Can You Name the Christmas Song If We Mess Up the Lyrics?

By: Brittany Rowland
Estimated Completion Time
7 min
Can You Name the Christmas Song If We Mess Up the Lyrics?
Image: Orbon Alija/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Check the malls for boughs of holly ... Wait, that's not quite right! Every year, soon after we've digested our Thanksgiving turkeys, radio stations and stores start playing Christmas music. Love it or hate it, there's no escaping it! And what's even crazier is that some people sing along to these classic tunes without even knowing the correct lyrics! There's nothing like standing in an elevator with someone singing along to "Winter Wonderland," only they're singing, "Later on, we'll perspire as we sweat by the fire." You get the idea!

Luckily, there's a way to improve your Christmas song knowledge: listen to them all the time, all year long! Okay, maybe that's a tall order. Still, if you start studying right after the Fourth of July, you should be able to memorize a good 200 to 300 songs! That gives you a leg up over the slouches who actually wait till December to start playing their Christmas music! Plus, you have a wide variety of songs to choose from: traditional religious hymns, songs about Santa and the denizens of the North Pole, songs about snow, songs popularized by cartoon characters and so on!

So see where you stand right now. Take the quiz and see if you can still identify these Christmas songs even with their atrociously messed-up lyrics. Then you'll know your weak areas and which songs to study harder starting next summer!



Q28-Hot tea for cold winter evenings "O come, all the graceful, loyal and reluctant." We're sure these lyrics are wrong but do you still know the song?
"O Christmas Tree"
"O Come, All Ye Faithful"
Also known by its Latin title, "Adeste Fideles," "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is an old Christmas carol of uncertain authorship and remains popular in church services. Pentatonix has sung it too, of course!
"Joy to the World"
"O Holy Night"

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Q10-Dog Christmas Lights Hmm, does this song sound familiar? "Flockin' around the big queen bee with a Christmas lollipop!"
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
Brenda Lee first recorded this upbeat Christmas song, written by Johnny Marks, in 1958. It's notably featured in "Home Alone," when Kevin tricks the would-be burglars into thinking there's a party!
"Jingle Bell Rock"
"Run Run Rudolph"
"Frosty the Snowman"

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Q6-Christmas Ball "Crusty the lawman is a merry tale, they say" are the incorrect lyrics to what Christmas song?
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
"Frosty the Snowman"
Even though "Frosty the Snowman" was released in 1950, most people associate it with the Rankin/Bass animated Christmas special from 1969. Too bad our snowmen can't really come to life (unless we're Elsa)!
"I Saw Three Ships"
"Winter Wonderland"

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Q8-Girl On Floor Christmas Party "Fleck the walls with paint so jolly. Ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha!" These are messed-up lyrics to which carol?
"Deck the Halls"
"Deck the Halls" is a traditional carol sung at Christmas and New Year's. While the lyrics, written by Thomas Oliphant, date back to 1862, the melody is even older, coming from a 16th-century Welsh tune.
"Silent Night"
"Up On the Rooftop"
"Jolly Old St. Nicholas"

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Q32-Festive Winter Holiday Scene "Single bell, tingle bell, cringle bell shock!" What's this Christmas song supposed to be?
"Jingle Bell Rock"
Bobby Helms popularized this Christmas tune in 1957, and it's been a holiday staple ever since! One memorable scene in "Mean Girls" features the characters dancing to it in Santa costumes.
"O Holy Night"
"Away in a Manger"
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

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Q26-Teenager decorating gingerbread house "Mary, did it snow? Mary, did it snow? Mary, did it snow?" Can you identify this song even with the wrong lyrics?
"Mary, Did You Know?
"Mary, Did You Know" is a popular Christmas song written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. The song poses a series of questions to Mary, asking her if she knew what her son would one day accomplish.
"Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella"
"Go Tell It on the Mountain"
"Breath of Heaven"

