Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
"Jolly Old St. Nicholas" is a Christmas song. Its authorship has sometimes been credited to Wilf Carter. However, since the song was published before his birth, this is clearly an error. The song has also been credited to Benjamin Hanby, author of "Up on the House Top", at some point in the 1860s, although this too may be in dispute.
The song is traditionally performed to a melody originally written by James Lord Pierpont (which he used for the original version of "Jingle Bells"). This melody was, in turn, loosely based on Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major".
The traditional lyrics are:
- Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,
- Lean your ear this way;
- Don't you tell a single soul
- What I'm going to say,
- Christmas Eve is coming soon;
- Now my dear old man,
- Whisper what you'll bring to me;
- Tell me if you can.
- When the clock is striking twelve,
- When I'm fast asleep,
- Down the chimney broad and black
- With your pack you'll creep;
- All the stockings you will find
- Hanging in a row;
- Mine will be the shortest one;
- You'll be sure to know.
- Johnny wants a pair of skates;
- Susy wants a sled;
- Nellie wants a story book,
- one she hasn't read
- As for me, I hardly know
- so I'll go to rest;
- Choose for me, dear Santa Claus,
- What you think is best.
- Carter, Wilf. The Yodelling Cowboy. Toronto: Ryerson, 1961.
- J. P. McCaskey, ed., Franklin Square Song Collection, No. 1. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881, p. 80.
- Edwards, Bill. "Christmas Music and Stories Behind the Songs"