Once in Royal David's City stood a lonely cattle shed,
Where a mother held her baby.
You'd do well to remember the things He later said.
When you're stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties,

You'll just laugh when I tell you to take a running jump.
You're missing the point I'm sure does not need making
That Christmas spirit is not what you drink.

So how can you laugh when your own mother's hungry,
And how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I just messed up your thoughtless pleasures,
Remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song.

(Hey! Santa! Pass us that bottle, will you?)

Lyrics submitted by knate15

"The Christmas Song" as written by Shawn Phillips

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Christmas Song song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentits funny that a song written in 1970 still rings so true today as the true meaning of christmas gets lost further in commercialism, even if not a christian yourself the idea of giving/helping each other and wanting peace on earth not just christmas parties and getting hammered is a great sentiment.

    one of my fave tull songs
    youknowimrighton August 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is telling the listener that Christmas is more than a time for "thoughtless pleasures," but more about the true spirit of Christmas, and what it is all about.

    A great little song.
    jethrotull6352on April 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree plus its a great song
    roy_boy4590on January 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is "Christmas Song," not "Christmas Story."
    maharishion March 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is about the true meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas does not involve drunken parties or Santa Claus.
    Tom_And_Jerryon July 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is surely a song to remind the listener of the true meaning of Christmas. Ian Anderson has expressed, in earlier releases, his discontent with organized religion, for instance the song My God, from Aqualung seems to implicate the Catholic Church, and his experience in it, as offensive to him... The Catholic Church has come a long way from some of its perceived disciplined ways, however, and now practices more compassionate and Christ-like attitude, which I personally welcome. Or maybe I'm just grown up now and can now see its intent and value. But I digress...

    To understand where Anderson comes from with this song, I have to assume that he is a spiritual person, cherishing the content of the bible and frustrated by human influence and twisting of the word. As a purest, he seems to be disgusted with how commercial interests and self serving humanity have manipulated the meaning of its teachings for various alternate purposes. I believe Ian Anderson to be a purest, and someone who not only ignores, but rejects all of those entities that try to taint the truth of something as important to him as the teachings of the bible and the true meaning of Christmas.

    And if this is all too uncomfortable for you to accept, then remember that it's just a Christmas song. You may resume your selfish pleasure...

    Kind of a dark song, but enlightening.
    woodnsteelon January 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSorry, but you're all full of crap. Like Anderson himself when he wrote and recorded it. What a mean-spirited and self-righteous hypocrite. How does he know that nobody else "understands" the "meaning" of Christmas? This is one of the most mean-spirited and unwarrantedly harsh attacks ever directed at gullible rock fans. It ranks up there with Kurt Cobain sneering at his devoted listeners that he's deep and they're all shallow ("All Apologies": "I wish I was like you, easily amused"). Thanks, a-hole. Just what I need, gratuitous insults. Go f--- yourself, you hypocritical self-righteous jerk; you never ate a Christmas dinner? Give me a frickin' break. And you idiots writing this nonsense, encouraging his jerkiness, you're frickin' clueless. For your information, Ian Anderson is a successful businessman and capitalist. I've nothing against his making money; but he can spare me the lectures about being a selfish and thoughtless sinner, acting as if he's more virtuous/holy/Christly-than-thou.
    mbrachmanon August 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe owns several salmon farms, f'rinstance; last I checked, this is not in the vegetarian book of etiquette, nor are these for-profit enterprises being utilized for, say, Somalian famine relief. If you think this song isn't crap and Anderson is a mean little hypocrite, you're idiots, and I've a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.
    mbrachmanon August 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"That Christmas Spirit is not what you drink".
    That line, in my opinion, is pure genius. He's basically saying that most people think Christmas is a time for drinking, overeating and presents, when the true "spirit" is the religious aspects, not the alcohol. There are some interesting points about how the meaning of Christmas has been corrupted from a religious holiday celebrating Jesus' birth into a time for presents, booze and food, which I think is the "point that does not need making". (Plus that ending bit sums up most of the song, with the Santa and the Alcohol and all)
    corymanon March 22, 2014   Link

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