll know

Roar’s Take on Phil Spector

Ronnie Spector was a real-life person, and accordingly these lyrics are meant to speak to an actual relationship she was in, that being her marriage to Phil Spector from 1968 until 1974. Both are considered to be music legends in their own rights, and at that point in time their careers were intertwined, i.e. Phil being heavily involved in Ronnie’s releases. 

But what the general public was not aware of at the time, as later revealed in the latter’s book Be My Baby (1990), is that the former was demonically abusive, to the point of literally confining Ronnie (as implied in the lyrics) in their home.

The above allegations were apparently true. For instance, the title of this song seemingly refers to Louis and Gary Spector, twins that Phil adopted and gifted to Ronnie one Christmas. And they too went on to accuse him of engaging in likewise behavior towards them.

Secondly, Spector eventually met his fate while incarcerated, serving a lengthy sentence for murdering an actress named Lana Clarkson. So in hindsight it can be said that his repeated threats to kill Ronnie, as she alleged, were indeed genuine.

An Eye Opener

None of this information was particularly revelatory when “Christmas Kids” came out on 14 March 2010.  By that time, the world was well aware that Phil Spector was a murderous creep, and he had been convicted accordingly. 

But the reason Owen Evans was compelled to chime in on the matter is because while Phil Spector was making his wife’s life a living hell, he “was simultaneously writing and producing trite, catchy pop songs for teens”.

Note that Evans is referring to the 1960s’ era, with such songs from back then being considered puritan as compared to the 21st century fare. But the actions of Spector, an icon of that day, caused Owen to begin interpreting such pieces otherwise. 

And he started noticing some peculiar things, such as their being “recurring theme(s)… of women being dependent upon a man or relationship to feel valuable and loved”. And overall, some of those 1960s’ pieces which at first seemed like teeny fare “begin to feel dark, insincere and even sinister” to him.

Long and Short of “Christmas Kids”

So it isn’t such that “Christmas Kids” should be taken solely as a diss towards Spector or sympathy for Ronnie Spector – for whatever such sentiments would have been worth by the time this track was released. 

But its wider message, even though you wouldn’t be able to gather it from the lyrics, is how the actions of Phil ultimately lead to the disillusionment, if you will, of one of his fans. Or put more plainly, it is Spector who made Owen Evans realize that during the fabled days of yesteryear, there were bastards in the music industry just as they are now.

The song’s narrative centers on Spector and his disturbing treatment of Ronnie. It is actually one of the few songs out there directly influenced by Spector’s personal life.

Christmas Kids

Ronnie Spector’s Horror Story

Veronica “Ronnie” Spector, the lead singer of the 1960s girl group The Ronettes, had a tumultuous and abusive relationship with Phil Spector.

In her 1990 memoir titled “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness”, she shared her story of survival and escape from an oppressive and dangerous marriage.

Ronnie and Phil married in 1968, but the marriage did not take long to turn dark and dangerous. Ronnie claimed that Phil was extremely controlling. She also claimed that he isolated her from the outside world.

According to her, he installed barbed wire and guard dogs around their mansion and constantly monitored her phone calls. On top of that, he forbade her from leaving the house without him. At one point, she was allegedly imprisoned in their home.

The abuse wasn’t just psychological; it was also emotional and verbal. Ronnie once described Phil as a very jealous and possessive man who would frequently threaten her. She further revealed that he once showed her a gold coffin with a glass top, threatening he would kill her and display her corpse if she ever left him.

Ronnie Spector

Ronnie gains Her Freedom

One day freedom came Ronnie’s way and she succeeded in escaping their mansion barefooted in 1972. The escape of course ended their marriage. Their divorce was finalized in 1974, but it took many more years for Ronnie to recover from the traumatic experience.

But she was determined to overcome all that. She went on to rebuild her career and experienced significant success as a solo artist.  

Her survival story is a testament to her strength and resilience, and it sheds light on the issue of domestic abuse, even in relationships where it might seem least expected.

