• 19th December, 2012

What?! It’s Christmas?! I had no idea…

It's THAT time of year again

It still remains unclear why, more than one month before the big day, we are bombarded with “Christmas spirit” wherever we go! Tinsel, red hats, snowflakes squirted onto shop windows with that white foam stuff and Christmas carols. Oh, the Christmas carols…

What exactly are Christmas carols?

For some they are angelic sounds sent from heaven, for others they are a never-ending torture. No, but really, what are they?

Carols are popular songs sung at Christmas whose lyrics refer to this happy time of year. They began to grow in popularity between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries and, contrary to popular belief, they were not as religious as you may have thought. They used to be seen as profanities, but over the years due to their growing popularity they were gradually accepted and adopted by the Church.

Right, enough of the encyclopaedic blah, blah, blah… Let’s get down to what’s really important: the ridiculously nonsensical words of the songs.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Pesky Shepherd Boy

Said the Shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know?
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know?

Mighty (angry) King

OK, firstly, why is this cheeky little shepherd boy mocking this mighty king. No shepherd boy in his right mind would think this was a good idea. And secondly, if I were this mighty king, I’d be thinking “what has this little @*%# done to my wall? Off with his head!”

Little Drummer Boy

Annoying Boy and his Drum

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Ignoring the “pa rum pum pum pum”s if we can, the first thing that strikes me is the concept of an ox and a lamb keeping time… Really?! If this is the case, then they were probably checking their watches and telling Mary to stop nodding and kick this little drummer boy (and drum) out of the stable for being a pain in the ass (donkey).


Should you genuinely want to know what noises animals make, because I haven’t seen any keeping time lately, you need to check this out.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmasween?! Hallochristmas?!

There’ll be parties for hosting,
Marshmallows for toasting and
Carolling out in the snow.
There’ll be scary ghost stories and
Tales of the glories of Christmases
Long, long ago.

Marshmallows? Oh, so we’re camping? At Christmas? In December? In the near Arctic temperatures? And ghost stories? Is it Halloween? Step away from the Eggnog.

Despite all of this, what we really mean to say is…

We wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas!!

If you have any comments about our carols, or any others that drive you up the wall, why not let us know via Twitter or Facebook.

And if you’re thinking ahead to the New Year and your resolutions… come and check your level in English and Spanish here.

Posted in : Culture, Lingualia
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