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Q24-Christmas tree on the top of a wooden toy train "It rained upon a midnight skier, that glorious song we told." Do you know what song this is supposed to be?
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
"Happy Holidays"
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
A Unitarian minister in Massachusetts named Edmund Sears wrote this poem in 1849, and it was soon set to music. Sears was apparently in a funk when he wrote it, because of wars in the US and abroad.
"Silent Night"

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Q25-Cute Young Girl Sitting With Christmas Presents Does this song sound familiar? "Strum they told me, a rum dum dum dum."
"The Little Drummer Boy"
"The Little Drummer Boy" is an American Christmas carol written by a music teacher named Katherine Kennicott Davis. The first people to record it were none other than the Trapp Family Singers!
"The Christmas Song"
"The First Noel"
"The Holly and the Ivy"

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Q18-Dog Wearing Christmas Glasses "Bing bong, cherry on a pie, in heav'n the bells are ringing!" Do you know this Christmas song with the mixed-up words?
"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
"A Christmas to Remember"
"Ding Dong Merrily on High"
Although the tune was originally for a non-religious dance song, George Ratcliffe Woodward adapted it to create the carol "Ding Dong Merrily on High." The composer was inspired by hearing church bells ringing.
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"

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Q33-Mother and daughter decorating Christmas tree Does this tune sound familiar? "You better not doubt, you better say hi, you better eat trout, I'm telling you why!"
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" establishes Kris Kringle as an international spy who surveils children, noting their goodness and badness on his "list." Parents use this song to coerce good behavior out of their children.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
"Frosty the Snowman"
"Jolly Old St. Nicholas"

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Q7-Close Up Present "See three rings of that yonder star. Scaling cliffs, we traverse afar." These are almost, but not quite, the lyrics to what song?
"O Come O Come Emmanuel"
"Little Drummer Boy"
"We Three Kings"
"We Three Kings" is about the three wise men who traveled to see the Christ child, bringing gifts. John Henry Hopkins Jr., a Pennsylvanian rector at an Episcopalian church, wrote the song in 1857.
"Santa Baby"

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Q23-Young girl running with large gift on street "O cozy light, the cars are gently winding." These are the made-up lyrics to what classic Christmas song?
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
"Jingle Bell Rock"
"The Christmas Song"
"O Holy Night"
One of the most recognizable Christmas carols, "O Holy Night" focuses on mankind's redemption and Jesus Christ's birth. Nat King Cole and Mariah Carey are two of the artists who have covered it.

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Q13-Christmas Jesus "The worst seashell, the angels did say, was for certain dour leopards in fields where they lay." Can you still make out this popular Christmas song?
"Up on the Rooftop"
"Jingle Bells"
"O Holy Night"
"The First Noel"
"The First Noel" is an old and well known Christmas carol about the angels visiting the shepherds to tell them of Jesus Christ's birth. The word "Noel," incidentally, is synonymous with "Christmas."

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Q3-Jingle Bells "Jungle yell, jungle smells, tingle all the way!" Can you name this carol despite these messed-up lyrics?
"Jingle Bells"
Everyone heard the "Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg" version of the song as a kid. What's less known is that "Jingle Bells," a popular Christmas song today, was actually first written as a Thanksgiving song!
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
"Deck the Halls"
"Frosty the Snowman"

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Q15-Young Girl Opening Gift We're trying to sing a song here, but we're confused about the lyrics: "I want a hypothalamus for Christmas. Only a hypothalamus will do!" What song is it supposed to be?
"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"
The novelty song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was a surprise hit in 1953. A 10-year-old girl named Gayla Peevey performed it on the "Ed Sullivan Show" to the audience's delight. We hope she got her hippo!
"All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"
"Santa Baby"
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

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Q22-Girls Around Christmas Tree "I saw three chips go breaking in the Christmas dip, the Christmas dip." These are almost, but not really, the lyrics to which song?
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"
"Away in a Manger"
"I Saw Three Ships"
"I Saw Three Ships" is an English Christmas carol first published in 1833. The precise meaning of the song isn't known, but some people theorize that the ships symbolize the camels that the Magi rode to Bethlehem.
"The Holly and the Ivy"

