|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
A jingle bell or sleigh bell is a type of bell which produces a distinctive 'jingle' sound, especially in large numbers. They find use in many areas as a percussion instrument, including the classic sleigh bell sound and morris dancing. They are typically used as a cheaper alternative to small 'classic' bells.
The simplest jingle bells are produced from a single piece of sheet metal bent into a roughly spherical shape to contain a small ball bearing or short piece of metal rod. This method of production results in the classic two- or four-leaved shape. Two halves may also be crimped together, resulting in a ridge around the middle. A glass marble may also be used as the ringer on larger bells.
Jingle bells are commonly used on Christmas decorations or as Christmas ornaments of themselves, or hung around the neck like a necklace. They can also be strung onto a heavy wire and bent into a wreath shape, usually with a metal bow. Rather than the cross-shaped opening in the bottom, other designs may by cut into the bell, such as a snowflake. Small designs like stars may also be cut into the upper part of the bell. "Jingle Bells" is possibly the best-known Christmas song.