The holiday season is officially upon us, and Stray Kids have dropped a wintery mini album accompanied by the MV for “Christmas EveL” on November 29. Equal parts hilarious and chaotic, “Christmas EveL” joins together the group’s signature mischievous humor with their witty songwriting. 

A touch of comedy has become a Stray Kids staple as they have searched for their identities as artists and as themselves. The most popular example of this was probably their “God’s Dududu” Kingdom stage, where they merged the abundant musical flavors of “God’s Menu” with the humor of Deadpool. Obviously, Stray Kids do take their artistic growth seriously, but what is refreshing about them is that they clearly know how to combine talent and fun, creating memorable experiences for all. 

“Christmas EveL,” as to be expected, focuses on the beloved “night before Christmas.” The MV tells the story of Stray Kids—not the Kingdom winners nor one of the faces of fourth-generation K-pop—but rather, Santa’s substitutes. If a one-sentence description of this MV narrative alone does not catch your attention, the cheeky humor (sometimes quite random but also very on-brand) and Stray Kids’ full commitment to the holiday storyline will make you stay. “Christmas EveL” almost dares viewers not to laugh out loud at least once. 

At the opening of the MV, we find the eight members lounging in their van as the radio announces that Santa Claus is unable to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. The solution? The alternate Santas, a.k.a Stray Kids. 

While they were clearly on stand-by and expecting this task, all but leader Bangchan seemed less-than-thrilled about the confirmed responsibility. Hyunjin was originally dozing in the middle seat, but he is shaken awake by the groans heard throughout the van, joining in with his own complaints. Despite the mild chaos, Bangchan collects his children with a smiley face juice box in hand and a similar “we can do it!” energy. 

And then Stray Kids are off to find and magically wrap the presents they need to deliver. In tune with the playfulness of “Christmas EveL,” the members’ first destination is a corner store where they wreak a little havoc before joining the now-wrapped presents in a pink van with the Stray Kids logo emblazoned on its side. 

There is something uniquely captivating about “Christmas EveL” and the natural hilarity Stray Kids weave into the whole production. Viewers get caught up in the chaotic trail the group leaves in their wake; yet, this journey is one colored by fun and laughter overall. 

“Christmas EveL” possesses many flavors of humor, from music production to the clear narrative driving its MV. On the first level is the track itself. Accentuated beats of the bass and the lighter bells in the background make it easy to fall in the playful bounce felt in the song. A mellow drop leads to the chorus and Felix singing “Jingle, jingle all the way” while adding to the laid back holiday vibe. 

Layered onto the production, which holds surprises at each transition, are the lyrics. As Stray Kids fans—or Stays—know, the group has a way with words. Witty or woeful, the eight can do it all, particularly their main rappers 3Racha.  

Their recent holiday release falls delightfully into the former category. While viewers who do not speak Korean would still get the gist of “Christmas EveL” with just the MV, they would still miss out on so much if lyrics had not been provided. Part of the reason why this track hits the bullseye for comedy is because of clever, relatable, and often deadpan songwriting. 

Instead of holly jolly lyrics romanticizing the holiday season, Stray Kids bemoan and complain about it. Rapper Han opens with “The overnight snow is pretty for just a second,” a statement that hits true for those who have experienced the dirt/slush mixture that follows a snowfall. Youngest I.N adds onto the sentiment later, doing nothing to hide his annoyance tinged with amusement:

It’s getting colder, I’m burning my anxiety, not firewood
Thanks to the slippery road, there’s more traffic 
Thanks so much, winter 

The crème de la crème, of course, is all of these elements in combination with the MV, where Stray Kids’ entertaining naughtiness is on full display. From the get-go, they are obviously not the ideal Santa replacements who recognize the responsibility they now bear and go about the job with this weighted understanding. While collecting the presents in the corner store, each member ends up doing their own thing. Felix launches into the chorus of “Christmas EveL” after grabbing the security camera, spinning around the store as gifts fly through the air. 

Then there is Seungmin and Hyunjin fighting over a clock; Bangchan adopting Felix’s scarf; and Lee Know discovering the hologram of his face complete with a cat nose, whiskers, and ears and accompanied by a floating cat head. (The last shot may inspire memories of Lee Know’s additions to the Stray Kids Instagram, notably his cats and his interesting filter choices.)

Changbin also has a moment when he opens a freezer—next to a mannequin dressed as “Thunderous” Bangchan featuring the bright orange hair—that explicitly declares, “Danger: Do Not Open.” Unsurprisingly, a “biting wind” shoots into his face, turning him into an ice sculpture. 

Stray Kids’ Santa adventures are far from over, as they soon jump into their pink van and set off to deliver the presents. This journey is cleverly rendered like a holiday village scene with a mini version of their bright van racing through the quiet streets lined with holiday lights. These moments have a small part in the overall MV, but it is unexpected scenes such as these that work perfectly with Stray Kids, their music, and the humorous story they tell. 

The next 30 seconds roll with hazardous driving, gifts flung loose from the van at random as they tumble along their way. The van lands in a sink full of dirty dishes, and the eight emerge from underneath, attempting to tiptoe their way through the house. When they get caught by a sleepy girl disturbed by the noise, Stray Kids’ reactions are to stare when she realizes what they are doing. But then, remembering their manners, they introduce themselves with their classic Stray Kids greeting. 

Despite this small mishap, the group recovers quickly and makes a new friend along the way in the sweet and funny conclusion. They do not remain flustered, but rather open up their Christmas festivities to the kid. A rapid succession of snapshots of Stray Kids trying to receive an approval of a gift from her and dancing in the living room together follow as their repetition of “Feliz Navidad” kicks off. 

Christmas Eve comes to a close, and the members celebrate their successful run as Santa substitutes. That is, until Bangchan’s phone alert goes off, and they are summoned once again.

While “Christmas EveL” is a “Christmas” song, it does not feel that way, especially in combination with its MV. Rather, it seems like a Stray Kids release that happens to be related to the holidays—a moment where they could play around and turn the “typical” Christmas song on its head. 

Part of Stray Kids’ motto is “Stray Kids all around the world.” With “Christmas EveL,” they made this a reality as they dipped their toes into being Santa for a night, complete with their trademark Stray Kids humor. Oh what fun it is, indeed.  

(YouTube. Images via JYP Entertainment.)