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Q5-Christmas Home Can you still identify the song with the following lyrics? "I won't roam for Christmas. You eat bran for me."
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
Bing Crosby recorded "I'll Be Home for Christmas" in 1943 when the United States was still at war. The song is extra poignant when you reflect that it was written from the perspective of soldiers overseas.
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
"Last Christmas"
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

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Q11-Christmas Dinner Mom Daughter What Christmas song is this, if you can make sense of the lyrics? "Good King Pencil Floss looked out on the feast uneven?"
"Good King Wenceslas"
"Good King Wenceslas" is a Christmas carol about a 10th-century Bohemian king who went out on the Feast of Stephen (December 26) to give money to the poor. Not surprisingly, Wenceslas became a saint in the Christian church.
"O Christmas Tree"
"Baby, It's Cold Outside"
"We Three Kings"

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Q14-Present Candy Cane What Christmas song are we singing here, despite the mixed-up lyrics? "O little frowning cherubim, you spilled a tub of lye!"
"Santa Baby"
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"
After visiting Bethlehem in 1865, an Episcopal priest named Phillip Brooks wrote the poem that became the popular carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem." The town is famously where Jesus Christ was born.
"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"
"The 12 Days of Christmas"

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Q17-Christmas Assortment We have the lyrics wrong, but can you still name the song? "Okay with a stranger, his mom stripped his bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head."
"Away in a Manger"
People once attributed the words to "Away in a Manger" to Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, but today scholars think the song actually originated in America instead!
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"
"O Holy Night"
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

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Q21-Snowglobe Santa Are you enough of a Christmas song expert to identify this song with messed-up lyrics? "Now we're done a-squirreling among the leaves serene!"
"I Saw Three Ships"
"Here We Come A-Caroling"
Originally titled "Here We Come A-Wassailing," this song refers to the old tradition of singing carols door to door in the hopes of earning some money. Nowadays, people do it just for fun!
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"

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Q20-Candy Can Heart "Go dwell inside a fountain, over the mills and everywhere" are the wrong lyrics to which Christmas song?
"Deck the Halls"
"Jolly Old St. Nicholas"
"Go Tell It on the Mountain"
"Go Tell It on the Mountain," which goes back to the late 1800s, has the distinction of being both an African-American spiritual and a Christmas carol because it's about announcing the birth of Jesus.
"The First Noel"

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Q29-New Year And Christmas Background "Who smiled at this and played the best, on Mary's lap is leaping?" Okay, the words are all wrong! Still, can you tell what the song is?
"Deck the Halls"
"Jingle Bells"
"Up on the Rooftop"
"What Child Is This?"
After overcoming an illness, William Chatterton Dix wrote the lyrics to "What Child Is This?" which was later set to the old folk song "Greensleeves." Today it remains a popular carol about Jesus' birth.

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Q16-Christmas Ornaments "Bagels we have seen up high, neatly rolling o'er the plains!" Do you recognize this Christmas carol, even with the wacky lyrics?
"Silent Night"
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
"Joy to the World"
"Angels We Have Heard on High"
"Angels We Have Heard on High" is another Christmas carol about the night of Jesus' birth, when angels came to announce it to a group of shepherds. It includes a long, drawn-out "Gloria" too!

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Q19-Christmas Ornament Layout So can you still recognize this popular Christmas tune? "Said my friend Sam to his brother Roy, 'Do you sneer at my beer?'"
"Coventry Carol"
"Little Drummer Boy"
"Carol of the Bells"
"Do You Hear What I Hear?"
"Do You Hear What I Hear" is fairly new in the pantheon of Christmas songs. Its creators, husband and wife Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker, wrote it in 1962 in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Q31-Winter snowman on snow Does this song sound somewhat familiar? "Last isthmus, I gave you a start, but the very next day, we got in a fray."
"Breath of Heaven"
"Last Christmas"
Wham! released "Last Christmas" in 1984 and donated the proceeds to aid the Ethiopian famine. The popular song appeals to a lot of people to this day, and several artists have covered it.
"O Come, All Ye Faithful"
"Run Run Rudolph"

