Music

These Iconic Christmas Songs Actually Weren't Written by Christians

Christmas transcends all.
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You don’t have to be Christian to love the holiday season and all the charm and wonder of Christmas. Our favorite holiday songs are a testament of that fact as many of them were actually written by non-Christians, particularly Jews. The Jewish community traditionally celebrates Hanukkah instead of Christmas, but the holiday cheer escapes no one. Here are five iconic Christmas songs that were written by Jews who proved that Christmas transcends all cultures and religions.

1| "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"

This Christmas classic was written and composed by two notable Jews: lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Julius Kerwin Stein. Cahn was born to Jewish immigrants from Galicia while Stein was born to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. The two began a decades long musical partnership, often co-writing songs together, many of which were also for Christmas.

2| "White Christmas"

"White Christmas" was written and composed by Israel Isidore Bailin, who later changed his name to Irving Berlin. If his name didn’t make it obvious, Bailin was actually a Jewish immigrant from the former Russian empire who moved to New York with his family in the late 19th century.

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3| "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

One of the most memorable Christmas songs was co-written by two notable Jews, Sidney Edward Pollacsek, also known as Edward Pola, and Bernard Wiessman, also known as George Wyle. The two often collaborated with each other on numerous projects, with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” being the most notable.

4| "Santa Baby"

The sultry single sung by Eartha Kitt was co-written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer, the latter of whom is of Jewish ancestry. Springer went on to write songs for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Judy Garland.

5| "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer"

The popular jingle was written by popular Jewish songwriter, Johnny Marks, adapted from poems and stories of Robert L. May, a fellow New York Jew and Marks’ brother-in-law. May wrote the first poem on Rudolph in 1939, the year his first wife died. It was his four year old daughter with his first wife who decided on Rudolf being the iconic reindeer he is now.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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