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Christmas Lyrics No One Understands But Still Sings

It’s officially that time of year. Christmas is in the air, as it should be. This means that Christmas music is also in the air, and in the car, and in the house, and in the mall, and the list goes on. Each holiday season, new Christmas songs and albums come out, but each year the Christmas classics stay near and dear to people’s hearts. Christmas is not the same without them.

These Christmas songs have survived hundreds of years and will live on throughout future generations. Though time does not take away any value from these songs, the meanings behind them become more foreign each year. Life has changed a little since their releases. So, let’s get a taste of the past and find out what those odd Christmas lyrics no one thinks twice about really mean. Also feel free to finish the lyrics and sing out loud, no one’s listening. 

Have a Holly jolly christmas

it’s the best time of the year. No, “holly” was not thrown in the song just because it rhymes with “jolly.” It might have been vice versa. Holly is an evergreen shrub-like plant, which means it never loses its leaves, even in the winter. The female plants produce bright, red berries (poisonous to humans) which wreaths and garlands mock today. The plant itself is symbolic in some belief systems due to its long life, but traditionally, its pop of color and timeless cheer makes it the plant of the Christmas season.

Yuletide carols

being sung by a choir. We hear this line in Nat King Cole’s, “The Christmas Song.” Yuletide carols though? No one says that. “Yuletide” now simply means the Christmas season. It does, however, have some historic significance. “Yule” began in Germany as a religious festival during the Winter Solstice, which was similar to the Jewish Passover. “Yuletide” was the winter season. Since Christmas also takes place in the winter, “yuletide” eventually became associated with Christmas traditions, like the yule log. So, yuletide carols are Christmas carols. 

Bells On Bobtail Ring

making spirits bright. “Jingle Bells” hits us with bells and bobtails. The preceding lyrics dashing through the snowin a one-horse open sleigh, give a hint to what the song references here. “Jingle Bells” is an entire song about the thrill of being pulled in a sleigh by a racing horse- a very popular winter activity in the 1800s. Riders sometimes cut the horses’ tails very short to keep them from getting caught in the sleigh; hence, bobtails. Back then, it was custom to line the horses’ reins with bells because the jingle alerted surrounding traffic on the roads. You can imagine the ring they would make in a sleigh race.

Take a look at the five and ten

glistening once again. It’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but where’s the five and ten, Bublé? To make a familiar comparison, a five and ten is like a Dollar Tree today, however, then, items were five or ten cents. The song most likely describes a quaint convenience store like those in Hallmark Christmas movies.

Now as we sing these Christmas classics for years to come, in good or bad voices, they are no longer lifeless words, but stories of Christmases others experienced long ago.

Savannah studies English with an emphasis in Professional Writing at GCU. Her dog and the California coast back home sum up her passions. She loves discovering more about this world through the process of writing and sharing her words with others!
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