Olive, the Other Reindeer and Other Misunderstood Christmas Lyrics
Did you know that misunderstood lyrics have their own special word? They are called “mondegreens.” The neologism was coined in 1954 in the magazine Harper’s Bazaar when a woman named Sylvia Wright discovered, to her surprise, that the last line of a famous Scottish ballad was “and they laid him on the green”, and not, as she had always sung it, “and Lady Mondegreen.”
Christmas lyrics seem to have many mondegreens. Perhaps because most of us learn carols and popular Christmas songs as children and kids are willing to just give it a go.
Here are some examples of some holiday-infused mondgreens:
Sing it, Jose!
The First Noel
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town