The Stories Behind the Top 5 Classic Christmas Songs

listening to music

Christmas 2020 is almost upon us. So, it is time to set the mood for celebration. So, why not starting with a Last Christmas dance ‘party’ or listening to Christmas songs?


christmas music woman holding a black christmas playslist box


Do you want to forget about the COVID-19 pandemic for a second and get into the holiday spirit? If that is the case, then this article is for you.


Christmas carol musical notes decorated with red baubles pine branches and a ribbon



Let us discover together the stories behind some of the most famous Christmas songs.


“O Holy Night” is certainly one of the first carols that come to mind when we think about Christmas songs. Yet, did you know that it is also the very first song ever broadcasted over radio waves in America?

o holy night golden letters on a dark blue sky background


The Holy Night song was created by the poet Placide Cappeau and the composer Adolphe Adam. On the one hand, Cappeau was not part of the church. On the other hand, Adam was a Jew, so he did not believe that Jesus was the son of God. Therefore the church denounced the song despite its increasing popularity. J.S. Dwight wrote an English version of the song which became very popular in the northern states of the US. Its third verse [“Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother…”] resonated with abolitionists.


“Silent Night” is also one of the most popular Christmas songs in history. However, the fact that we know it at all is a true miracle.

music carols musical notes papers with candy and cookies


Right before Christmas Eve 1818, a young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, found out that the church organ did not work properly. So, he took a poem he had written 2 years before and brought it to his friend Franz Gruber. Mohr asked the musician to compose a guitar accompaniment and a melody for the Christmas Eve mass in Oberndorf, Austria. Little did they know that 200 years later people would still remember and sing their song all over the world?

christmas songs mariah carey in a white dress with long gloves on the stage



This Christmas carol tells the story of a poor young boy, who came to the Nativity of Jesus. He did not have a gift for the Infant, so the boy simply played his “best for him”.


christmas choir performance singers dressed in white and red and a conductor with a red hat


Interestingly enough, the creator of the song was a woman (Katherine Kennicott Davis) who wanted to produce material for amateur and girls’ choirs.


It’s Christmas time again. And what would be Christmas without Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells”? Nevertheless, there are some interesting facts about the song that very few people know.


jingle bells red christmas bells on musical notes


For instance, we assume that it is a Christmas carol, but there is no mention of any holiday in the song. In fact, it contains lyrics such as ‘go it while you’re young’ that have quite a rebellious nature. In addition, the first name of the song was not “Jingle Bells”, but “One Horse Open Sleigh”.


christmas bells ornament hanging on a tree


Also, the creator of the song, James Pierpont, was the son of a fiercely abolitionist Unitarian minister. However, he became a supporter of the Confederacy.


Christmas songs Santa Claus in a living room with a huge bag of gifts



Let us also say a few words about another one of the most enduring Christmas songs ever. This carol was created by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie during a ride on the New York Subway. The pair was travelling to a music producer who had asked them to write a Christmas song for children.


christmas songs woman with headphones under a christmas tree listening to her favourite songs



We might not be able to visit Christmas holiday attractions this year. Also, we might need to modify celebrations in order to comply with health and safety regulations. However, this does not mean that we cannot enjoy a wonderful Christmas time. If nothing else, we are only a few Christmas songs away from inviting the Christmas spirit into our day-to-day experience.


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