Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas History

jingle-bells

Couple of history notes from a history nerd:

“Merry Christmas”? Means drinking a lot for Christmas. To the Brits, being “Merry” meant boozing it up. That’s why in the poem, “The Night Before Christmas”, Saint Nick says “Happy Christmas to all ,and too all a good night!” Merry Christmas would have ben a bit forward.

Jingle Bells? Turns out Jingle Bells was a bit of a drinking song. In fact, when it was first sung, people “jingled” their ice in their glass along with the rhythm.

Remember the lyrics?

And soon, Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side,
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot.

Upsot? What’s that? My kids and wife thought it was a weird form of “upset”, and many folks on the internet feel the same.

But it’s not. In fact, it’s a nice little pun.

“Upsot” works because it’s a rhyme with “his lot” and is kinda like “upset”
But “Upsot” also had a vernacular meaning. Ever been besot? Saw a sot on the side of the road? What would upsot mean?
Upsot works as a form of “getting drunk”, and that’s what the original people hearing this song hear, and that’s where the fun lies

Sleigh rides in the 1800s were the equivalent of drive-in movies for the 1950s crowd, a place where teens left on their own, were trusted

If you’re a teenage kid out on a date and your horse got into a snowbank? Well geesh, you’ve done got upsot.

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