Appalachia Christmas Music

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells by paul and jerry wilson

Jingle Bells is one of the most popular Christmas songs. It has a peppy tune, fun lyrics, and brings a feeling of Christmas cheer to most folks when they hear it.

The story of how Jingle Bells was born is fascinating. One of the most interesting aspects of the history being-the song wasn’t even written for Christmas.

James S. Pierpont wrote Jingle Bells in 1840. Pierpont’s father was pastor of a Unitarian Church in Medford, Massachusetts. Since Peierpont was naturally musical he often helped his father with the choir.

In those days, Thanksgiving was the most important holiday in the area and Peierpont was given the task of writing a special song for the Thanksgiving service to be held at church.

As James Pierpont pondered his job he watched a group of people sledding outside his father’s house. Peirpont went outside to watch the festivities at a closer vantage point and began to remember the times he had participated with his own sled. As the sled bells jingled he became totally engrossed in who had the fastest sled.

When Peierpont went back inside a tune came to him that seemed to be exactly what he needed for his Thanksgiving assignment. He ran to the house of the only piano owner in town and there worked out the song. After returning home he quickly penned the words we’re all familiar with today to fit the tune.

The assignment was given high marks at the Thanksgiving celebration-so high that the members clamored for the song to be part of the church’s Christmas celebration as well. Attendees of the Christmas program took the song back home with them and taught it to people they knew. And when Peierpont moved to Savannah, GA he took the song with him finally publishing it in 1857.

An instrumental version of Jingle Bells is on Pap and Paul’s Songs of Christmas cd.

Give it a listen:

I hope you enjoyed the song-bet you couldn’t resist tapping your toes!

If you’re interested in purchasing one of Paul and Pap’s cds- Songs of Christmas you can jump over to the Blind Pig & the Acorn Etsy Store and pick one up.


*SourceStories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins

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  • Reply
    December 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    It’s a good one for sure, but I think my favorite CHRISTmas Carols might be Away in a Manger, maybe.
    I remember when we were children (ok, and older), we’d change the words around a sing what we called Fractured CHRISTmas Carols, some a bit naughty, but most just silly.
    I remember singing one fractured version of Jingle Bells at our Sister Cindy’s house when her boys were little, and how indignant her son Seth, maybe 2-3 years old then, got at some of the words…(“Santa not smell and Wudolph not fowing {throwing} up.”) LOL
    Ohhh, I am a naughty one.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    and Don…I can hum the tune, I can’t remember all the words right now, but I’m here to tell you “pants and France” got more than one “call-down scolding” in the halls of the high school (bad-boy ultermater) alma-mater! lol
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    It’s interesting how many of the “jingles” (pun intended) and other expressions that B. Ruth knows from her days growing up a few counties away. I wonder if you were to ask folks a generation behind us if they knew about the “rabbit got away” version of Jingle Bells or “There’s a place in France” which goes with Grooms Tune if they knew either of them.
    I’m betting not.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    You all did an excellent job on
    Jingle Bells. I got a call from an
    older woman today and I asked her
    if she’d like to hear Jingle Bells. After she listened awhile she said “my grandson goes to the school where Paul is the Principle. I wished I knew how to use a computer cause that is my kind of music.”
    You sure have a talented family!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    and Jim…
    Oh yes, from the fifties..
    Jingle bells, shotgun shells, rabbit got away!
    Oh what fun it was to ride in a four-door Chevrolet…
    or maybe one of the guys would yell out ’55 Chevrolet!…
    We had ‘a bored-out” ’55 when we got married…Roy and I had to push and kick it off every time we went anywhere…but let me tell no body could keep up with us when we ran the road, uhhhh, except maybe the cops! Those were the fun days of a young married couple in the early 60’s!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Tipper–B. Ruth is quite possibly revealing her years (but then she’s not shy in that regard, having had a recent birthday and frankly revealing that she’s past the Biblical three score and ten), and I reckon I’m about to do the same. That’s because, like her, I recall singing (off-key, to be sure, if I was a part of it) “Over the River and Through the Woods” as we headed to the high country. Our young daughter joined in enthusiastically because she knew Grandma’s house meant being tin the presence of the woman all her grandchildren knew, with full justice, as “The Spoiler.”
    Usually it took about a week to wean her from all the special treatment, extra sweets, and undivided attention she was accorded while we were in Bryson City. Those were fine times indeed.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. I love Paul’s rendition of Jingle Bells, and have to ask one question of readers. Did any of you ever sing it in somewhat changed form fully in keeping with last week’s theme, namely:
    Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbit got away.
    Oh what fun it is to chase a rabbit every day. And of course it went on foolishly from there.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Paul has got to be one of the finest flat-pickers alive….

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 7, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I figured that Paul had done all of it; the timing match is amazing (not to mention the overall quality). The engineer in me thinks it would be interesting to analyze the individual tracks and see how far off the beats are (measured in microseconds).
    I hope you (and others) realize what an amazingly talented brother and family you have. A body would do well to fetch him or herself over to Wilson Holler on a regular basis in hopes that some of those smarts would rub off.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I taught the little kids a clogging mixer using Pap and Paul’s version of Jingle Bells.
    Just the right speed and they loved it.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 7, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Always loved this rendition of Paul’s Jingle Bells. Such a talented family.
    That song has always made me want to go the barn and hitch up the horse to the old sleigh. Not to forget the leather reigns and attached bells.
    Another sleigh song I love and we used to sing with Jingle Bells was “Over The River And Through The Woods” to grandmothers house we go. (Always sung on our way over the mountain to Grandmothers house!) The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh Through (the) white and drifting snow, OHHHH, (then right into) Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!
    Funny how we mixed up these sleigh songs, made our own for Christmas and Thanksgiving!
    Loved the post and song Tipper,
    PS…There is a very small stretch of road near that twists, over a flowing creek and cedar lined…It always reminds me of the songs and what a sleigh with bells, might sound like making the turn and twist on that narrow tree lined way!
    PS..One time I bought a piece of leather reign with a couple of antique sleigh bells attached to it. I used it for years on a wreath..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 7, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Paul did a really nice job of Jingle Bells!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2014 at 7:31 am

    The history of the song is very interesting. I didn’t know anything about it. However, I have loved this song since childhood. Toe tapping for sure was felt while listening to it. Paul is quite talented! Happy Day!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Don-yes Paul does it all…Pap might be playing a little rhythm guitar I’ll have to ask and see. But the rest of the instruments are Paul-laid down one track at a time. He does do all the mixing too. Hes a pretty talented guy and hes pretty nice too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 7, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Toe-tapping indeed. Did Paul play all the parts and do the mixing?

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