Dawning Now Our Day of Peril and other Christmas Mondegreens

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I’m sure we’ve all had made the same mistake whenever a song plays on and you sing to the words you think you’re hearing but you’re not. Sometimes this is apparent such as thinking that Bennie had electric boobs in “Bennie and the Jets,” other times, not so much. This term is known as a mondegreen coined by an American Harper’s Magazine writer named Sylvia Wright in November 1954. It was inspired by a misinterpretation of a 17th century Scottish ballad called “The Bonnie Earl o Moray” in which she writes:

“When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.”

The fourth line was actually, “and laid him on the green,” so we don’t have to worry about Lady Mondegreen being murdered with the Earl of Moray or a double homicide in that matter. However, we’ve all done it a lot of times in our lives, and in the realm of Christmas carols and songs is no exception. Some of the following are from kids and some aren’t. Some of these songs are yuletide favorites, while others come from songs you’ve never heard before or in years. So without further adieu, here are some yuletide carol examples of people getting the words wrong in songs. Most of these are from the archive known as Kiss This Guy by the way, inspired from a mishearing from a Jimi Hendrix song, “Purple Haze.”

1. Burl Ives, “Have a Holly-Jolly Christmas”
Lyric: “Ho ho the mistletoe, a-hung where you can see”
Misheard as: “Ho ho the missing toe, a hunger you can see”

2. “The First Noel”
Lyric: “Born is the King of Israel”
Misheard as: “Born is the king or is Dryel”

3. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”
Lyric: “Now bring us some figgy pudding”
Misheard as: “Check your p***y”
Comment: This came from a 6-year-old boy who honestly thought those were the words from the song.

4. Jose Feliciano, “Feliz Navidad”
Lyric: “Feliz Navidad”
Misheard as: “Fuzzy Snotty Duck”
Comment: From Kiss This Guy: “We asked our children their favorite Christmas song and when it was the youngest’s turn he didn’t know the name so said repeatedly, “Fuzzy, Snotty Duck. Fuzzy Snotty Duck.” To his frustration, for days, we had no idea what song it was until it came on the radio and he screamed, “Fuzzy Snotty Duck!””

5. Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time”
Lyric: “The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life”
Misheard as: “The only gift they’ll get this year is flies”

6. “Silent Night”
Lyric: “Holy infant so tender and mild”
Misheard as: “Holy imbecile, tender and mild”

7. “Deck the Halls”
Lyric: “Donning now our gay apparel”
Misheard as: “Dawning now our day of peril”

8. “Carol of the Bells”
Lyric: “Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas”
Misheard as: “Hari Hari Hari Hari Hari Krishna”

9. “Frosty the Snowman”
Lyric: “With a corncob pipe and a button nose”
Misheard as: “With a corncob pipe and a butt and nose”

10. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Lyric: “God and sinners reconciled”
Misheard as: “God and sinners wrecked in style”

11. “The Holly and the Ivy”
Lyric: “O the rising of the sun/And the running of the deer”
Misheard as: “O the rising of the South/And running the John Deeres”
Comment: From Kiss This Guy: “I don’t think they’re singing about Southerners cutting their grass…”

12. “Jingle Bells”
Lyric: “Oh what fun it is to ride/In a one horse open sleigh”
Misheard as: “Oh what fun it is to ride/In a one whore soap and sleigh”
Comment: Person was 10 years old at the time.

13. “Little Drummer Boy”
Lyric: “I am a poor boy too”
Misheard as: “I am a four by two”

14. “O Come All Ye Faithful”
Lyric: O come, let us adore Him,/O come, let us adore Him,/O come, let us adore Him,/Christ, the Lord”
Misheard as: “O come, let us adore Him,/O come, let us adore Him,/O come, let us adore Him,/Christ, the door”

15. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Lyric: “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer/had a very shiny nose./And if you ever saw him,/you would even say it glows.”
Misheard as: “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer/had a very shiny nose./And if you ever saw him,/He would take off all his clothes.”

16. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
Lyric: “He sees you when you’re sleeping…”
Misheard as: “He’ll seize you when you’re sleeping…”

17. “O Tannenbaum”
Lyric: “O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum”
Misheard as: “O cannonball O cannonball”
Comment: From Kiss This Guy: “When I asked my classmates at the choral singing contest why the hell someone would want to write a song about a cannonball and sing it at Christmas.” Person was 10 at the time.

18. “Up on the Housetop”
Lyric: “Ho ho ho! Who wouldn’t go”
Misheard as: “Ho ho ho! School wouldn’t know”

19. “Winter Wonderland”
Lyric: “In the meadow we can build a snowman, we”l pretend that he is Parson Brown”
Misheard as: “In the ghetto we can build a snowman, we’ll pretend that he is partly blind”

20. Dave Matthews Band, “Christmas Song”
Lyric: “When Jesus Christ was nailed to the his tree/Said, ‘Oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be’.”
Misheard as: “When Jesus Christ was nailed to the his tree/Said, ‘Oh, Daddy-o, I can see my house from here’.”