Today, Ronnie’s story is one of the most well-known stories of famous women who survived abuse. Her resilience in the face of horrible abuse is basically what the narrative of “Christmas Kids” revolves around.

Your Comments on “Christmas Kids”

“‘Christmas Kids’ has been a great source of comfort to me. I’ve been through a very abusive marriage in the past, and I feel like the song perfectly captures what it feels like to be in that situation. When I first heard of it, I thought it was a cute Christmas or love song. I’m happy it turned out to be one more song shedding light on the importance of the issue of abuse.”

– A Survivor

“As a psychologist who works with survivors of abuse, ‘Christmas Kids’ is a constant reminder of the terrible experiences that many of my patients have gone through – feeling trapped and unable to escape their abuser no matter what they do.

It’s a suffocating feeling of wanting to leave but not seeing the point, because no matter what, they’ll end up right back where they started or even worse off. It’s incredibly difficult to break free from that mindset, let alone the physical place where the abuse happens.”

– Dempsey

“I’ll know, I’ll know”

“It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to endure the pain of being in an abusive relationship for years. The ‘I’ll know, I’ll know’ part really gets to me in relation to what I have been through. It reminds me of when my abuser was always watching, always waiting, always knowing what I was going to do next.

It’s haunting, but I can’t stop listening to it. It’s bittersweet because it brings back so many painful memories, but at the same time, I know it’s important to let myself feel and process those emotions. I want to remind myself that I am stronger and deserving of love and respect, and it’s never too late to prioritize my own well-being and safety.”

– Lois

I need to break free!

“The line, ‘if you ever try to leave me, I’ll find you, Ronnie’ haunts me. I happen to find myself in a toxic relationship and I don’t know how to quit. I’ve tried to distance myself, but she always finds a way to bring me back in. I’ve done things out of spite to make her angry, but it only makes things worse. It’s like she enjoys the power she has over me. I feel trapped, like a prisoner in my own life. I just wish I could break free and never look back but I feel she’ll never let me go.”

– Ana Farrugia

I Was a Victim of Abuse Too

“‘Christmas Kids” does a fantastic job in drawing the world’s attention to how real abuse is, especially in relationships. I was a victim of domestic abuse and my story might not be that different from those of thousands out there.

In the first year of our marriage, he was charming, funny, and attentive. But over time, things started to change. He became possessive, jealous, and controlling. He would get angry over the smallest things. The first time he hit me, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. But he apologized, just as they usually do, and promised it would never happen again.

True to his words, it didn’t happen for a while. But eventually, the abuse became a regular occurrence. I was trapped and unable to leave. He had isolated me from my friends and family, and I had nowhere to turn. I felt like I was in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.

But thank God, I found the strength to leave. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was also the best decision I’ve ever made. Looking back, I can’t believe I stayed as long as I did. But I know I’m not alone. It’s important that we talk about abuse in whatever form or shape it comes in. I’m happy Roar is championing this through this brilliant masterpiece.”

– Melissa Tabone

“If you ever try to leave me, I’ll find you, Ronnie”

“It’s hard to convey the weight and fear behind the part of “Christmas Kids” that says ‘If you ever try to leave me, I’ll find you, Ronnie’ if you have never been in such an unfortunate situation before. But I do. I know it all too well.

And let me tell you, the worst thing you can do to yourself is to remain in an abusive relationship because of threats like that. I have a piece of advice for anyone going through any form of domestic violence. If you’re in such a situation, I urge you to leave as soon as you can. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Don’t wait until the threats become reality. They often do. It’s hard, I know. It’s scary. But you deserve better than to live in fear. You deserve to be safe and happy. You deserve to live your life on your terms. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t have a choice. You do.

And if you ever need help, there are resources available to you. Talk to someone! You don’t have to go through this alone. You can break free and start a new life. So, please, take care of yourself and leave when you can.”

Kojo Enoch (Writer and Editor)

We’d love to hear your thoughts on “Christmas Kids”! Please feel free to share your opinions and experiences with us. Thanks.

26 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    dang i didn’t even know this listening to the song felt like looking up the meaning so thanks for filling me in

  2. Anonymous says:

    Damn that’s sad asf ????

