9 Silly Commonly Misheard Christmas Song Lyrics

9 Silly Commonly Misheard Christmas Song Lyrics

Singing Christmas songs and hymns is one of the best parts of the season. Nothing else gets you in the spirit quite like “Jingle Bells” or “Winter Wonderland” (except for maybe a mug of hot chocolate). But sometimes it’s hard to hear exactly what the right lyrics are and, as a result, our imaginations fill in the blank.

Here are nine common mistakes people make while singing their favorite Christmas songs:

1. “Angels We Have Heard on High”

"Gloria… in Aunt Chelsea’s stable..."

Correct Lyrics: “Gloria… in excelsis Deo…” (This translates to “Glory be to God on high.”)

2. “The 12 Days of Christmas”

"On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, four calling birds..."

Correct Lyrics: “On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, four colly birds…” (Both calling and colly are now common, but colly was the original word.)

3. “Winter Wonderland”

"Later on, we’ll perspire, as we drink by the fire..."

Correct Lyrics: “Later on, we’ll conspire, as we dream by the fire…”

4. “Jingle Bells”

"Bells on Bob’s tail ring, making spirits bright..."

Correct Lyrics: “Bells on bobtails ring, making spirits bright…” (A “bobtail” is a horse’s tail cut short or tied up. Although, “Bob’s tail” would still make sense if the horse’s name is Bob.)

5. “Silent Night”

"Round John Virgin, mother and Child..."

Correct Lyrics: “Round yon Virgin, mother and Child…” (What does this actually mean? Turns out it’s just a shortened way of saying, “All is calm and bright around the virgin over there.” We’re talking about Mary here, not some guy named John.)

6. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

"Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names..."

Correct Lyrics: “All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names…”

7. “Deck the Halls”

"See the grazing mule before us, fa la la la la la la la la…"

Correct Lyrics: “See the blazing yule before us, fa la la la la la la la la…” (The word “yule” has many interesting ties to Christmas. A yule log was historically lit on Christmas day and burned for the next Twelve Days of Christmas.)

8. “Joy to the World”

"Joy to the world, and let’s have fun, let earth receive her keys..."

Correct Lyrics: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King…”

9. “Winter Wonderland”

"In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is sparse and brown..."

Correct Lyrics: “In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is Parson Brown…” (As far as we know, Parson Brown isn’t an actual person.)

Have you ever misheard any of these lyrics? What other lyrics have you mixed up before?

Morgan is a recent graduate from the Technical Communication program at Utah State University. She is currently interning for ThirdHour.org. When not stringing words together, she can either be found reading a Harry Potter book (again) or searching for new film scores on Spotify.