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The Truth Behind Our Favorite Christmas Carols

Picture this: In a matter of weeks, you'll be cozied up under a blanket, Christmas tree lit up with lights, cookies and eggnog next to you, and you'll be watching the snow falling down through the window. Then, you'll begin to hear the soft rising of voices outside, and you'll know it's Christmastime.

We love carolers and their songs that somehow always sound better than on the radio. The classics we all love to hear coming from our fellow man make the season so much more special. But did you ever wonder where some of these songs come from?

Silent Night

This popular song was composed by German teacher Franz Gruber in 1818 when he was asked by a priest to perform at Christmas eve mass.

Many legends have arisen about the church's organ breaking down just before Christmas eve, with Gruber writing the song to give the people something to sing without accompanying music.

A Holly Jolly Christmas

A more recent addition to our classic holiday line-up, A Holly Jolly Christmas came out in 1962, written by Johnny Marks, but was most famously performed by Burl Ives in the Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Jingle Bells

Probably the most well-known Christmas song in the world, it comes from American songwriter James Lord Pierpont, who released it as One Horse Open Sleigh in 1857.

Funnily enough, it was originally written as a Thanksgiving song. You'll notice that there's no mention of the yuletide holiday in the lyrics!

The Christmas Song

When Bob Wells and Mel Tormé wrote this tune, it was during one of the hottest summers on record. It was 1945, and the two songwriters were spending some time cooling off, when they though maybe thinking about colder times would help make them feel a little less warm.

Within the hour they had this classic carol written, and it certainly felt a little more like winter.

White Christmas

Written during the Second World War, Irving Berlin wanted to reminisce about a time of old-fashioned traditions. He apparently woke up his secretary in the middle of the night after creating his now-signature song.

"Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written—heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!"

Which of these is your favorite carol?