CHILDREN AND OTHERS
MISUNDERSTANDING CHRISTMAS
STORIES AND SONGS

There are many cases where children (and others) misunderstand the words of Christmas songs and stories, and sing or otherwise mangle what is meant. Sometimes adults do it too.

The BIG 5:


The List

  1. A child making a drawing of Jesus' flight to Egypt in an airplane with Pontius being the pilot. (A Bible story)
    Misunderstanding the meaning of the word 'flight' and not knowing that airplanes had not yet been invented.
  2. All I want for Christmas is stew (or food) (All I want for Christmas is You)
    A child misheard the lyric 'you'.
  3. Gloria in excelsior (Angels We have Heard on High)
    A child heard 'Gloria in excelces' and thought that a girl named Gloria was packed in Excelsior.
  4. I heard something about pouring Jubilee and Joy cleaners through a long strainer. (Angels we have Heard on High)
    A child heard 'Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?' and picked up only a few words.
  5. An Ex-Chelsea day-o
    In a Chelsea stable
    In Aunt Chelsea's stable
    In eggshells see day-o
    In excuses day-o
    (Angels we have Heard on High)
    A child mishearing the lyrics and not knowing the words in 'In excelces Deo'.
  6. Should all acquaintance be for God (Auld Lang Syne)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'be forgot'.
  7. Old Lang's Sign
    Old man time
    (Auld Lang Syne)
    A child mishearing the lyrics.
  8. The cattle are lower
    The cattle are glowing
    The catalog glowing
    (Away in a Manger)
    A child mishearing 'The cattle are lowing' who does not know the meaning of 'lowing'.
  9. The cattle are blowing the poor babe away (Away in a Manger)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'The cattle are lowing. The poor babe awakes'.
  10. Yuletide carols being sung by the fire (Christmas Song)
    Someone misheard 'sung by a choir'.
  11. Deck the halls with lots of parsley
    Deck the halls with Buddy Holly
    Deck the haul with bells of folly
    (Deck the Halls)
    A child misheard the lyric 'boughs of holly'.
  12. Darn we now our gay apparel (Deck the Halls)
    A child misheard the lyric 'Don' and thought the clothes needed mending.
  13. See the grazing mule before us (Deck the Halls)
    A child misheard the lyric 'blazing yule'.
  14. Strike the heart enjoy the florist (Deck the Halls)
    A child misheard the lyrics 'Strike the harp and join the chorus'.
  15. Bring him silver and gold? He needs a heater! (Do you hear what I hear?)
    A child heard 'A child shivers in the cold. Let us bring him silver and gold.' and proposed his own solution.
  16. The first Joel (The First Noel)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'Noel'.
  17. Was to frighten poor shepherds (The First Noel)
    A child mishearing 'certain'.
  18. Barney's the king of Israel (The First Noel)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'Born is'.
  19. Frosty the snowman is a ferret elf they say (Frosty the Snowman)
    A child mishearing 'fairy tale'.
  20. With a corncob pipe and a bloody nose (Frosty the Snowman)
    A child mishearing 'button'.
  21. With a broom stuck in his head (Frosty the Snowman)
    A child mishearing 'With a broomstick in his hand'.
  22. Most highly flavored gravy (Gabriel's Message)
    This is misunderstanding the line 'most highly favored lady'.
  23. The kid yelled, 'Mountain! I am gonna tell on you!' (Go Tell it on the mountain)
    A child misunderstanding the lyrics.
  24. God gives merry gentlemen rest (God rest ye Merry, Gentlemen)
    This is misunderstanding the title line, where God rests (makes) people merry.
    Actually, the comma fits anywhere in it, with a different meaning for each.
  25. Get dressed ye married gentlemen (God rest ye Merry, Gentlemen)
    A child mishearing the lyrics.
  26. Let nothing through this May (God rest ye Merry, Gentlemen)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'Let nothing you dismay'.
  27. On his feets uneven (Good King Wenceslaus)
    A child mishearing 'Feast of Steven'.
  28. Good King Wenceslaus's car backed out on the feet of Steven (Good King Wenceslaus)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'Good King Wenceslaus went out on the feast of Steven'.
  29. Hark the Hairy (or Harold) Angels Sing (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
    A child mishearing or not knowing the word 'herald'.
  30. Joyful oily nations rise
    Join the triumph of disguise
    With the jelly toast proclaim
    (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'Joyful all ye nations rise'.
  31. Born Emmanuel more may die (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
    A child mishearing 'Born that man no more may die'.
  32. God has seen her raccoon eyes† (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
    Mishearing the lyrics 'God and sinners reconciled'.
  33. Glory to the New York king (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'newborn king'.
  34. Here we come a waddling (or waffling) (Here we Come a Wasseling)
    Mishearing the title line of the song and not knowing the word.
  35. Oh, Ho, the missing toe (Holly Jolly Christmas)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'mistletoe' or not knowing the word.
