Can You Fill in the Blanks to Complete These Hit Holiday Songs?

By: Olivia Cantor

“Let __ receive her __”

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without hearing traditional Christmas carols, and “Joy to the World” should certainly be on that list. The lyrics were written by Isaac Watts in the early 1700s, with the words based on specific verses of the Bible.

“Where the treetops __ and children ___”

The great American composer, Irving Berlin, is said to have crafted the immortal song, “White Christmas” back in 1940, but it was Bing Crosby’s crooning rendition that made this song ultra-popular during that decade (and in the subsequent decades, as well.) Other singers have also recorded their own renditions of this song, like Frank Sinatra, The Drifters, Andy Williams, Michael Bolton and Bette Midler.

“Come and behold Him/ __ the King of __!”

The original Latin title of “O Come All Ye Faithful” is actually “Adeste Fideles,” which was intended as a Christmas carol. Its true origins are rather hard to determine for historians, but they point to its existence as early as the 1600s, with musical traces found in Europe.

“Oh the weather outside is __/ But the fire is so ___”

It’s interesting to note that “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” was written in sunny California by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne back in the summer of 1945. Little did they know that this fun tune would become a very big hit come Christmastime. They found that out after Vaughn Moore recorded it in 1945, and it became an instant chart-topper.

“Sleigh bells __, are you ___”

Felix Bernard and Richard Smith, were the ones who composed and wrote the very seasonally appropriate “Winter Wonderland” back in 1934. Crooner, Johnny Mathis, recorded a very popular rendition of this song back in 1958, which was included in his Christmas album.

“Said the night __ to the little ___”

Did you know that the song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was actually written in 1962 as a reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis? The married couple who composed this song was American, Gloria Shayne Baker, and Frenchman, Noel Regney.

“City __ busy __ dressed in holiday style”

Hollywood films were very instrumental in popularizing specific Christmas songs, and “Silver Bells” is a perfect example of this. The song was included in the 1951 comedy film called “The Lemon Drop Kid” starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, and this duo sang the song there.

“All of the other __/ Used to laugh and call him __”

Country music superstar, Gene Autry, was the first one to sing “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” back in 1948, which became an instant hit. But this specific character first appeared earlier, back in 1939, in a booklet penned by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward department store.

“__ all the __”

Records show that the original title of the American Christmas song, “Jingle Bells,” was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” written by Massachusetts-born composer James Lord Pierpont. There are actually two conflicting plaques commemorating where he wrote it, with one found in Medford, Massachusetts, while the other is found in Savannah, Georgia, where Pierpont ended up working.

“Come they ___ __/ Pa rum pum pum pum”

The first recording of “The Little Drummer Boy” was done in 1951 by the Trapp Family Singers, the real-life family that was featured by the film, “The Sound of Music.” Though they were Austrian, they recorded it for the British label called Decca Records.

“Above thy __ and __ sleep/ The silent stars go by”

While some Christmas songs don’t directly pertain to a specific biblical event, per se, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is different, because it directly refers to the birthplace of Jesus, as it was written by an Episcopalian priest back in the early 1800s in the form of a poem.

“On the first day of Christmas my __ __ gave to me”

“The 12 Days of Christmas” has been recorded numerous times in the modern era, both in the form of serious renditions and also in the form of parodies. Some notable artists who recorded this song include Burl Ives, Perry Como, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

“Don we now our __ ___”

“Deck The Halls” is a Christmas carol that can be traced back to the 1800s, while the melody alone can be dated back to the sixteenth century. It is both Welsh and Scottish in origin. Originally, carols were not songs, but rather dances.

“And the mountains in reply/ Echoing their __ __”

“Angels We Have Heard on High" references the New Testament, specifically, The Gospel of Luke. It was written in 1862 with lyrics by James Chadwick, although the melody was originally from a traditional French song.

“Good __ we bring to you and your __”

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is English in origin. It gained popularity when Arthur Warrell arranged it for the University of Bristol Madrigal singers in 1935. The precise origins of the song are unknown, however.

“Holy night/ All is __, all is __”

“Silent Night” is actually a certified intangible cultural heritage “item” from Austria, as identified by UNESCO in 2011. It was composed there by Franz Xaver Gruber, and there’s even a Silent Night Chapel in the village of Oberndorf where the popular Christmas carol was sung for the first time back in 1818.

“Bells are __, children __, all is merry and bright”

Country music legend Gene Autry performed many country songs, but he also released many Christmas-themed songs, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus.” He provided the words to this tune, which Oakley Haldeman composed and released back in 1947.

“He’s making a __ and checking it __”

American performer Eddie Cantor’s radio show debuted the now classic Christmas song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” back in 1934. Since that first broadcast, many artists have recorded this song, like Bruce Springsteen, The Jackson 5, Mariah Carey, and yes, Bing Crosby, to name a few.

“With a corncob __ and a button __”

Gene Autry was the first to sing “Frosty The Snowman” back in 1950 before Jimmy Durante also recorded it later on. The concept of this snowman named Frosty was later adopted into a children’s illustrated book, a short film and an animated TV special.

