When I was a callow youth, my neighborhood buddies and I used to sing a learned lyric that played with levels of diction:


Propel, propel, propel your craft

Placidly down the liquid solution.

Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically.

Existence is but a delusion.


Translated into clear and simple English, our polysyllabic poem turned out to be “Row, row, row your boat.


These days, my adolescent adventure in oblique obfuscation and inflated jargon has evolved into challenging game of sesquipedalian Christmas songs. Here are thirty pompously inflated titles of Christmas carols and songs that you hear and perhaps sing during the month of December. Your task is to translate each ponderous, puffed-up version back into its original form.


Examples: The Primary Yuletide = “The First Noel.” The Diminutive Striped Squirrel Melody = “The Chipmunk Song.” Answers repose at the end of this chapter.


  1. Miniature Nazarene Village
  2. Antlered Quadruped with the Cerise Proboscis
  3. Post-Dusk, Soundless and Sacred
  4. O Locomote Hitherward, All You Steadfast
  5. In a Distant Bovine Animal Feeding Station
  6. When Vigilant Herdsmen Nocturnally Observed Their Pastoral Woollies
  7. My Sole Desire for the Yuletide is Receipt of Twin Incisors
  8. Celestial Messengers from Splendid Empires
  9. The Event Transpired at the Darkest Time with Visibility Unlimited
  10. Ornament the Corridors with Sprigs of Berry-Bearing Evergreen
  11. Exuberation to This Terrestrial Sphere
  12. Omnipotent Supreme Being Bestow Respite Upon You Rollicking Chevaliers
  13. The Diminutive Fledgling Male Percussionist
  14. Roly-Poly Personification Fabricated of Compressed Mounds of Crystal Granules
  15. Who is the Mysterious Pre-adolescent?
  16. I Hearkened to the Tintinnabulation on December 25
  17. Perambulating Through a December Solstice Fantasy Topography
  18. I am Experiencing a Soporific Vision of an Alabaster Nativity Celebration
  19. Tintinnabulation of Vacillating Pendules in Inverted Metallic Caps
  20. I Perceived My Maternal Parent’s Indiscretion with Kriss Kringle
  21. Are You Detecting the Same Aural Sensations As I Am?
  22. Listen! Celestial Cherubic Messengers Generate Harmonious Sounds
  23. We, a Trio of Reigning Monarchs of the Far East, Exist
  24. A Rotund, Hirsute Gift-Bearer Draws Nigh to Our Municipality
  25. The Dozen Twenty-Four-Hour Intervals of Yuletide
  26. Castanea Seeds Incandescing in an Uncovered Conflagration
  27. Proceed Forth Declaiming upon a Geological Protuberance
  28. Cup-Shaped Instruments Fashioned of a Whitish Metallic Element
  29. The Aquifoliaceae and the Hedera
  30. I Perceived a Trio of Nautical Vessels



  1. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  2. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
  3. Silent Night, Holy Night
  4. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  5. Away in a Manger
  6. When Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
  7. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
  8. Angels from the Realms of Glory
  9. It Came upon a Midnight Clear
  10. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
  11. Joy to the World
  12. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
  13. The Little Drummer Boy
  14. Frosty the Snowman
  15. What Child Is This?
  16. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  17. Walking Through a Winter Wonderland
  18. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
  19. Jingle Bells
  20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  21. Do You Hear What I Hear?
  22. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  23. We Three Kings of Orient Are
  24. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  25. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  26. Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire
  27. Go Tell It on the Mountain
  28. Silver Bells
  29. The Holly and the Ivy
  30. I Saw Three Ships



You have all the Yuletide spirit you need.


You could use a little something in your stocking.


Are you sure you have the right holiday?

Dr. Richard Lederer is the author of more than 50 books about language, history and humor, including his newest books, “A Treasury of Halloween Humor” and “A Treasury of Christmas Humor.” To order signed copies, explore his website, verbivore.com or write him Richard Lederer at richardhlederer@gmail.com.