Christmas songs you "misheard" as a kid

This thread, and it’s mention of “Orien Tar” made me think of my own Christmas Carol mess-ups as a child. The most notable was how I butchered “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

I was a child growing up in Green Bay during the late 80s/early 90s, when Lindy Infante was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

I thought the words to the first line Latin version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” were not “Adeste fideles, laeti triumphante” but “Adeste fideles, LINDY INFANTE!”

Although, that could describe a gathering of Packers fans in the late 80s/early 90s (O come all ye faithful, not joyful and triumphant, but coached my Lindy Infante), it wasn’t a version I should have been singing. My parents got a kick out of it.

What Christmas songs did you not understand? How did you sing them wrong?

“God rests, ye merry gentlemen.” I think I had some idea that it was like a Sunday and God was taking the day off.

I always thought it was a “one horse soapin’ sleigh.” I imagined suds and stuff coming off the sleigh.

I thought it was “balls of holly”.

We giggled as kids about that one.

“…and a partree ginapear tree.”

That song has a lot of weird archaic wording. One example that puzzled me as a kid was in the verse that goes:

In Bethlehem, in Jewry this blessed babe was born
And laid within a manger all on this blessed morn
The which his mother Mary did nothing take in scorn…

I heard that last line as “The witch, his mother Mary, did nothing take in scorn”. I was all like, “The Virgin Mary was a WITCH???”.

I thought Hark the Herald Angels Sing was about someone named Harold, and wondered if Harold was like Charlie, with his own set of angels, and why he got a song and Charlie didn’t.

I always thought it was “round young virgin,” as in round-because-she’s-pregnant round, and young because, you know, she’s young.

And I thought it was BARK the Herald Angels Sing … and that they were singing about trees.

(I have told this one before on the Dope) I was traumatized by “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” - in our family, we had a neighbor who would dress up as Santa for the little kids, and so I thought the joke of the song was that Mommy was having an affair with a neighbor. Indeed, what a laugh it will be Daddy sees THAT! It never occurred to me until I was an adult that in the song it’s Daddy who is dressed up.

I always thought the name of the horse in Jingle Bells is “Bob” As in “Bells on Bob’s Tail ring.” I still not really convinced that it isn’t the correct lyric.

Every lyric I ever seen is “Bells on bob tails ring” How can there be more than one “tail” in a one horse open sleigh?

My Three Kings were from Oreintar. I’m not sure where on the map that is though.

I’ve always heard (and sung) “bells on bobtail ring.” “Bobtail” is sometimes given as the answer to the trivia question “What is the horse’s name in ‘Jingle Bells’,” but it really just refers to a horse with its tail cut short.

[quote=serenata67;11918256i was a child growing up in green bay during the late 80s/early 90s, when lindy infante was the head coach of the green bay packers.

I thought the words to the first line latin version of “o come all ye faithful” were not “adeste fideles, laeti triumphante” but “adeste fideles, [lindy infante]


For me, it was Winter Wonderland. The mishearing makes lots of sense, though:

Later on, we’ll perspire,
As we dream, by the fire

Seems logical enough, to perspire by a fire…

Not technically Christmas but Christmas was the only time I ever heard it -------- I was positive that in the song “Bringing in the Sheaves” they were saying “Bringing in the Sheeps”

Not “misheard” so much as “misread” -

I first heard and sang “Winter Wonderland” in elementary school (1970s), and never really understood the line:

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown

We would sing from lyrics displayed by an overhead transparency projector; the words were in all caps, and some (as it turns out) spacing issues resulted in the line being displayed as:


(I remember this so clearly because every year we had an all-school “Christmas Assembly” and we sang from the same transparency for all six years I was at this school.)

I wondered for a long time what “pars on brown” was. My confusion was caused by several factors:

  1. I’d never heard the word “parson”, so didn’t know it was a synonym for “minister”, “pastor”, “reverend”, etc.

  2. The all-caps rendering eliminated the possibility of recognizing “Parson Brown” as somebody’s title and name.

  3. The group singing setting removed the ability to clearly hear the song leader singing it correctly.

And naturally, the following lines, “He’ll say ‘are you married?’, we’ll say ‘no, man, but you can do the job when you’re in town’” made no sense whatsoever without understanding the “Parson Brown” bit.

My brother also suffers from this interpretation.

I always thought the refrain of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” was about something called “bunniman joy.”

This isn’t misheard but kind of in the same vein of things

In the song (and poem), Twas The Night Before Christmas the line is:

And turned with a jerk

Of course no kid under age 10 (and a few adults too :)) can resist changing it to

And turned like a jerk

I used to think people were singing “Gloria in a Chelsea stable”.

It ticked me off a little that Manhattan scooped Jersey on that one. We had loads of horse farms around and could have handled it easily.