What do the Grinch and Tony the Tiger have in common? What’s so special about ”Silent Night”? Here are ten surprising facts you didn’t know about your favourite Christmas songs
1.Silent Night” Inspired A Truce During World War I. On Christmas Eve 1914 —British troops spotted Christmas trees on the German side of the fight. Then they heard soldiers singing “Stille Nacht.” They responded by singing the English lyrics. Eventually, the troops emerged from the trenches to meet, exchange gifts, and even play soccer together. Fighting resumed on December 26.
2. The original Christmas carols were about the birth of Jesus. It wasn’t until much, much later that Santa Claus entered the equation. The first Christmas song to mention Santa Claus was Benjamin Hanby’s “Up on The Housetop.” Written in 1864, Hanby was inspired by Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.”
3.Irving Berlin originally wrote “White Christmas” for a Broadway musical that was never produced. It was then picked up by Hollywood producers who used it in Holiday Inn, a 1942 film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
4.“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” were all written by Johnny Marks, who was Jewish. The proudly Jewish Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas.” And “Let It Snow”? “The Christmas Song” was written by Mel Torme, and yes, he was Jewish. In fact, Torme released an entire album of Christmas tunes in the 1990s.
5. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is a really old song! It gained popularity in the 18th century, which would make it pretty old today. But its origins are even further back. The song, originally in Latin, was penned around the ninth century.
6. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Thurl Ravenscroft ,The singing voice of the Grinch, was also the voice of the Frosted Flakes cereal mascot, Tony the Tiger, for almost 50 years. That’s Greatttt!
7 Wham! released the single ‘’Last Christmas’’ the same year as Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, so they decided to donate all proceeds of the song to the same Ethiopian famine appeal. It has gone on to raise more money than “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
8. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World” are two of the oldest English language Christmas hymns, originating in the 1700s.
9. In 1906, a violin solo of “O Holy Night” was the second piece of music to ever be broadcast on radio.
10. Mel Tormé’s “The Christmas Song” (more commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) was ironically written during a summer heatwave in 1944.