The Pride

The History of Jingle Bells

Back to Article
Back to Article

The History of Jingle Bells

James Valentin, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






When someone says the words “Jingle Bells”, the first thing that likely comes to your mind is the warm, happy feelings of drinking hot cocoa, decorating trees, and unwrapping presents that the holiday season brings every year.

The set of songs that always come onto the radio during the last two months of the year are so ingrained into our minds that most of us can perfectly recite the lyrics to them, after having heard them so many times. Yet, few of us know the origins of perhaps the most famous of such songs, “Jingle Bells”. Well, prepare to be educated, reader, for today, we’ll be delving into the history behind the lyrics of “Jingle Bells”. Because nothing gets us more into that holiday  mood than KNOWLEDGE! …Right?

The origin of the composition of “Jingle Bells” can be traced back to one man- James Lord Pierpont, born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1822. The son of a Unitarian pastor, Pierpont found a profession in musical composition as he travelled across the country. He wrote and composed the famous Christmas song in August of 1857 and had it published the month afterwards under the title “The One Horse Open Sleigh”. Even after changing its title to the one most of us are familiar with, “Jingle Bells”, the song was not an instant success. Its recognition only began to grow long after its composer had passed away in 1893.

Believe it or not, the song was actually written for the Thanksgiving holiday, rather than Christmas. This was because the song’s initial inspiration came from an experience Pierpont had once in the month of November, where he had ridden in a sleigh with his partner. This is further evidenced through the songs lyrics: upon inspection, you’ll find that the song actually has no correlation to the Christmas holiday, being entirely secular in its message. Its actual association with Christmas began on Washington Street in Boston in 1857, where it became an annual tradition for choirs to sing it during the month of December. Soon, other choirs followed in adding it to their seasonal repertoire, planting the seed for the song to become a Christmas staple, even with its secular nature.

Since then, “Jingle Bells” has gone on to become one of the most recognizable songs in

the world. It has been translated into multiple languages, performed by over 200 different musical artists, and broadcasted into space, the first song to have such a distinction.

So, the next time you listen to the song that so influences the warm, happy feelings of Christmas, just know that “Jingle Bells” isn’t technically supposed to be a Christmas song at all. Even so, it keeps us in the Christmas mood as we blindly indulge in the seasonal follies of commercialism. Happy Holidays, everyone!

About the Writer
James Valentin, Staff Writer

James Valentin is a sophomore at WWS, contributing to the Pride for his second year. He primarily focuses his articles on objective news and on topics...

Navigate Left
  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    Big Tees and Mom Jeans

  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    Big Move for Prairie Path Books

  • Features

    Wheaton Warrenville South High School Speech Team Wins IHSA Sectionals

  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    Career Spotlight: Hospital Teachers

  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    Lettuce Know: Responses to the E Coli Outbreak

  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    To Read or Not To Read

  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    Getting It Wright

  • Features

    FOMO: Are You Missing Out on Social Media or Life?

  • Features

    Video Rentals: A Check-In in 2018

  • The History of Jingle Bells

    Features

    Amna Razi’s Green Team Keeps South Environmentally Friendly

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Wheaton Warrenville South High School
The History of Jingle Bells