Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

You can’t avoid it now. Christmas carols infiltrate our daily lives now. At the gas station, the supermarket, the dentist’s office, the sounds of the season are everywhere. And although, I’m a person who embraces the holidays and the music, I prefer to hear it closer to Christmas. Undoubtedly, the songs are fun to sing-a-long with. But what the heck are you singing? Haven’t you ever wondered what these old timey Christmas song lyrics actually mean? Here, you will find 6 Christmas song lyrics and their meaning.

You are about to find out the truth behind the songs and the lyrics. We all do it with songs of all kinds, we mindlessly sing along. But when you stop and think about what you are singing, that can change a song entirely for you.

Just the other day, had to look up the meaning of “yuletide.” It’s definition: Of or relating to the holiday season. So just for the falalala fun of it all, let’s troll the auld yuletide meanings of some other holiday headscratchers.https://country1025.com/wp-admin/edit.php

I enlisted some help from Merriam-Webster, Oxford English Dictionary, and a couple of other noted sources (below). Here are some of the most misunderstood and curious lyrics from Christmas songs.  Bottoms up with a cup of good cheer, my friends,  and please bring me some figgy pudding. Did you know figgy pudding is just mashed figs, cream, and bread, boiled?

What do these old timey Christmas song lyrics actually mean? Let’s decipher and learn together! And while we are at it, we can enjoy some of our favorite versions of the classic Christmas songs. Representing multiple genres of music, from big band to pop and country enjoy the songs in a whole new light, now that you will be able to understand what they are singing.

  • Bells on Bobtails

    Song: “Jingle Bells”

    “Bells on bobtails”- What the? Ok apparently this refers to the style of a horse’s tails. Think man-bun on a horse’s tail. It’s cut short or gathered up and tied in a knot.  I feel better already.

  • Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

    Song: “Deck The Halls” 

    “Don we now our gay apparel” – Don is not a guy. Don means to put on. Gay -meaning happy, bright, festive.  So in other words, if Don was to don his gay apparel, he is putting on his party clothes. That all makes perfect sense now.

  • Hop-A-long- Boots

    Song: “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” 

    “Hop-a-long boots”- I don’t know what they are, but I think I want a pair! They sound cool. I’m thinking swag looking leather boots on springs. However, the truth is, they refer to a fictional cowboy from the 1950’s “Holpalong Cassidy.”  And perhaps the boots he wore.  Ahh, now we know!

  • Troll The Ancient Yuletide Carol

    Song: “Deck The Halls”

    Another fun lyric from “Deck the Halls.” “Troll the ancient yuletide carol”  sounds scary, right? There isn’t a troll living at Carol’s house. Deep breath.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “troll” has been used since the 16th century, and can mean,  “to sing in a full, rolling voice; to chant merrily or jovially.” Think Elf and Buddy’s famous line, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” You get the picture. Here’s another great version of the Christmas classic…

  • Pretend to be Parson Brown

    Song: “Winter Wonderland”

    “And pretend to be Parson Brown”- Dude must have been famous, right? Apparently it’s really a reference to a random minister of the time. The writer of this gem gave the minister a proper name, Brown. (Parson is a member of a clergy).

  • Auld Lang Syne

    Song: “Auld Lang Syne”

    Before the year is over, make sure you throw around this term as much as possible. Every time you toast to the season repeat these lyrics that feel like we are speaking in tongues, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne!” Wow, I never knew! And still don’t. Dictionary.com tells us it translates to “times long past.” Fun fact: “Auld Lang Syne” was first a Scottish poem. It was later put to music and voila! (According to Grammerly)

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