    • Papadom says:

      Thank you for this effort. I’m feeling it to the core as a survivor of my parent’s abusive relationship.

  3. Anonymous says:

    thats a real sad story, i feel sorry for her

  4. uwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwu1234567890princessslayqueen says:

    sad but im better

  5. Alec says:

    When you wrote “It is not really clear what Phil means by referencing “Christmas kids” in the process.” that’s talking the kids they adopted to force Ronnette to stay in the relationship

  6. ???????????????????????????????????? says:

    A someone who constantly listens to music, this song really gets to me. Christmas Kids is super deep and this website helped me understand it more which seemed to make it even more emotional. I feel so much sympathy for Ronnie.

  7. Addison says:

    This is just, heartbreaking, and eyeopening were listening to the lyrics make more sense and saddening at the same time.

  8. adada says:

    Why is it called Christmas Kids when It doesn’t really take about the Christmas kids but I feel bad for her

  9. zxcursed says:

    *Lorax leaves*

  10. Kyanne says:

    This song was cool but now not really…

  11. The Lorax says:

    The Lorax Leaving*

    • SMF says:

      We appreciate your comment. Can you shed some light on what you mean by “Lorax Leaving”? Thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s a meme that has the song Christmas Kids on it. There are also South Park Edits that also use the song, but the most popular usage of the song is of course, the Lorax leaving meme.

  12. Melinda says:

    The late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was also abused so much at one point in her life. It is believed that this traumatic experience was so serious that it made her become mute for several years. It was during that dark period that she developed a love for books and literature. It is really sad the horrible things some women have to go through in the hands of some horrible men. And the saddest part is that most of the abuse is perpetrated by the people close to us.

  13. Gabby.j.flores iii says:

    i love the song but also it creeps me out cause it reminds me of things but its so catchy I cant stop

  14. Sneha says:

    I’ve just got out of an abusive relationship myself. I was blackmailed and threatened so i couldn’t leave him, i was always kept in chokehold or my parents will know about it. And the worst part was that even his mom supported his actions and wanted me to change. I’m just thankful that I’m out of it now and my heart aches for all those who’re going through abusive relationship still. “Christmas Kids” will always be one of the best song for me and i wish I wouldn’t have to relate to this song so much but i do. But i won’t ever let myself end in such a place.

  15. syd says:

    this is scaring me lol im only 11 and i found outabt the meaning a few days ago i got mad scared and im scared of being alone in dark areas or in small areas again cause im scared that hes watching me i can even sit withought turning around to look behind me now

  16. yamilet p. says:

    Wow… shes so strong may God give her strength to keep going I understand how she feels past mistakes haunt you and you don´t know if your capable of moving on…and being happy…for me it was my family until one day I moved out but I still had so much to learn because the trauma caved in on me at home so, all I would do is look for excuses and dumb things to distract the horrifying pain..but Glory to God i am free…please stop chasing me flor im not that silly little girl no more please stop..

  17. I like true crime says:

    I am having a whole lore day(when i pick a song and find the true lore behind it)

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is deep. My uncle was in an abusive relationship with my “aunt” who abused him with words and put cameras around the house to mohito

  19. Have a good day, person. says:

    Ok, so story time.
    My uncle was in an abusive relationship with my “aunt”. She put up f***ing cameras around the house and monitored him. He was so scared, but then one day my mother showed up, and saw the cameras and my aunt fastly jumped out and tried distracting her. This was 8 years ago, I was 4. I went inside while my aunt tried to talk with my mom. I went in, and found blood on the walls. I started crying and ran out saying “Mama I saw uncie’s ketchup on walls!” Uncie was my uncle. He was happy I shouted, and there was a lawsuit. It was cruel to listen to. My mom covered my ears, but I heard: “The child found proof and the woman is found guilty and is in jail ….. years and 4 months.” My mom said she will be in jail for 30 years. This was one of the scariest things I experienced, and if I wouldn’t have gone in and told, my uncle would have committed s**d*c*d*. I am so happy he is alive to this day.

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