Words and music by James Pierpont
Though, for most of us, “Jingle Bells” has come to be practically synonymous with Christmas, James Pierpont wrote it in 1857 for a Thanksgiving program at the large Boston church where he taught Sunday school. He titled his song “The One-Horse Open Sleigh” and made the rhythm so jaunty and the words so catchy that his 40 little Sunday schoolers learned it almost instantaneously. (A friend of Pierpont’s, admiring the song, called it a “merry little jingle,” and helped give the tune the name by which we know it today.) The children’s first performance was such a success that they were asked to repeat it at Christmastime, whereupon the sleigh apparently took on the identity of Santa’s sled, and “Jingle Bells” became a Christmas song forever.
Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh;
O’er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.
Bells on bobtail ring,
Making spirits bright;
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight.
Oh! jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way;
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.
Hey! jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way;
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!