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Christmas Trivia: Jingle Bells

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Total Votes: 395

Choices: Votes:

Dobbin 70 17.72 %

Morris 6 1.52 %

Blitzen 36 9.11 %

Bobtail 251 63.54 %

Charley 32 8.10 %

Jingle Bells

Answer: Bobtail

The words and music to Jingle Bells were written by James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) who was born in Boston, Massachusetts. That much is certain. As to when he wrote it and, especially, where it was written, there is a great deal of controversy.

The story according to Medford, Massachusetts is that Pierpont composed the song there in 1851 for a Thanksgiving program at his church in Boston. It was so well received that the children were asked to repeat it at Christmas, and it has been a Christmas song ever since. There is at least one eye-witness account of this version.

The folks in Savannah, Georgia see things differently. They claim that Pierpont wrote Jingle Bells while he was employed as organist and music director for the Unitarian church where his brother was minister. To give weight to this version, the fact that the song was published during his Savannah period (1857) is cited.

There is no doubting that Pierpont (or Pierpoint, as his name is frequently spelled) was a colorful character. There is much information and misinformation on the Internet under both spellings of his name.


Here are the original lyrics to Jingle Bells in their entirety. See if you think this was written for a church program.

Jingle Bells

Savannah, Georgia

Dashing thro’ the snow,

In a one-horse open sleigh,

O’er the hills we go,

Laughing all the way;

Bells on bob tail ring,

Making spirits bright,

Oh what sport to ride and sing

A sleighing song to night.


Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way;

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,

Jingle all the way;

Oh! what joy it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago,

I thought I’d take a ride,

And soon Miss Fannie Bright

Was seated by my side,

The horse was lean and lank;

Misfortune seemed his lot,

He got into a drifted bank,

And we, we got upsot.


A day or two ago,

The story I must tell

I went out on the snow

And on my back I fell;

A gent was riding by

In a one-horse open sleigh,

He laughed as there I sprawling lie,

But quickly drove away.


Now the ground is white

Go it while you’re young,

Take the girls to night

And sing this sleighing song;

Just get a bob tailed bay

Two forty as his speed.

Hitch him to an open sleigh

And crack, you’ll take the lead.



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