As we near 2011, our terms and slang have changed and developed so much so, that when I hear old holiday songs I think to myself, "What the heck does that mean?" Well, actually I'm lying. I know what it means, but I wonder if today's kids do. I've created a guide for phrases and terms no longer popular as a guide to some of your fave songs this holiday season. Feel free to add to my list in the comments section.
Phrases In Christmas Music No Longer Popular
Auld Lang Syne is similar to "Once upon a time"
From "Need a Little Christmas" the line is "Carols at the spinet"
What is a spinet? A spinet is a smaller version of a piano manufactured between the 1930s and 1990s. Similar to a harpsichord or organ.
From "Need a Little Christmas" the line is "Slice up the fruitcake"
Who eats fruitcake these days? Fruitcake has always been a joke around the holidays. Fruitcake is exactly what it sounds like, a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, sometimes soaked in spirits
From "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" the line is "Take a look in the five and ten..."
Back in the days, they had five and dime stores where you could purchase items for under tn cents. F.W. Woolworth Co. was the most popular back then.
From "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" the line is "Hop-a-Long boots and a pistol that shoots"
What in the world are Hop-a-Long boots? Apparently these were boots worn by a guy named William Lawrence, known as Hop-A-Long Cassidy in movies and shows from the 1940s and 1950s. Kids in the 50s loved them.
From "I'll Be Home For Christmas" the line is "Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree"
Yes, you heard correctly, "on the tree" not under. Back in the days, gifts were placed atop the Christmas tree's branches although I can't find any documentation to back this up. I swear I heard it somewhere and in the movie A Christmas Story, there are presents on their tree Christmas morning.
As a jewish guy from NY some of these lines make me even more confused. Though I do remember the 5 & 10 well. I've even been to the Woolworth's coffee shop before it closed. Glad to see you back!!!
Auld Lang Syne in the case of the song means 'old long since' or 'old time's sake.'
I grew up in a heavily Scottish community and this is how it was explained to me.
Very interesting! I love song lyrics but never really thought there was anything extra to Christmas songs. Cool to know.
umm fruitcake, without the fruit or the cake please... just the booze
I enlarged the fruitcake photo and threw up a little bit...
Everything is changing, I'm glad you are here to chronicle it for us!
as for presents on the tree: Watch both the Christmas story and White Christmas. In both movies you see them pulling presents out from in the tree. In White Christmas Bing Crosby pulls the statue of a white knight out from the middle. In the Christmas story, the mom pulls a gift for Randy out of the middle while Ralphie is changing into the bunny costume.
I know, I've watched way too many Christmas shows.....
I like the idea of the presents on the tree. Would make for a whole lot less decorating.
My little boy would love some hop-a-long boots! And I'd love some presents on the tree (smallish jewelry size boxes maybe?) Love your blog!
I love your post! I think it is funny how a lot of the kids these days don't know much about the origins of so many of the Christmas songs.
One of my favorite memories regarding Christmas carols and the words was back in the '70s when an episode of SNL had an Elk's club meeting where John Belushi was leading the songs... they'd start the first line loud and strong, like "Oh little town of Bethlehem..." and then they would just hum the next part because they didn't know the words. They did it for a few standard carols... it was really funny!
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