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I’ve often written about the many oddities of how Christmas is celebrated around the world.

However, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of looking deeply into Christmas music — until now.

There are some interesting facts about Christmas music that you might not be aware of. Here are a few to bring you up to speed on some of our favorite Yule Tide tunes.

Fun Facts About Christmas Music

  • Tony the Tiger sings, “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.” Yes you’re hearing voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft’s big bass voice belting out that classic. I guess every time I hear this song from now on I’ll picture a big box of Frosted Flakes and hear, — “they’re Grrrrrrreat!”
  • “Jingle Bells” — a Thanksgiving song? Yes, James Lord Pierpoint, a music teacher at his father’s churches penned the song around 1857 for a Thanksgiving celebration in either Savannah, Georgia or Medford, Massachusetts. Both towns claim credit for the song.
  • Christmas Music Written By Jewish Composers? Jewish composer Johnny Marks wrote, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin Around The Christmas Tree,” and “Holly Jolly Christmas.” Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas.” The classic, “Let It Snow,” written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. And of course Mel Torme wrote “The Christmas Song.”
  • Was the topic of “Do You Hear What I Hear” nuclear war? In 1962 Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne wrote the song as a “prayer for peace.” The one line in the song speaking of a star “with a tail as big as a kite” they are, in fact, referring to a missile, not the star of Bethlehem. The Harry Simeone Chorale released it in November of 1962 and people just assumed it was a new Christmas song.
  • Up On The House Topwritten by Benjamin Hanby in 1864 was the first American Christmas song to mention “St Nick” or Santa Claus. The inspiration came from Clement Clarke Moore’s poem A Visit from St. Nicholas that included going down the chimney and a sleigh on the roof.
  • When “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” should you call a Doctor or a Vet? While Randy Brooks wrote the song in 1978 it is actually sung by Elmo Shrophire, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).
  • Rating double at stations playing Christmas Music 24/7? Yes they did for Clearchannel the largest radio chain in the US in 2011. One station in 2013 started their Christmas music on October 5th. The most played song in New York City in all of 2012? “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Mariah Carey.

Some Final Thoughts

So now you know the hidden facts about some of your favorite holiday tunes.

No matter who wrote them or how they came to be they’re a part of our American culture and will endure year after year.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

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