Christmas Hymns, Carols and Songs

1500s "God Rest you merry, Gentlemen" earliest known printed edition in a broadsheet dated to c. 1760.

1703 "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" Nahum Tate 1652-1715 Dublin

1719 "Joy to the World" Isaac Watts 1674-1748 Hampshire

1739 "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" Charles Wesley1707-1788 England


1833 "First Noel" Cornish Traditional William Sandys 1792-1874 England

1841 "O Come all ye faithful" translated into English by Frederick Oakley 1802-1880 in London from the earlier Latin hymn "Adeste Fideles" accredited to Catholic hymnist John Francis Wade 1711-1786 England, but may be older.

1848 "Once in Royal David's City" Cecil Frances Alexander (lady) 1818-1895 Dublin who also wrote "All things bright and Beautiful" and "There is a Green Hill"

1853 "Good King Wenceslas" John Mason Neale 1818-1866 London

1855 "O Holy Night" lyrics composed by John Sullivan Dwight 1813-1893 Boston USA from a French carol with music composed in 1847 by Adolphe Adam (a composer of operas and ballets) with French words (quite unlike the English) by Placide Cappeau.
Recorded in 1975 by Maranatha Music on the Children of the Day's Christmas Album also by Mariah Carey in 1994

1859 "Silent Night" John F. Young 1820-1885 Maine U.S.A. in a translation from the German carol written in 1818 by Joseph Mohr 1792-1848 with music by Franz Gruber 1787-1863 Salzburg Austria.
Became a big hit for Bing Crosby in a recording in 1935 with 30 million copies sold. Led to his biggest hit in 1942 "White Christmas"


Other US secular Christmas songs "One Horse Open Sleigh" 1857 had a name change to Jingle Bells in 1859.

Santa Claus is coming to town 1934

Winter Wonderland 1934

Carol of the Bells 1936 with English lyrics from a Ukrainian song first performed by students at Kiev University in December 1916

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas 1944 by Judy Garland in "Meet me in St Louis"

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1949

Silver Bells 1950

Frosty the Snowman 1950

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