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12 Joyful Lyrics From Christmas Carols

Christmas songs have been around for nearly as long as people have celebrated the holiday, but the earliest versions were sung exclusively in Latin, a language known primarily by religious leaders and few others. It wasn’t until 1223, in Italy, that St. Francis of Assisi began including more accessible celebratory songs in his Christmas nativity plays. The lyrics were sung in Italian, so  audiences learned the words and began singing along. And with that, a tradition was born.

By the 19th century, Christmas carols were being printed and distributed widely. People began to gather in public to sing for passersby (who would often treat the carolers to a snack or beverage in appreciation). Since then, of course, Christmas music has become big business.

The first half of the 20th century brought such classics as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “White Christmas,” to name a few. It was the era of crooners and it inspired singers in every niche of the music industry to get on board. These days, Christmas songs are embraced by artists and bands of all genres, from Brooks & Dunn’s country-western version of “Winter Wonderland” to Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.”

These are the songs that mark the season — the ones we come back to time and again, while we’re decorating the tree and baking cookies. In celebration of all the ways that music fills our holiday with cheer, we’ve collected a selection of our favorite lyrics from Christmas carols through the years. May they inspire you this season to turn the music up and sing along.

Once again, as in olden days / Happy golden days of yore / Faithful friends who are dear to us / Will be near to us once more
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

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And so, I’m offering this simple phrase / To kids from one to 92 / Although it’s been said many times, many ways / Merry Christmas to you.
“The Christmas Song”

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Christmas Eve will find me / Where the lovelight gleams / I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

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I'm dreaming of a white Christmas / Just like the ones I used to know / Where the treetops glisten and children listen / To hear sleigh bells in the snow
“White Christmas”

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Oh, the fire is slowly dying / And, my dear, we’re still goodbye-ing / But as long as you love me so / Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
“Let It Snow”

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Gone away is the bluebird / Here to stay is a new bird / He sings a love song / As we go along / Walking in a winter wonderland
“Walking in a Winter Wonderland”

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Have a holly, jolly Christmas / And when you walk down the street / Say hello to friends you know / And everyone you meet
“Holly Jolly Christmas”

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Cause I just want you here tonight / Holding on to me so tight / What more can I do? / Oh baby, all I want for Christmas is you
“All I Want for Christmas Is You”

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It's Christmas time in Hollis, Queens / Mom's cookin' chicken and collard greens / Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese / And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees
“Christmas in Hollis”

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It's the most wonderful time of the year / With the kids jingle belling / And everyone telling you "be of good cheer"
“It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

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Just hear those sleigh bells jingling / Ring-ting-tingling too / Come on, it's lovely weather / For a sleigh ride together with you
“Sleigh Ride”

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Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say / He was made of snow / But the children know / How he came to life one day
“Frosty the Snowman”

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Photo credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
April Dávila
April Dávila is a lover of words. Her debut novel "142 Ostriches" was released in 2020.
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