Can You Guess the Christmas Song From Its Opening Lyrics?

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

We're surely beginning to hear all of the Christmas melodies, even during the tail end of November! But come December, all sorts of Christmas songs will definitely be played all around. Are you game enough to sing along with us on this Christmas songs quiz? We'll give you the opening or beginning lyrics, and you guess the titles, okay?

“___ ____, Holy Night/ All is calm, All is bright”

Each year on December 24th at 5 pm Central, Europe Time, the authors of "Silent Night” are honored by the town of Oberndorf. This is a town near Salzburg, Austria.

“Dashing through the snow/ In a one horse open sleigh”

“Jingle Bells” was written by James Lord Pierpont. However, it was first published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" back in 1857.

“I’m dreaming of a ___ ___/ Just like the ones I used to know”

“White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin in 1942 and was made famous by crooner Bing Crosby, It inspired musicals and numerous renditions by various artists, and Crosby even starred in a film with the song as its title.

“You better watch out/ You better not cry”

“Santa Claus is Coming To Town” was written by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots while in transit on a New York subway. Needless to say, it became a big hit since Christmas 1934.

“…Let your heart be light/ From now on our troubles will be out of sight"

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane back in 1943. It was debuted by actress-singer Judy Garland in the classic musical film 'Meet Me in St. Louis.'

“…The stars are brightly shining"

The original text of “O Holy Night” was written in 1847 by a French poet named Placide Cappeau. But we all know its English version worldwide.

"...Joyful and triumphant/ O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem"

"O Come, All Ye Faithful" was originally written in Latin and is titled “Adeste Fideles.” The song is known to have many authors.

"Come they told me/ Pa rum pa pum pum"

The song we now know as “Little Drummer Boy” was written by the American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis back in 1941. The song is originally known as "Carol of the Drum."

"...It's Christmas time in the city"

"Silver Bells" was composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It debuted in the film The Lemon Drop Kid where it was sung by the legendary Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell.

“…/ The Lord has come! / Let earth receive her King"

"Joy to the World" was written by English hymn writer Isaac Watts in 1719. It’s actually based on a couple of Biblical passages.

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me/ A partridge in a pear tree"

The earliest known version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was published in London under the original title "The Twelve Days of Christmas sung at King Pepin's Ball.” Some words were actually part of a 1780 children's book called Mirth Without Mischief.

"...Glory to the new-born King/ Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” first appeared back in 1739 as part of the collection entitled 'Hymns and Sacred Poems.' It was written by a guy named Charles Wesley.

"... The Angels did say/ Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay"

The First Noel’s origin is unknown. But it’s generally thought to be English, dating back to the 16th century.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful/ But the fire is so delightful"

Funny enough, “Let It Snow” was written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945. They were in Hollywood, California back then, in the middle of suffering a heat wave, so Cahn and Styne imagined a better kind of climate for themselves.

“… Was a jolly happy soul/ With a corncob pipe and a button nose"

"Frosty The Snowman" was written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson. It was first recorded by country music idol Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950.

"... Let nothing you dismay/ Remember Christ our Savior"

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is an English traditional Christmas carol. It’s actually one of the oldest surviving carols known to humankind.

"... With boughs of holly, Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la"

The melody of “Deck The Halls” is Welsh, which dates back to the 16th century. However, the English lyrics were written later, in 1862.

"... Lean your ear this way/ Don't you tell a single soul, what I’m going to say“

“Jolly Old St. Nicholas” originated from a poem penned by Emily Huntington Miller. But a school teacher and former Pennsylvania mayor claimed that he penned the song in 1867. Ah, copyright woes...

"... Thy leaves are so unchanging"

“O Christmas Tree” is actually based on a traditional German folk song called "O Tannenbaum" which refers to a fir tree. There are also some variations to the lyrics, depending on who’s singing.

"... Had a very shiny nose/ And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows.”

It’s interesting to note that “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by Johnny Marks and was based on a 1939 poem. And that poem was penned by an American advertising executive named Robert May.

"Said the night wind to the little lamb/ Do you see what I see?"

It’s interesting to note that “Do You Hear What I Hear” has a connection with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Its composers wrote it as kind of a protest song to hopefully have that crisis resolved.

"Sleigh bells ring, are you listening/ In the lane, snow is glistening"

“Winter Wonderland” is a popular Christmas carol all over the world. Yes, it’s well-liked, even in places without snow!

"...Sweetly singing o’er the plain/ And the mountains in reply"

The bulk of “Angels We Have Heard on High” was inspired by a French carol. Its refrain of “Gloria in excelsis deo” was taken from the Bible though; specifically from Luke 2:14.

"...You can plan on me / Please have snow and mistletoe"

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” was recorded in 1943 by legendary crooner Bing Crosby. Of course, if it’s from Crosby, it becomes a top ten hit.

"...Everywhere you go/ Take a look in the five and ten"

“It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” was written by a theater-inclined man named Meredith Willson. He also wrote the Broadway musical entitled The Music Man.

"...Right down Santa Claus lane/ Vixen, Blitzen, all his reindeer"

“Here Comes Santa Claus” is another Christmas gem penned by Gene Autry. The singing cowboy wrote this back in 1947.

"...That glorious song of old/ From angels bending near the earth"

“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” is a song popularly covered by many artists from different generations. Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby had their own renditions, as well as The Carpenters, Hall and Oates, and even Josh Groban.

"... Who, laid to rest/ On Mary's lap is sleeping?"

“What Child is This” talks about the newborn baby Jesus. It also mentions His important mom, of course.

"...Bearing gifts we traverse afar/ Field and fountain, moor and mountain"

“We Three Kings of Orient Are” talks about the Magi. That’s the collective term used for the three kings who traveled to look for Jesus.

"... In heav'n the bells are ringing"

“Ding Dong Merrily on High” is celebratory with the repeated lines “Gloria Hosanna in excelsis!” It’s a legitimate Christmas carol.

"...When they are both full grown/ Of all the trees that are in the wood"

“The Holly and the Ivy” are representational of the greenery during this time of the year. But the ivy referred in the song is of British origin, and not a cousin of the more popularly known poison ivy — well, sort of.

"...How still we see thee lie/ Above thy deep and dreamless sleep"

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” refers to the small town found in Jerusalem. The composer made a pilgrimage there in 1865, and was inspired enough to pen this carol.

"...Underneath the mistletoe last night/ She didn't see me creep"

The music and lyrics of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" was written by Tommie Connor, and was originally recorded by Jimmy Boyd. But little Michael’s rendition of it when he was in Jackson 5 is more memorable, sorry.

"And so I'm offering this simple phrase/ To kids from one to ninety-two"

"The Christmas Song" is regarded as one of the classic Christmas songs in modern history. Its simplicity is indeed effective.

"I don't want a lot for Christmas/ There's just one thing I need"

"All I Want for Christmas is You" may not yet be a traditional Christmas song, but this Mariah Carey tune is always played around during the season. It has been that way since it debuted back in 1994.

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