Confusing Christmas Songs
While we were energetically singing "Jingle Bells" this past week, both of my kids corrected my lyric of "In a one horse open sleigh" to "In a one horse SOAPEN sleigh." This made me think of all the Christmas songs that I 1. Sang (sing) incorrectly, 2. Don't understand, and 3. Skip over entirely in our Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook.
Lyrics I sang incorrectly as a child:
"Round YOUNG virgin Mother and Child" (She was young)
"Up on the housetop reindeer PAWS" (That one makes sense to me still to this day. Hooves can be referred to as paws, can't they?)
"Good tidings we bring to you and your KING" ("King" rhymes with "bring" better than "kin" does)
"Take a look at the FINEN TIN glistening once again" (I don't know what that means. So I looked it up. It's "Five and ten." What is that referring to? Cross streets? A time of day?)
"Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of YOUR faithful friends who are dear to us" (What does "yore" mean? Did you know that before you looked it up?)
Lyrics I don't understand:
"We'll tell scary ghost stories" (This is from "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Is it common for people to sit around at Christmas and try to scare each other? Am I missing out on a fun holiday tradition?)
"Bells on bobtail ring" (What's a bobtail?)
"Twelve Days of Christmas" (There are birds given on days 1,2,3,4,6,7. If you write a song that has twelve different things in it and half of them are birds, why not do the whole song about birds? Did the guy not know any more bird names? I can't name 12 different birds. Do people give birds for Christmas? Is wanting a bird for Christmas common enough to write a song about it? I have some friends whose son is asking for a rat. (Apparently they are really smart and bond well with their owners. Who knew?) Then there's the most confusing part of all: "Four Colly birds" vs. "Four Calling birds." I didn't even know this was a debate until last week when we got a "Twelve Days of Christmas" book from the library. It says "Colly birds." (It means black bird. Thank you answers.com). My kids sing "Colly" now. Are they going to get beat up by the "Calling" faction? This discovery made me question years of singing an already confusing song.)
Christmas songs I have never heard nor sung yet are in the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook:
"The Merry Christmas Polka"
"Christmas in Killarney"
"Will Santy Come to Shanty Town?"
"The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot" (I just read the lyrics. Chorus: "He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot, and goodness knows he didn't want a lot. He sent a note to Santa for some soldiers and a drum; It broke his little heart when he found Santa hadn't come. In the street, he envies all those lucky boys, then wanders home to last year's broken toys. I'm so sorry for that laddie; He hasn't got a daddy, the little boy that Santa Claus forgot." Really? That happy chestnut made it into this collection of songs? Are there really so few uplifting Christmas songs that this one made the cut? Was "that little boy" the editor for the songbook? Hmm...)
As a kid you never cared about getting the words right or even tried to understand what you were singing. You just loved being with family and sang the song loud and hoped that your enthusiasm for Christmas would somehow be detected by Rudolph's sonar.
So sing out this Christmas when you are a-wassailing with friends and kin (not king). It's the joy of being together that really matters.