Christmas Classics – Jingle Bells (Stream, Lyrics & Meaning)

‘Tis the Christmas season of the year 2019 and with this article, we take you back over a century of years. “Jingle Bells” is one of the most popular and most well-known Christmas songs on the planet–well, maybe even in space, as this was the first-ever song to be played by Earthlings in space in December 1965. Let us take you to the roots of this classic Christmas hit and its meaning.

When it comes to classic Christmas songs may come to mind–“Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and “Mary Did You Know,” and even “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” But “Jingle Bells” has managed to peak above all this for being one of the simplest and joyful and one that you can dance frantically to.

History of “Jingle Bells”

The composition of “Jingle Bells” song dates back to 1857 when the English songwriter James Lord Pierpont penned the lyrics as a thanksgiving song. How and why it was meant to be a Thanksgiving song baffles us as much it does to you. However, the song grew to be a cultural icon as a Christmas song throughout the years.

James Lord Pierpont originally titled the song as “One Horse Open Sleigh.” How or why or when the title shift occurred is part of the song’s mysterious history.

The original song performances dating back to 1889 are believed to be non-existent now. However, many artists have covered the song over the years, notably; The Beatles, Boney M., The Carpenters, Ella Fitzgerald, The Lennon Sisters, Dean Martin, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Frank Sinatra and many more.

Listen to “Jingle Bells” Christmas Song

The “Jingle Bells” song, in essence, sings about the adventures of Santa Claus while riding his sleigh during Christmas.

The first verse of the song talks about the joyous activity of riding a sleigh that floats in the air. It is an open sleigh with one horse to power it. He laughs all throughout his journey, as he is happy to be spreading joy to the world. The songwriter talks about the sleigh speeding through the snow which makes this song factually unsuitable to be a Thanksgiving song.

In one of the most popular choruses of the world, we hear Santa singing how fun it is to ride on his open sleigh during this magical time of Christmas.

In the second verse of “Jingle Bells,” the songwriter narrates a funny incident that befell him a couple of days ago. As usual, Mr. Santa was seated on his sleigh and his wife, Miss Fanny Bright, thought she would join him too. The horse on duty that day was thin and not very strong. He was not able to handle the weight of the plumpy Santa and his wife, and the sleigh ran into a bank, and the sleigh was turned upside down. All throughout this chaos and destruction, we only hear the cheery tone and vocals of the song. It is merely a funny and fond memory on his sleigh.

The third verse gets even more sinister without us even realizing it. In these lyrics, the sleigh rider narrates yet another story that happened a few days back. In this incident, he was on a casual ride yet again, and yet again the sleigh hit something and turned upside down. The rider fell down and lay uncomfortably on the snow. A chap came by to pass him, on another one-horse open sleigh. This rider only laughed at the man who was in pain on the ground and he drove away. Not exactly in the spirit of Christmas, is it?

The fourth verse of “Jingle Bells,” turns back towards the happy undertone of the song. The songwriter describes how even you can ride your own sleigh. Wait till the ground is covered in snow, get a horse with a bobtail, check for the horse’s speed, hook it up to the sleigh and one crack from the whip and he would be off, dashing. Lastly, don’t forget to take your girls on the sleigh and make them sing “Jingle Bells” at the top of their lungs.

Let us hear what you think about this world-famous Christmas classic in the comments below.

Adam McDonald

Hi! I am the founder and lead author and editor of Justrandomthings music community. A vast range of personal interests from Hip-Hop to Country to Hard Rock and Punk music will keep you entertained.

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