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Arts, Sports & Culture

Untold Stories behind Holiday Songs

From “Jingle Bells” to “White Christmas,” many of our most popular holiday songs have interesting stories behind them. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos tells us the stories behind some of our favorite holiday songs.

Wos singles out “Jingle Bells” as possibly the first Christmas pop song. Originally intended as a Thanksgiving song, “Jingle Bells” became a popular drinking song and ultimately became associated with Christmas.

And before “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was a song, Wos explains, it was a book that was given away for free by Montgomery Ward stores in the 1940s. The book’s author came up with a song to go along with the Rudolph story in order to better capitalize on the story.

Finally, according to Wos, the Jewish Irving Berlin, who wrote a number of well known Christmas songs, including “White Christmas,” imbued his songs with a sense of longing and a feeling of outsider status.