  36. Somebody waits for you, Is there one for me? (Holly Jolly Christmas)
    A child mishearing 'Kiss her once for me'.
  37. But have a cup of cheese (Holly Jolly Christmas)
    A child mishearing 'cheer'.
  38. She thought that I was locked up in my bedroom fast asleep (I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus)
    A child mishearing 'tucked'.
  39. Why do angels touch their harps? Why don't they play them? (It came upon a Midnight Clear)
    This is translated from another language where the same word is used for both touching something and playing an instrument.
  40. To touch their hearts of gold (It came upon a Midnight Clear)
    A child mishearing 'harps'.
  41. through the clovered skies (It came upon a Midnight Clear)
    A child mishearing 'Still through the cloven skies they come' and not knowing that 'cloven' means 'split'.
  42. With a one-horse soap and hay (Jingle Bells)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'one horse open sleigh' (She looked for horse soap in stores).
  43. Bells on Bob's tail ring, making spareribs bright (Jingle Bells)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'spirits'.
  44. Bells are 'bout to ring (Jingle Bells)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'Bells on bobtail ring'.
  45. Joy to the world, and let's have fun (Joy to the World)
    Mishearing the lyrics 'the Lord is come'.
  46. Let men their sins enjoy (Joy to the World)
    Mishearing 'songs employ'.
  47. Let every heart repair a broom (Joy to the World)
    Mishearing the lyrics 'prepare Him room'.
  48. And having a manger scene
    And evident nature sings
    (Joy to the World)
    Mishearing the lyrics 'heaven and nature sing'.
  49. He rules the world with Ruth and Grace (Joy to the World)
    Mishearing 'He rules the world with truth and grace.'
  50. Unto us a Chinese boy
    Unto us a sunny skin
    (Messiah)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'child is born'.
  51. O How I love you Frances (O Christmas Tree)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'your branches'.
  52. O come froggy faithful
    O come holly faithful
    (O Come all ye faithful)
    A child mishearing the title lyrics.
  53. Yet in thy dark streets, China (O Little Town of Bethlehem)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'shineth'.
  54. O tiny bomb (O Tannenbaum)
    A child mishearing the title lyrics.
  55. Will he take your little drum? Shall he take your flute and drum? (Pat-a-pan)
    A child misheard 'Willie, take your little drum. Sally, take your flute and drum.' and thought Santa Claus was taking away toys.
  56. Rudolph the red-nosed stranger (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
    A child mishearing the title lyrics.
  57. Olive the other reindeer (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'All of'.
  58. Then one froggy Christmas Eve (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'foggy'.
  59. You will drown in Listerine (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
    A child mishearing 'You'll go down in history'.
  60. A kid made a sign with the 'no' circle and the word 'pout' (Santa Claus is coming to Town)
    He heard 'You'd better not pout' and made a sign prohibiting it.
  61. Elephant boats and kiddie cars too (Santa Claus is coming to Town)
    Mishearing 'elephants, boats, and kiddie cars too'. What is an elephant boat?
  62. He's making a list of chicken and rice (Santa Claus is coming to Town)
    Mishearing 'and checking it twice'.
  63. He'll seize you when you're sleeping (Santa Claus is coming to Town)
    Mishearing the lyric 'He sees you'.
  64. Drawing the mother and child hiding behind a virgin (Silent Night)
    Thinking that 'virgin mother and child' was a series of three.
  65. Glorious dreams from heaven above (Silent Night)
    A child mishearing 'Glories stream from heaven above'.
  66. Sleep in heavenly peas (Silent Night)
    A child mishearing the lyrics.
  67. Christ the savior is bored (Silent Night)
    A child mishearing the lyrics.
  68. And a partridge juniper tree
    And a cartridge in a pear tree (or pantry, or party)
    (12 Days of Christmas)
    A child mishearing the lyrics 'And a partridge in a pear tree'.
  69. We three kings of porridge and tar
    We three kings of Oregon are
    We three kings of Orion tar
    (We three Kings)
    A child misheard the lyrics 'We three kings of Orient are'.
  70. Good tidings to you and all of your kids (We Wish you a Merry Christmas)
    A child didn't know the word 'kin'.
  71. When shepherds washed their socks (When shepherds watched their flocks)
    A child mishearing the title lyrics.
  72. Slave elves in the snow (White Christmas)
    A child mishearing 'sleigh bells in the snow'.
  73. And pretend that he is sparse and brown (Winter Wonderland)
    A child mishearing the lyric 'Parson Brown'.
  74. Later on, we'll perspire (Winter Wonderland)
    The child didn't know the word 'conspire'.
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* There are three kinds of feet:

  1. Unguligrade - Hooves. Reindeer and horses have unguligrade feet.
  2. Digitigrade - Paws - Walk on toes. Dogs and cats have digitigrade feet.
  3. Planigrade - Heels and a plantar. Humans and apes have planigrade feet.

† smeared mascara (not the disease with the same name)