21. The Tractors, “Mary’s Baby”
Lyric: “Mary’s Baby, Son of Man”
Misheard as: “Mary’s baby, Son of Sam”
Comment: Son of Sam is the name of a well-known
New York area serial killer from the 1970s.

22. Myra, “Christmas Isn’t Christmas (Since You Said Goodbye)”
Lyric: “I’ve been asked to lots of parties/To celebrate the season.”
Misheard as: “I’ve bent ass to lots of potties/To celebrate the season.”

23. “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”
Lyric: “The belfries of all Christendom”
Misheard as: “The bell frees up all prison scum.”

24. “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming”
Lyric: “With Mary, we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind/To show God’s love aright/She bore to men a Savior/When half-spent was the night.”
Misheard as: “With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind/To show God’s love a riot/She farted in the manger/One hellbent Wednesday night.”

25. Nat King Cole, “The Christmas Song”
Lyric: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”
Misheard as: “Jeff’s nuts roasting on an open fire”

26. “Good King Wenceslas”
Lyric: “Good King Wenceslas looked out/On the feast of Stephen”
Misheard as: ” “Good King Wencelas’ car backed out,/On a piece of Steven”

27. “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
Lyric: “On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me:/Twelve drummers drumming,/Eleven pipers piping,/Ten lords a-leaping,/Nine ladies dancing,/Eight maids a-milking,/Seven swans a-swimming,/Six geese a-laying,/Five golden rings,/Four calling birds,/Three French hens,/Two turtle doves,/And a partridge in a pear tree.”
Misheard as: “On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My tulip sent to me:/Twelve drummers drumming,/Eleven pipers piping,/Ten lawyers leaving,/Nine lazy Hansons,/Eight maids a-milking,/Seven warts on women,/Six geezers laying,/Five golden rings,/Four calling birds,/Three French hens,/Two turtle doves,/And a cartridge in a pantry. ”

28. “We Three Kings of Orient Are”
Lyric: “We three kings of Orient are,/Bearing gifts we traverse afar.”
Misheard as: “We free kings of Oregon are,/Burying gifts we traverse afar.”

29. “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night”
Lyric: “While shepherds watched their flocks by night,/All seated on the ground,/The angel of the Lord came down,/And glory shone around. ”
Misheard as: “While shepherds washed their socks at night,/All seated on the ground,/The angel of the Lord came down,/And glory shone around.”

30. Bing Crosby, “White Christmas”
Lyric: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,/Just like the ones I used to know./Where the treetops glisten,/And children listen,/To hear sleigh bells in the snow.”
Misheard as: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,/Just like the wands I used to know./Where the treetops glisten,/And children listen,/To hear slave elves in the snow. ”

31. “Angels We Have Heard on High”
Lyric: “Gloria…In excelsis Deo!”
Misheard as: “Gloria…Estefan is gay, oh!”

32. “Away in a Manger”
Lyric: “The cattle are lowing,/The poor baby wakes./But little Lord Jesus,/No crying he makes”
Misheard as: “The cattle are glowing,/The poor baby shakes./But little Lord Jesus,/The crowd he does hate”

33. “Ding Dong Merrily on High”
Lyric: “May ye beautifully rhyme/Your evetime song, ye singers”
Misheard as: “May ye beautifully rhyme,/You endtime zombie singers”

34. Georg Fredrich Handel, “For Unto Us A Child Is Born” (from Handel’s’Messiah’)
Lyric: “For unto us a child is born/Unto us a Son is given.”
Misheard as: “Or unto us a chowder’s born/Unto us a sauna’s given.”

35. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
Lyric: “O tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy/O tidings of comfort and joy.”
Misheard as: “O Tide cleans like Comet and Joy/Comet and Joy/O Tide cleans like Comet and Joy.”

36. “Go Tell It on the Mountain”
Lyric: “Go tell it on the mountain”
Misheard as: “No telling on the mountain”

37. Paul and Paula, “The Happy Holiday”
Lyric: “Mistletoe means”
Misheard as: “Mistletoe meat”

38. John Lennon, “Happy Xmas (The War Is Over)”
Lyric: “For near and the dear ones”
Misheard as: “We’re here at the Pier One”

39. “Here Comes Santa Claus”
Lyric: “He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys for boys and girls again.”
Misheard as: “He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys for poison girls again.”

40. Brenda Lee, “I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus”
Lyric: “I’m gonna pull, pull, pull on his beard.”
Misheard as: “I’m gonna poop, poop, poop on his beard.”

41. “Joy to the World”
Lyric: “He rules the world with truth and grace/And makes the nations prove.”
Misheard as: “He rules the world with truth and grace/And makes the nations prudes.”

