People often think Christmas and grammar have nothing to do with each other. But the joy of the season and the giddiness of grammar are inextricably intertwined. To prove this, and to get everyone in the mood for a swashbuckling holiday, I’ve gathered a list of the greatest Christmas grammar hits, some so obscure they’ve never been heard of before (and likely will never be heard of again). In fact, many of the more modern Christmas carols are plagiarized renditions of these oft-forgotten classics.*
These crowd pleasers are remnants of a bygone era of Christmas-loving grammarians and skilled musicians, with something to tickle everyone’s musical fancy.
1. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (So I Can Learn How to Spell Hippopotamus)”
By the time the final strains of this classic fade away, you’ll be an expert on the spelling of the beloved “water horse” and your family will know exactly what to get you for Christmas.
2. “Go Tell It on the Mountain that This Is a Restrictive Clause”
Never in my life have I been more entranced by the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. I could barely keep from hollering about it at the end of my driveway, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.
3. “I Saw Mommy Kissing a Subordinate Clause”
This one is a little saucy, so I’d recommend it for the 16+ crowd only.
4. “I’m Getting Nothing for Christmas”
This sad but meaningful musical tale is about a child who refused to use semicolons correctly and persisted in using atrocious expletives like “I ain’t been nothing but bad.” This song is a lament, a warning, and a valuable lesson for us all.
5. “O Come, All Ye Faithful”
A call to grammar purists, this carol is a reminder of the joys and triumphs of a life of respect and adoration for good grammar. It hearkens back to times that were simpler and ruled by trustworthy sources like “The Little Brown Handbook.”
6. “O Little Town of Bethlehem (Your Population Has More Than Doubled)”
Short, sweet, and to the point. This song’s catchy tune is only exceeded by its valuable grammar lesson: Use “more than” instead of “over” in number comparisons.
7. “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like You Don’t Know How to Use Commas”
We couldn’t stop our feet from tapping or our hind ends from wiggling with self-righteous indignation. And there’s a slam-bang finish to boot.
8. “Dependent Clause Is Coming to Town”
He’s the uncle nightmares are made of, stealing your stockings from the mantel when you’re not looking, leaving fruit cake and still-lit cigars in every corner, and eating all the pies a few hours before your Christmas feast. This song will have you laughing to tears and grateful for the independent clauses in your life.
9. “A Way in a Manager”
This is more of a holiday ghost tale, clarifying the evils of spell check and its unavoidable misses. It follows the steps of a disgruntled boss, Mr. Smoodge, and his horrible sense of direction. A song that will haunt you from start to finish.
10. “Carol of the Bells”
The effervescent Bell family wrote this song as a tribute to their brightest star and youngest daughter, Carol. She hated Christmas and bells with a fiery passion, so they eventually had a composer change the lyrics but preserved the title in order to irritate her. It worked. She changed her last name to “Silence” a few years after the second rendition was introduced and wrote the words to “Silent Night” out of pure spite.**
11. “The First No ‘L’”
What began as a spelling joke on a Christmas school break eventually became a beloved carol the world over. It all started with Bartholomew Wittinghamshire’s question, “How do you spell ‘Christmas’ in French?” His father answered and chaos ensued. The rest is history.
If we attempted to list all the olden Christmas tunes that caught our grammatical fancy, we’d be here for days. We leave it to you, dear readers, to fill in the gaps. Leave a comment with your own favorite grammar-related Christmas carol titles or lyrics.
Thanks for reading. We wish you all a healthy, happy holiday season!
*There is no proof of this whatsoever.
**There is also no proof of this whatsoever.