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Holiday Song Facts That Might Surprise You

We've tracked down the little-known facts behind some of your favorite Christmas classics!

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    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The story of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was written in 1939 by Robert L. May, a copywriter for the Chicago-based Montgomery Ward department stores, as a promotional gift for the store's customers. The stores had bought and distributed coloring books every Christmas and saw writing their own story as a way to save money. Montgomery Ward distributed 2.4 million copies of the Rudolph booklet in 1939.

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    Fact Source: SongFacts.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    Dominick The Donkey - The studio production for this recording was financed by the Gambino crime family, one of the infamous "Five Families" of the New York Mafia.

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    Fact Source: SunTimes.com
    Photo Source: 45Cat.com
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    Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms nearly passed on recording this song because it was far too low for his singing voice. He was encouraged to make changes to the arrangement and did so, adjusting the melody and adding a bridge. Due to the way publishing worked back then, Bobby never made much money off the track because he was never given a writing credit.

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    Fact Source: ClassicBands.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    The Christmas Shoes - The song's storyline was inspired by a Christmas story that St. Louis-based radio personality DC Chymes found on the Internet. A NewSong fan, Chymes asked Eddie Carswell to write a song based on the narrative.

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    Fact Source: SongFacts.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    All I Want For Christmas Is You - In terms of airplay (at least in America), this is by far the most successful Christmas song written after 1963.

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    Fact Source: SongFacts.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    Silver Bells - The original title of this song was 'Tinkle Bells'. To make matters slightly more humorous, it originally appeared in the The Lemon Drop Kid, a 1951 film starring Bob Hope. Needless to say, these two things would have surely resulted in the song getting a few chuckles, had composer Jay Livingston's wife, Lynne Gordon, not stepped in to point out the double meaning of the word 'tinkle.'

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    Fact Source: TodayIFoundOut.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    White Christmas - This song has the distinction of marking the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. As the North Vietnamese surrounded Saigon, an evacuation plan was put into effect to bring the remaining Americans to safety. The cue to evacuate was a radio announcement stating that the temperature in Saigon was '105 degrees and rising,' followed by the playing of Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas.' That was the signal for the mad dash to the US Embassy where helicopters were waiting.

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    Fact Source: SongFacts.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    Do You Hear What I Hear - Written in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was intended to be a plea for peace.

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    Fact Source: NYTimes.com
    Photo Source: AudioPreservationFund.org
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    You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch - The original recording of this song features Thurl Ravenscroft on vocals but this was not the only high profile voice gig he would come to be known for - Thurl also was the longtime voice of the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes mascot, Tony the Tiger!

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    Fact Source: GreatAmericanThings.net
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - When this was released in 1953, some people thought it was a little too risqué, the thought of a married woman, possibly having an affair. A closer listen implies that Santa Claus is actually the child's father, but this didn't stop radio stations in some cities from banning it when it came out.

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    Fact Source: SongFacts.com
    Photo Source: MusicStack.com
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    Jingle Bells - This Holiday favorite was originally written for Thanksgiving! The story goes that James Lord Pierpont picked out the song on the piano he wanted something to play for Thanksgiving at his Sunday school class in Boston. The resulting song wasn’t just a hit with the kids; adults loved it so much that the lyrics to 'One Horse Open Sleigh' were altered slightly and used for Christmas.

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    Fact Source: MentalFloss.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com
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    Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - This Christmas classic wasn't always so jolly. Hugh Martin, the author of the song, had to revise the lyrics numerous times over the years to make the tune more cheerful. The lines 'It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past' was changed to 'Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight' for Judy Garland and the line 'Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow' was adjusted to 'Hang a shining star upon the highest bough' for Frank Sinatra.

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    Fact Source: EW.com
    Photo Source: Amazon.com