42. Wham!, “Last Christmas”
Lyric: “This year, to save me from tears/I gave it to someone special.”
Misheard as: “This year, to semi frontiers/I gave it to someone special.”

43. The Carpenters, “Little Jesus”
Lyric: “He will rock you”
Misheard as: “He will rob you”

44. Harry Belafonte,”Mary’s Boy Child”
Lyric: “A new King’s born today.”
Misheard as: “New kids’ porn today.”

45. Anne Murray, “No Room at the Inn”
Lyric: “The bellboy and the porter, the waitress and the cook/Will be witnessed walking in Heaven.”
Misheard as: “The bellboy and the porter, the waitress and the cook/Will be wintessed f***ing in Heaven.”

46. “O Come, O Come, Emanuel”
Lyric: “Rejoice!”
Misheard as: “Bring toys!”

47. “O Christmas Tree”
Lyric: “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches”
Misheard as: “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your britches”

48. “O Holy Night”
Lyric: “This is the night of the dear Savior’s birth”
Misheard as: “This is the night of the deerslayer’s birth”

49. “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Lyric: “O little town of Bethlehem”
Misheard as: “O little town of Beckley-hem”

50. Orgy, “Santa’s Creepy Secret”
Lyric: “You’ll get your Christmas wish/When you sleep with the fish”
Misheard as: “Did you get your Christmas wish/Did you sleep with the bitch”

51. The Royal Guardsmen, “Snoopy’s Christmas”
Lyric: “And then with a roar they were both on their way/Each knowing they’d meet on some other day”
Misheard as: “And then with a roar they were both on their way/It’s snowin’ made meat on some other day.”

52. Elton John, “Step Into Christmas”
Lyric: “Step into Christmas/The admission is free.”
Misheard as: “September Christmas/Be a fish on a tree.”

53. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “Welcome Christmas”
Lyric: “Fah who for-aze!/Dah who dor-aze!”
Misheard as: “Bathroom florist!/Bathroom florist!”

54. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Lyric: “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus”
Misheard as: “I saw Mommy killing Santa Claus”

55. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
Lyric: “Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walkin’ home from our house Christmas Eve”
Misheard as: “Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walkin’ home from outhouse Christmas Eve”

56. “Sleigh Ride”
Lyric: “Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling, ‘You hoo!'”
Misheard as: “Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling, ‘You fool!'”

57. Alvin and the Chipmunks, “Christmastime Is Here”
Lyric: “Time for joy and time for cheers”
Misheard as: “Time for boys and time for tears”

58. Paul McCartney, “A Wonderful Christmas Time”
Lyric: “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time”
Misheard as: “Disney’s having a wonderful Christmas time”
Comment: From Kiss This Guy: “I thought this song had been the soundtrack to a Disney Christmas special or had been the representation to every Walt Disney Christmas special that had ever been made. How wrong I was.”

59. Andy Williams, “Happy Holidays”
Lyric: “…Leave a peppermint stick for Old Saint Nick, hanging on the Christmas tree.”
Misheard as: “…Place a peppermint stick around your ***k, hanging for all to see.”

60. Brenda Lee, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
Lyric: “Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie and we’ll do some caroling.”
Misheard as: “Maybe we’ll have some f**kin’ pie and we’ll shoot some cat or thing”

61. Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas”
Lyric: “I don’t want a lot for Christmas.”
Misheard as: “I don’t want her, not for Christmas.”

62. The Beach Boys, “Little Saint Nick”
Lyric: “Merry Christmas Saint Nick”
Misheard as: “Merry Christmas Satan”

63. Hanson, “At Christmas”
Lyric: “Memories round the Christmas tree/Are the sweetest ones that remain with me”
Misheard as: “Memories round the Christmas tree/Are the sweetest swans that will mate with me”

64. Mariah Carey, “Oh! Santa”
Lyric: “Oh Santa!/I heard that it’s really gonna snow this year/So I hope Rudolph and them other 8 reindeer/Get you safely here”
Misheard as: “Oh Santa!/I heard that it’s really gonna snow this year/So I hope for a phantom of the ape reindeer/But you’re safely here”

65. Elvis Presley, “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me”
Lyric: “Santa bring my baby back to me”
Misheard as: “Santa, break my leg, bring it back to me”

66. “The Wassail Song”
Lyric: “Here we come a-wassailing”
Misheard as: “Here we come a-waddling”

67. Andy Williams, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
Lyric: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”
Misheard as: “It’s the most wonderful time for a beer”

68. Coca-Cola “Holidays Are Coming”
Lyric: “Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming….
Misheard as: “Hurricanes a coming, hurricanes a coming, hurricanes a coming…”

69. N’SYNC, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”
Lyric: “And all the blessings from above/God sends you His love”
Misheard as: “And all the blessings from above/Condoms you just love”

70. Judy Garland, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Lyric: “Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore.”
Misheard as: “Here we are, as in olden days, happy golden rays, up yours.”

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