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December 12, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Out of tune.

Oh, little sound of Bethlehem…

Victorian woman gingerly stepping on ice with armload of presents. Gustav Laerum.1897 (Nat.Lib.of Norway/USPD., artist life/Commons.wikimedia.or

Try to be proactive. Making a list and checking it twice. Gads. Why can’t the little ankle biters darlings stop with the last minute requests to Santa.(1897 Christmas postcard/USPD/

It came upon a midnight clear…

Or it would have if yours had arrived earlier leaving me no choice, but to dash away, dash away, dash away all to way to Walgreens, the only place open…

Victorian Woman at door for Christmas visit. 1910. (USPD. artist life, pub. date/

Nooooo! They can’t have left for holiday vacation already. A reciprocal gift is mandated even though we all agreed “No gift exchange this year” – and this darn cheeseball won’t last on the doorstep until their return after New Years. Perhaps, if I can find an urchin to bribe – a Ring doorbell imager of a porch pirate would be sufficient? (1910 Christmas card.USPD/

Do you hear what I hear?

Careful. Her nose is red, but pretty sure she’s not an elf or Rudolf.

Victorian Christmas card of young girl mailing card at mail boz ( Jenny Nystrom 1854-1946) Nat.Lib.of Norway/USPD.artist life,

Oh. Grinch. Mom was right. Better hop like a bunny and mail this quick, then get ready to run. That odd activist over there is glaring at what appears to her to be a real fur muff. It’s not Bunny! It’s not Fluffy either. It’s not from China. Faux fur. Faux. Keep up people. Never heard of mistaken identity fashion cut-ups  or fake blood ever actually solving any problem. There. Put my stamp on it and done. (Jenny Nystrom. Christmas card/USPD/

Jingle on.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


“”Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”. Visiting Bethlehem in 1865 left a lasting impression on Episcopal priest Phillips Brooks. Three years later in Philadelphia he wrote a little poem intended to be only “a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service”. Neither he nor his organist who added music to the text ever thought the the song would be become a Christmas classic. Several different tune used with this song, (Primary source account about the song’s beginnings here.)

“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, written by Massachusetts  Unitarian pastor Edmund Sears, was first published as a five stanza poem in the Christian Register (Dec. 29, 1849) with the familiar melody added about a year later. Sears was rather depressed during that time with Europe’s revolutions and the United States’ war with Mexico – viewing the world as dark, full of “sin and strife” and people not understanding the message of Christmas. A song about war and peace.(More about the song here) This carol also has multiple melodies for the words.

Noel Regney and his wife Gloria Shayne Baker wrote “Do You Hear What I Hear?” in 1962 as a plea for peace during the Cuban missile crisis. Regney had been asked by a record producer to write a Christmas song in October, but the over-commercialization of the holiday made him hesitate. But he did write the lyrics – with phrases like “”Pray for peace, people everywhere” supposedly inspired by watching babies in strollers being pushed along the sidewalks in NYC.The pair found it impossible to sing the entire song in public.  “Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of war at the time,” his wife said in an interview years later. Bing Crosby’s version in 1963 made the song a hit and a classic. (More about the carol’s history here)



  1. shoreacres / Dec 12 2019 7:22 am

    Interesting. I thought “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was much older than that. There’s always something new to learn!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 12 2019 4:47 pm

      I thought it was ancient…or at least very old and from Europe.Sometimes I think Bing Crosby was put here to sing that song. Few can match.
      thanks for humming along and Jingle on!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate Crimmins / Dec 12 2019 7:32 am

    A friend’s ex would always buy her gift at the only open drugstore on his way home from work on the 24th. You notice I said “ex.” Had he hung in eventually most couples stop doing the gift thing but he had other issues too. From the songs it seems like there are lots of dark times on earth. They seem to produce the best songs.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 12 2019 4:56 pm

      Critics used to say “artists must suffer to produce great work”. It does come to mind that some of the best of human behavior comes during dark times – like hurricane rescues and recovery. Humans are an good lot
      (Got a laugh over your last minute shopper story. When I was grown-up, we had the last minute shopping tradition of heading out with dad to the 5 & 10 store or the drug store just before closing looking for most absurd and silliest and cheapest items to add under the tree. The results were hilarious – everyone had a sense of humor and delight then. I do suspect the habit started when he was little and there wasn’t much money from farming. What I got from that was that laughter and fun were the best present of all.)
      Thanks for adding some cheery notes

      Liked by 1 person

  3. easyweimaraner / Dec 12 2019 8:50 am

    my father once bought the gifts at a gas station… I liked the scent trees, but my mom was not really happy with the car polish (you can maybe use it for jewelry too).


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 12 2019 4:58 pm

      Hey don’t scorn the gas station and car wash – got a really great CD of “traveling music” from there once. HaHa (Could be car polish can work as a hockey puck?) Thanks for chortling along


  4. The Coastal Crone / Dec 12 2019 12:14 pm

    Interesting that “Do You Hear What I Hear” was written as a peace plea during the Cuban crisis. I didn’t know that. Good post – I need to run out and finish my shopping!


  5. Margo / Dec 12 2019 1:27 pm

    I don’t have much to say by way of a comment except – I enjoyed this very much!


  6. sustainabilitea / Dec 12 2019 5:47 pm

    I like the old Christmas cards and thanks for the fascinating information about the carols/hymns. Add me to the list of people who were surprised by the story of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” We’re doing almost no presents this year other than our family members all coming home for Christmas. That’s the most important gift (outside of the one that’s the original reason for Christmas). We have just a few things, so I’m all done wrapping and just enjoying all the decorations. I hope your pre-Christmas season is going well and isn’t too hectic.



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 12 2019 6:33 pm

      Nostalgia and those vintage Christmas scenes just seem to warm in the holiday season – happy, joyful, and comfortable. Like a fireplace. Just got curious about where some of the carols came from – quite surprising to me – so many reflections of peace and war.
      We’re into coast now – prep work mostly done, so we can relax and enjoy it all. Sounds like you have some really jolly times ahead. Cheers and jingle on!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. RKLikesReeses / Dec 17 2019 6:49 pm

    Love those sweet pictures!
    So many beautiful carols…

    Not a fan of “the holidays” anymore – too many missing, too much sadness. This year I’ve put out the word that my only nod to the season is a twinkly ribbon arrangement on the front door (twinkles cheer me up). No cards, no gifts, and only the required minimum of festive interactions.

    Oh! Here’s something! I went to elementary and junior high school with a descendant of Edmund Sears.



  8. Kirt D Tisdale / Dec 19 2019 2:05 pm

    Love this post….I have learned something today as to the origins of these carols….Merry Christmas!


  9. Beth / Dec 25 2019 2:00 pm

    I absolutely love the things I learn when I visit your blog. Thank you for always sharing, educating, and making my world a little bigger one post at a time.


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