What You Didn’t Know…Christmas Songs

There is a list of songs usually associated with Christmas, but they indeed are not Christmas songs. Here is a small list of Christmas songs that are not Christmas songs.

Jingle Bells

Originally named “The One Horse Open Sleigh.” “Jingle Bells,” was written by James Lord Piermont in the autumn of 1857. The song was inspired by the town’s (Medford, MA) sleigh races.

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty is a song about a snowman that comes to life when wearing a magical hat. It was written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and was a follow up to their song, “Rudolph.” Being that Christmas is about the celebration of Jesus, I am sure you can understand why this song is not a Christmas song. It is considered a seasonal song, specifically winter, but depending on where you live in the world, you can build a snowman in autumn, winter, and/or spring. It is more of a snow fairy tale song, than Christmas.

Rudolph

Rudolph and any reindeer song are not Christmas songs. The idea of flying reindeer began with an illustrated poem published in New York. The idea of Santa comes from the holiday Sinterklaas. So, any reindeer song is associated with Sinterklaas and not Christmas.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Any song referencing Santa is another reference to Sinterklaas. A Dutch holiday celebrating the life of Saint Nicholas, a Green Christian Bishop, who was said to perform miracles like Jesus and was known to be very charitable to people in need.

We Need A Little Christmas

Technically “We Need a Little Christmas” is not a Christmas song, but instead a song about Christmas. The song originates from the Broadway Musical, “Mame.” The main character…Mame, loses her money in the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and to raise her spirits she decided to pretend it’s Christmas, because Christmas seems to raise everyone’s spirits. She then begins to sing the song to tell her servants to “Haul out the Holly,” in other words, even though it is not time to decorate for Christmas, let’s do so, so I don’t feel so bad about losing my money.

Favorite Things

Speaking of sad times and Broadway, “My Favorite Things” is another song that has nothing to do with Christmas. This song originates from the Broadway Musical, “The Sound of Music.” This musical is based on a true story and takes place during the holocaust…sad times. During the show the main character, Maria, explains (in song) to the children (her students) that in sad times, she usually thinks of her favorite things and it causes her to not feel so bad. One of her favorite things is brown paper packages tied up in strings, so people assume that is about Christmas. But if you ever had a Birth Anniversary party, baby shower, wedding, retirement party, or any other special occasion, you should know that gift gifting happens in other occasions other than Christmas.

Winter Wonderland, Sleigh Ride, Let it Snow, and Marshmallow World

These songs are all about celebrating snow. You can’t even call them winter songs because some times it snows in the autumn and sometimes even in the spring. But being that the most snowfall happens in winter, I guess it is okay to label these winter songs.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” has nothing to do with Christmas or even Winter. This song was written by Lynn Garland to sing with his wife during a housewarming party. It became an instant hit and he and his wife were asked to attend parties to sing the song. In 1948 he chose to sell the song to MGM for their film, “Neptune’s Daughter.” The song is simply about a man trying to convince a woman to spend the night with him. When she tells him she needs to leave, he tells her, but it is cold outside, so stay here. It has been recently banned from some radio stations because of the implication of date rape. In the lyrics the woman asks, “what’s in this drink.” In 2009 women began to notice the lyrics of the song and began to protest it. In 2018, it was banned from a few radio stations. Because it is usually cold outside during Christmas, many people think it is a holiday song, but no where in the lyrics or the film does it mention a holiday. For all we know it could be February during. The song itself was originally written as a way to let people know (at a party) it was time to leave. In other words, it was Lynn Garland’s nice way of saying, you don’t have to go home, but you have to get out of here.

I am sure there are many more, but these are enough for now. I highly doubt these songs will stop being played during Christmas, but at least now you know you have misidentified these songs.

Happy Sinterklaas, Merry Christmas, Happy Winter, and Merry Snow Day.

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Casey Bell

Casey Bell

Proud uncle, writer (author, poet, songwriter, playwright, screenwriter, drama series), fashion designer, graphic designer, visual artist, and so much more.