“Peace on earth and mercy mild/ __ and __ reconciled”

The popular traditional Christmas song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” originated as a hymn like other traditional yuletide songs. Many legendary musicians recorded this song, such as Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Charlotte Church and Jim Brickman.

Take a look in the __ and __ glistening once again”

The 1951 Christmas song, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” was recorded by many notable artists which, of course, include Bing Crosby. Originally called, “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas,” the song references a Grand Hotel, but historians are conflicted as to which Grand Hotel is actually being discussed in the song.

“Bearing __ we traverse __”

The Three Kings referred to in the Christmas song, “We Three Kings,” are the three foreign dignitaries mentioned in the Bible as the Magi, or commonly known as the Three Wise Men. The three traveled to where Jesus was born, and they came bearing gifts: gold, myrrh and frankincense.

“Who laid to __/ On Mary’s lap is ___”

The Christmas carol called “What Child is This?” is actually sung to the tune of "Greensleeves" which was a traditional English folk song that dates back to 1580. It wasn't until the 1860s that the melody was used for "What Child is This?"

“Underneath the __ last night/ She didn’t see me __”

A 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd was the original kiddo who sang the innocent-sounding 1952 Christmas song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” The Boston Roman Catholic Diocese condemned the song at first, because of the fact that it mixed Christmas with romance.

“Slip a __ under the __ for me”

The gloriously divine Eartha Kitt was the first one who sang the somewhat sexy 1953 Christmas song called “Santa Baby.” Madonna also had her own sultrier version released in 1987, while Kylie Minogue released her version in 2000.

“But the very next __ you gave it __”

George Michael also left a Christmas legacy in the form of a song called “Last Christmas.” This Christmas staple was released in 1984 under his former group, Wham! However, he was the one who produced and wrote the yuletide-themed heartbreak ballad.

“I don’t need to hang my __/ There upon the __”

Mariah Carey’s 1994 hit yuletide song, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” has now become one of the Christmas staple songs, played over and over whenever the season is near. Walter Afanasieff composed the song with her, and it was included in her fourth album called "Merry Christmas."

“Please have __ and __ and presents on the tree”

Bing Crosby made the Christmas standard “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” a certified hit back in 1943. Since it was a time of war when the song came out, it was originally meant as an honorable nod to the countless people who were overseas fighting for their land while hoping to be able to come home for the holidays.

“Well tonight thank God it’s __ instead of __”

Bob Geldof formed the entity called Band Aid in 1984 wherein he banded together some of the biggest musical artists of the 80s to sing for a good cause, notably the anti-famine advocacy aimed to help Ethiopia. Their banner song was “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Some of the artists who contributed their efforts during that decade were Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Wham, Culture Club, The Boomtown Rats, Bananarama and U2.

“Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun/ Now the __ __ has begun”

“Jingle Bell Rock” was originally composed in 1957 as a more modern and upbeat Christmas song. This was at a time when rock'n'roll was being forged as a legitimate genre. Singer, Bobby Helms, is noted to have recorded it first, and there have been many other recordings of the song since then, such as the version by Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell in 1962, and the Hall and Oates version in the 80s.

“I’ll be so __ just thinking about __”

Elvis Presley crooned his heart out when he sang the soulful country rendition of “Blue Christmas” back in 1957. Other artists has since covered the song, such as Loretta Lynn, Blake Shelton and Martina McBride.

“But I can dream and in my __ I’m __ with you”

The Carpenters also created a Christmas song that became one of the holiday standards of our time, “Merry Christmas Darling,” in 1970. It was written by Frank Pooler and Richard Carpenter.

“From now on, your __ will be out of __”

The Christmas song, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” was actually from the 1944 film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” directed by Vincente Minneli. The film starred Judy Garland who performed the song.

“Gosh oh gee how __ I’d be if only I could __”

Alvin and the Chipmunks may have the most famous rendition of the funny Christmas song called “All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth),” but other artists actually covered the song as well. This novelty song was actually composed in 1944 by a music teacher in New York.

“So this is __, and what have you __”

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was actually written by both John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. John Lennon released and recorded this as a solo act, after The Beatles had already disbanded.

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About This Quiz

In many parts of the world, when December rolls around, so does the holiday spirit. Everything suddenly smells like cinnamon, pine, gingerbread and peppermint. Potted poinsettias crowd around the base of heavily decorated trees. Temporary ice-skating rinks open for business. More pervasive than anything else, however, is the holiday music.

Whether you're in your car listening to the radio, out shopping at the mall, performing in a high school choir or simply grabbing a cup of coffee on your way to work, it's impossible to miss the bombardment of Christmas music. 

Why not channel all that annual yuletide exposure into this quiz! Find out if, after all these years, you finally remember all the lyrics to "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Maybe you want to hone your "Santa Baby" skills for the office holiday party (or maybe not.) 

If you love reindeer games, come take a look at this mixed collection of carols, and see if you can guess the words we omitted! Don't be scared, there's no mistletoe involved!

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