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Winter Wonderland Christmas Song

Winter Wonderland

Year: 1934

Written By: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith

The song  Winter Wonderland was written by Richard Smith in 1934.  The music to the song was composed by Felix Bernard.

Mr. Smith wrote the lyrics during a hospitalization at the West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was being treated for tuberculosis.  The song lyrics were written as he was thinking about the park in his hometown of Honesdale, Pennsylvania after a snow.

The original lyrics to the entire song are written below.  There are several versions, however, of the one stanza of the song.  This stanza appears below  in bold type.

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
in the lane, snow is glistening.
A beautiful sight,
we're happy tonight,
walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
as we go along,
walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
we'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
when you're in town.

Later on, we'll conspire,
as we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
the plans that we've made,
walking in a winter wonderland.

Walking in a winter wonderland,
walking in a winter wonderland.

The original stanza of the song was changed for several reasons.  Firstly, at the time the song was written, it was common for Parsons, or protestant ministers, to travel to rural communities that did not have their own minister.  Parsons would perform ceremonies like weddings during their visits.  A few decades later, however, most Americans had no experience with traveling Parsons.

It was also though that the lyrics, which describe a couple who elopes, were inappropriate for children.  Because of these things, the song stanza was changed in 1953. The new lyrics to the stanza are written below.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
and pretend that he's a circus clown.
We'll have lots of fun with Mister Snowman,
until the other kiddies knock 'im down!

When it snows, ain't it thrillin'?
Tho' your nose, gets a chillin'
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland.

Another version of this stanza of the song is also widely sung.  This version of the song stanza, which appears underlined below, simply contains the word "alligators" instead of "other kiddies".  Some suggest that the minute differences in the song lyrics are simply due to the mondegreen phenomena.  According to Webster's Dictionary, the word mondegreen means " a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung".

The part of the stanza which includes the mondegreen lyrics is written below.  The lyrics in question have been highlighted.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
and pretend that he's a circus clown.
We'll have lots of fun with Mister Snowman,
until the alligators knock him down.


The song, which has been recorded by over 150 different artists, was first recorded in 1934 by Richard Himber and the Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra.   In 2007, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) named Winter Wonderland as the number one most played Christmas song.

 

Winter Wonderland Lyrics

Sleigh bells ring,
are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful
sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone
away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love
song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow
we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He'll
say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When
you're in town.

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the
fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter
wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that
he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the
other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain't it thrilling,
Though
your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking
in a winter wonderland.

 

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