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Who are these Christmas Characters?


With Christmas less than a week away, it’s time to celebrate here at Spellzone. Today we’re looking at two famous Christmas songs and some characters who feature in them. Where do these characters come from? Are they based on real people? How long have their stories been around for? You can read our article about Christmas characters from books here.

In the meadow we can build a snowman…

The Christmas song Winter Wonderland features the following two lines:

‘In the meadow we can build a snowman,
and pretend that he is Parson Brown’.

The Spellzone dictionary defines the word ‘parson’ as ‘a person authorized to conduct religious worship’. This definition puts the next two lines of the song into context:

‘He’ll say, “Are you married?”
We’ll say, “No man!
But you can do the job when you’re in town.”’

A couple have built a snowman and they are imagining him performing a marriage ceremony for them. When the song was written in the thirties, parsons were known to travel around and conduct weddings for couples who didn’t have a leader who was the same religion as them nearby. Parson Brown, however, was not a real person. The name is a placeholder one like Joe Bloggs, Fred Bloggs, or John Doe.

Other versions of the song use ‘circus clown’ instead of ‘Parson Brown’.

A fairy tale they say…

A few Christmases ago we blogged about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer who appeared first in a book in 1939 and then in a song recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. The song was number one over Christmas and sold 2.5 million copies in its first year.

Autry recorded Frosty the Snowman with the Cass County Boys in 1950 hoping to replicate the seasonal success that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had achieved. The song reached number seven in the charts and was adapted into a television special. Frosty the Snowman, like Rudolph, is now considered a seasonal classic. The song tells the story of a snowman who comes alive after some children find a magic silk hat and place it on his head:

‘O, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh
And play just the same as you and me.’

As is the case with all snowmen, Frosty can’t stay forever. He doesn’t melt though – instead his fun ends in rather an unusual way:

‘He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop.
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler "Stop!"

Frosty the snow man
Had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye saying,
“Don't you cry, I'll be back again someday.”’

If you enjoyed this post, you can find more of our Christmas articles here:


20 Dec 2017
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