Christmas Songs

Fun Facts about Your Christmas Favorites

Nothing brings out the Christmas spirit like singing Christmas songs. We start hearing the songs in stores and shopping centers around Thanksgiving and everyone gets in the holiday mood.

The History of Singing Christmas Songs

People started singing seasonal songs thousands of years ago to celebrate the Winter Solstice. In AD 129 a Roman Bishop wanted a song called "Angel's Hymn" to be sung at Christmas services. Soon after that, many European composers started writing Christmas Carols. The word Carol means song of praise and joy.The songs were all written in Latin and most people could not understand the words so they did not sing along. In fact, by the Middle Ages, most people had stopped celebrating Christmas altogether.

In the 1200's St. Francis of Assisi started producing Nativity plays in Italy. The songs in the plays were in the language of the people and they could enjoy singing along. Sadly, about four hundred years later, the celebration of Christmas and the singing of carols was outlawed. Fortunately, people loved singing the carols so much that they secretly sang them and kept the tradition of singing Christmas songs alive.

Facts About Our Favorite Songs

Many of the Christmas songs we sing today have historical significance as well. The "Twelve Days of Christmas" was written to help young Catholics learn the basics of faith and the "true love" in the song represents God giving gifts to His believers.

One of the most famous and popular Christmas songs, "Silent Night" was written by the pastor of a little Austrian church. The church organ was broken when mice nibble holes in the bellows and the pastor had to write a song that could be played on a guitar, the only other instrument they had.

"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is a great song for children. The song was actually written as a promotion for a department store in Chicago. The store created a story book about Rudolph that was put to music several years later. Rudolph, sung by cowboy singer Gene Autry, was an instant holiday classic.

Not every Christmas song was popular when first introduced to the public. John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" was originally produced in 1971 and created a controversy by combining anti-war sentiment with the season of Christmas. The song did not become popular until after Lennon's assassination in 1980 when it made it onto the Billboard charts.

Some other interesting facts about some of our favorite songs: "The Christmas Song", sometimes known as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" was written during a heat wave. "White Christmas", performed by Bing Crosby, was written for the film" Holiday Inn" which received an Academy Award for Best Original Song. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "We Need a Little Christmas" are both songs that were used in movies to help chase away sadness faced by the shows characters. "Jingle Bells", was originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh" and was written as part of a Thanksgiving program for a church in Savannah, Georgia.

Christmas songs have a long and wonderful tradition and bring a great deal of joy to both singers and listeners. From classic carols like "The First Noel" to more modern day favorites like "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" or "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", Christmas songs are a fun way to sing your celebration of the holiday season.