Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, and Other Holiday Mondegreens

Okay, so, first off, does everyone know what a mondegreen is? Its an actual word. Really. I swear I didn't make it up. A mondegreen, according to Merriam Webster, is "a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung." 

In other words, you got the lyrics wrong.

In some cases, really, really wrong. But that's what makes mondegreens so much fun. I mean, come on, admit it...when the E.L.O. song "It's Magic" comes on the radio, you're singing "Oh, oh, oh, it's my dick" under your breath, right? 

No? Well, maybe it's just me, then. But I bet you do from here on out.

I was shocked to find out how many people get the lyrics for time-honored and cherished holiday songs wrong, but I found a slew of them on the net, including Snopes.com. 

For example,  do you have any idea how many people at the office Christmas party are singing "Jeff's nuts roasting on an open fire" instead of "chestnuts?" How can they possibly think those are the right words? I don't know how these people celebrate the holiday, but they must break bread with Hannibal Lector if they think roasting someone's testicles on the ol' fireplace is a terrific holiday tradition. 

It seems other people want to "deck the halls with Buddy Holly." Now, since poor Buddy's been dead since 1959, I'm thinking he's gonna smell just a tad bit ripe by now. I would opt for boughs of holly, instead. 

How about Frosty the Snowman? Everyone knows the right words to that one, don't they? Yeah, not so much. Seems a lot of folks are singing about his "corncob pipe and his bloody nose." 

Say again? What, does Frosty moonlight as a Ultimate Fighter? Who does he fight? Sam the Snowman from Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer? I would put my money on Sam. Frosty may have a broom, but Sam has that wicked umbrella...

Jingle Bells. Come on, this is the most elementary song of them all! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse, open sleigh. Or, for those of us with a third grader perpetually stuck in our heads, there's the alternative, "jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg, the Batmobile broke its wheel, and the Joker got away." 

But in either case, there's definitely no "bells on Bob's tail ring, making spareribs bright, what fun it is to write and sing a slaying song to knives." 

And I'm sorry, but whether you believe in Santa or not, I just can't believe anyone would think the correct words to "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" are "Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guard my slave tonight."

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some folks think Santa is a bit off. After all, why else would they change the words to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" to "He's making a list of chicken and rice," or that he'll have little toy dolls "that doodoo and poo"? Or that they'll be "building toilet towns" all around the Christmas tree? 

Also, I don't know who "Round John Virgin" is, or why he would have a "margarine child," or why they would sleep in "heavenly peas," but evidently that's what they do in  some people's rendition of "Silent Night."

Perhaps the most misquoted one of all is "The Twelve Days of Christmas." My favorite one is "On the twelfth day of Christmas, my tulip gave to me twelve dumpers dumping, eleven pipers peeing, ten lawyers leaving, nine lazy handsomes, eight maids a milling, seven warts on women, six geezers laying, five golden rings, four calling cards, three french maids, two turtle shells, and a cartridge in a pantry." 



  1. I just found out what a mondegreen was and these are funny. Now I have a name for Round John Virgin.

  2. The problem with mondegreens are, once you know them, you can't help but sing them in your head when you hear the actual song! LOL

  3. Mondegreen! Thank you for that word, I don't know how I've managed for so long without it.

    Christmas is the best time for mondegreens. "Oh come all ye baleful" is a favourite.