‘Tis the season to celebrate the animal kingdom! Christmas music through the ages makes references to animals in the titles and/or the lyrics. Here’s a compilation of classical/traditional and popular Christmas pieces and tunes, courtesy of fellow musician/cat lady/blogging partner, Meri Dolevski-Lewis, in our joint cybercorner of the world, The Freethinkers. (Note: edits are mine.)

  1. Twelve Days of Christmas: a PARTRIDGE in a pear tree, two TURTLE DOVES, three French HENS, four calling BIRDS, six GEESE a-laying, seven SWANS a-swimming
  2. Jingle Bells: “In a one-HORSE open sleigh”
  3. Handel’s Messiah, selections
  • He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: “and he shall gather the LAMBS with his arm”
  • All we like SHEEP have gone astray (one line of lyrics are the same as title)
  • Behold the LAMB of God: “behold the LAMB of God that taketh away”
  • I know that my redeemer liveth: “And though WORMS destroy this body”
  • Worthy is the LAMB that was slain (two references to animals: one line of lyrics is same as the title; the other is “and upon the throne unto the LAMB”)
  1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed REINDEER: one line of lyrics is same as title; another is “and do you recall/The most famous REINDEER of all?” The last is “They wouldn’t let him play any REINDEER games”
  2. Grandma Got Run Over by a REINDEER: one line of lyrics are the same as title; the other, in the eighth verse, is “Now the GOOSE is on the table/And the pudding made of PIG”
  3. Good Christian Men Rejoice: “OX and ASS before him bow”
  4. In the Bleak Midwinter: fourth verse, last phrase (“the OX and ASS and CAMEL adore”)
  5. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly: “for his bed a CATTLE stall, OXEN lowing, little knowing”
  6. Away in a Manger : “The CATTLE are lowing, the baby awakes”
  7. ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime: “when all the BIRDS had fled”
  8. What Child is This? (second verse: “where OX and ASS are feeding”)
  9. Christmas is Coming: “Christmas is coming, the GOOSE is getting fat”
  10. I Want a HIPPOPOTAMUS for Christmas: one line of lyrics is the same as title; the other is part of the fourth verse “No CROCODILES or RHINOCEROSES”
  11. Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride: the title and the lyrics imply horses, but the second verse also contains the lyric line “We’re snuggled up like two BIRDS of a feather would be”
  12. Battle with the MOUSE King: selection from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker
  13. J.S. Bach’s Wauchet Auf (Sleepers Awake), recitative: “The Bridegroom comes, who like a ROE and a STAG”
  14. Winter Wonderland: second verse (“Gone away is the BLUEBIRD/Here to stay is the new BIRD”)
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