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Released: 2023

Sabrina Carpenter explores the theme of unreciprocated love in her heartfelt holiday song, “Santa Doesn’t Know You Like I Do.” She contrasts the generic benevolence of Santa Claus, a figure of cheer and giving, with her deep personal knowledge and affection for the song’s object of desire. Essentially, the song is a plea for the other party to recognize her feelings and make her Christmas wish come true – a relationship with them.

Starting with the line, “Santa/Doesn’t know you like I do,” Carpenter introduces her argument. Santa, revered as the universal granter of wishes, can’t understand the song’s protagonist’s unique relationship with the person she cherishes. She backs this up with lines detailing the emotional support she has provided, “I’ve been there through the good and bad/Know how to make you laugh/Kiss all your tears away, babe.” These lines highlight her intimate bond with the person, emphasizing her capability of providing emotional comfort, an aspect Santa lacks.

When Carpenter sings, “So, tell me what’s on your wishlist/I wanna make it come true,” it further underscores her intention to fulfill her love interest’s wishes in the way Santa traditionally would. She, however, presents herself as more capable because she understands their desires and needs on a personal level.

The lyrics, “I know all of your favorite songs/Pick up each time you call/So why can’t I be the one/To give you everything you want?” reflect Carpenter’s bewilderment as she struggles to understand why she can’t be the one beside her love interest, despite her emotional availability and willingness to meet their needs.

Finally, the closing lines, “Well, maybe this Christmastime/You’ll finally realize/That I could be the one/To give you everything you want,” signify a lingering hope. Carpenter harbors the optimistic thought that maybe this Christmas, her love interest will finally recognize and reciprocate her feelings.

“Santa Doesn’t Know You Like I Do” then, uses the festive trope of Santa Claus to illustrate a deep, personal desire for recognition and reciprocation of love. It’s a clever metaphorical twist on the traditional Christmas pop, turning the focus away from Santa’s gifts to the deeper, emotional gifts a more intimate relationship can offer.

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