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Q9-Snowflake on Tree "My small dove gave to me a partridge with a goatee!" Even with these scrambled lyrics, can you identify the Christmas carol?
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
Quite possibly the longest Christmas song out there, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" goes back to the late 1700s. Five gold rings sound nice, but what would you do with eight maids a-milking?
"Jingle Bell Rock"
"Joy to the World"

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Q34-Christmas wreath hanging on white fence covered in snow "Cowbells ring, are you listening? On the plane, clouds are glistening." Oh dear, we messed up another song. Do you know which one?
"White Christmas"
"Winter Wonderland"
This charming song by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith tells the story of a couple frolicking in the snow and building a snowman. They even playfully imagine the snowman, or "Parson Brown," marrying them!
"Deck the Halls"
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"

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Q4-Chestnuts "Doughnuts roasting on a funeral pyre. Car exhaust creeping up your nose!" These lyrics are all wrong, but can you still name the song?
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
"Joy to the World"
"The Christmas Song"
For many, Christmas is not complete without hearing Nat King Cole sing "The Christmas Song." Just thinking about "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" makes people feel cozy on a cold winter's day!
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

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Q2-Lone Christmas Tree "Giant knight, slowly fight. At the prom, all is right." These are some messed-up lyrics, but can you name the song?
"Carol of the Bells"
"Good King Wenceslas"
"O Christmas Tree"
"Silent Night"
"Silent Night" is arguably one of the best-known Christmas carols, describing the night of Jesus Christ's birth. Franz Gruber wrote the melody and Joseph Mohr wrote the lyrics in the early 1800s.

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Q35-Christmas for Pets "Boy that you twirled, the fjord he swum! Let Earth rejoice and sing!" Do you recognize the song from these incorrect lyrics?
"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
"O Holy Night"
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
"Joy to the World"
Written in 1719 by Isaac Watts, "Joy to the World" remains the most popular Christmas hymn sung in churches to this day. In fact, its lyrics come from verses in Psalms and Genesis.

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Q30-Jingle pigs "The dolly and the ivy, when they are both on the phone, of all the bees that are in the hood, the dolly wears the gown." Gee, that sounds all wrong! What is this song supposed to be?
"Jolly Old St. Nicholas"
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
"Mary's Boy Child"
"The Holly and the Ivy"
"The Holly and the Ivy" is a British Christmas carol with a folk style. According to tradition, holly, a plant commonly seen at Christmastime, represents Jesus, and ivy represents Mary, his mother.

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Q12-Christmas Carol Angels "Bark! the feral angels sing sorely to the shoehorn king!" What Christmas song are we trying (and failing) to sing here?
"White Christmas"
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
In 1739, the carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" first appeared in "Hymns and Sacred Poems." Two men involved in the formation of the Methodist church wrote the lyrics and Felix Mendelssohn wrote the melody.
"Blue Christmas"
"Angels We Have Heard on High"

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Q1-Girls Singing "Broad-chested hairy gentlemen, let nothing you dismay!" Oh, wait! Those are the wrong lyrics to what song?
"O Holy Night"
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" is an old English carol, notable for its appearance in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." In fact, Scrooge threatens a caroler with a ruler when he starts singing the song!
"What Child Is This"
"Silent Night"

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Q27-Christmas origami tree Can you make out this song despite the incorrect lyrics? "Hark, now cheer the angels sing, a string was wound today. And man will see an open door because of Christmas Day!"
"The Little Drummer Boy"
"Mary, Did You Know?"
"Mary's Boy Child"
Jester Hairston wrote "Mary's Boy Child" with a distinctive calypso rhythm. When Harry Belafonte heard the song performed by a choir, he asked Hairston's permission to record it, and it became a big hit.
"Away in a Manger"

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