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The BCWI is an educational organization for women and families since 1897, and active in BC since 1909.

And So to Christmas

Have you every wondered about the story behind the Christmas song, “Silver Bells?” — if so, read on:

Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, Silver Bells  was originally titled “Tinkle Bells”.  A deadline for the completion of the Christmas song slated for a soon to be released movie was looming, and the song writers were struggling. Finally, the inspiration for the name came from a bell which sat on one of their desks, and the many Salvation Army volunteers who would “tinkle” their bells outside stores and on street corners to garner donations for Christmas projects. So, the song was about the contribution to the feeling of Christmas these bell ringers evoked.

When Jay Livingston mentioned the name to his wife, she replied – “Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?” (of course referring to the fact that it is another word for urination used with children.)

So, it became “Silver Bells” and was first sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the film “The Lemon Drop Kid”. It became Livingston and Evans biggest hit. Other songs written by this duo include “Que Sera, Sera, (What Will Be, Will Be), Buttons and Bows and Mona Lisa – all Academy Award winners!

Silver Bells

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, Dressed in holiday style,

In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas

 Children laughing, people passing, Meeting smile after smile

and on every street corner you hear:

 Silver Bells, Silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city

Ring-a-ling, hear them ring, soon it will be Christmas Day.

 Strings of street lights, even stop lights, blink a bright red and green

As the shoppers rush home with their treasures

 Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch

This is Santa’s big scene, and above all the bustle you hear:

 Silver Bells, Silver Bells, it’s Christmas time in the city

Ring-a-ling, hear them ring, soon it will be Christmas Day.


Yours for Home and Country, Ruth Fenner, BCWI Provincial Historian

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