I would like to thank Vaguely Urban for hijacking my thoughts and energy over the past week with this post. She pointed out that the lyrics to "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" refer to "scary ghost stories," and that her family traditions don't involve ghost stories.
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
This really bugs VU, a lot of other people, and me. It bugged me even more when I noticed the previous lines were:
There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
I've never had a toasted marshmallow during the holidays, not even for a s'more. It's just odd, especially when you consider that "And chestnuts for roasting " would have worked just as well with the rhyme. Who toasts marshmallows at Christmas? Okay, maybe it sounds good right now, but you don't toast marshmallows on any holiday. You toast marshmallows around the campfire. Right before you tell the scary ghost stories. It's a camping song.
Well, there must be some reason for this. All I found on the web was trivia and puzzling hints. I started with the composers, Edward Pola and George Wyle.
Edward Pola has been erased by the KGB. He doesn't exist. This is very bad, because on one of their other collaborations, George was the composer and Eddie is listed as the lyricist. I can only hope his collaborator said, "Ed? Um, did you just do a sloppy rewrite of a camping song?"
The other composer, George Wyle, is much more visible since he also wrote the theme to Gilligan's Island. (A song, let it be noted, in which the words make sense and do not contain non sequiturs about Christmas Camping.)
When George Wyle died CBS reported that "Wyle was born Bernard Weissman in New York City and began playing piano professionally at clubs in New York's Catskill Mountains." It was then I began to suspect George Wyle (nee Weissman) may have been a little unfamiliar with Christmas traditions. Then I considered I just might be unfamiliar with Hanukkah traditions. It is a holiday song, not a Christmas song. Perhaps they camp. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
This musician, Adam Levy, is not only George Wyle's grandson, he is generous with practical guitar advice. He has a blog. He seems accessible. I can tell if Christmas isn't over soon I'm going to get on his message board and ask him if his family goes camping at Christmas to toast marshmallows and tell ghost stories.