|Written by||James Pierpont|
"Jingle Bells," originally known as "One Horse Open Sleigh," was written by James Pierpont in 1857 to be sung at a Thanksgiving program at his church. Even though the song about winter does not make any references to Christmas, it has become one of the most popular holiday carols, and has been translated into many languages. In 1957, it inspired "Jingle Bell Rock."
The familiarity of the public domain song has led to its incorporation as an integral part of the Elmo's World format. At the end of each episode, Elmo leads the episode's guests in a rendition of a song, using a repetition of the topic of the day as the lyrics, set to the melody of "Jingle Bells" (except "Farms", where Elmo sings the closing to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"). For example, in the "Balls" episode, Elmo sings "Ball ball ball / ball ball ball / ball ball ball ball ball" instead of "Jingle bells / Jingle bells / Jingle all the way." In the Transportation episode, Elmo actually sings the final lyric as "in a one-horse open sleigh," demonstrating said sleigh as another mode of transportation.
"Jingle Bells" has been performed by the Muppets on several occasions.
- The Sesame Street cast sang "Jingle Bells" on the Christmas albums Merry Christmas from Sesame Street (1975) and Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along (1984). The song was re-released on CD on A Sesame Street Christmas (1995).
- The cast of A Special Sesame Street Christmas also sang a chorus of "Jingle Bells" in the closing medley.
- "I'm Cold" ends with a riff of the song.
- The cast sings the song at the end of Elmo's World: Happy Holidays!
Other Muppet Performances
- The song served as the opening number for episode 214 of The Jimmy Dean Show. Rowlf the Dog participates by playing a pipe and singing along with the guest stars.
- For the television special A Muppet Family Christmas, Kermit the Frog and his nephew Robin sang "Jingle Bells", leading into Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem's performance of "Jingle Bell Rock." This performance of the song was released on the 1996 CD A Classic Cartoon Christmas.
- In The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, "The Birthday Moose", the Birthday Bird's trainee Webley sings a message about the Birthday Bird being caught in snow to Thidwick is sung to "Jingle Bells".
- In It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Johnny Fiama sings "Jingle Bells" backstage at The Muppet Theatre while several pairs of Muppets, including Gonzo and Rizzo, and Bunsen and Beaker, exchange gifts in the style of "The Gift of the Magi." When Sal Manilla interrupts Johnny's song to give him a gift, Johnny accepts it, then continues with his song without returning the favor.
- The special Andrea Bocelli & David Foster: My Christmas features Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Pepe the King Prawn, and a few Penguins appearing with Andrea Bocelli, featuring David Foster on the piano, for this Great Performances special to tie in with Bocelli's CD My Christmas. The same group, sans Animal and Penguins, later performed the number on The Jay Leno Show. This recording was also later released on the 2011 reissue of A Green and Red Christmas.
- On the December 23, 1997 broadcast of Good Morning America, Santa Kermit and his frog elves stopped by to sing "Jingle Bells."
- Elmo appeared on Dr. Phil via a pre-recorded video message where he sang "Jingle Bells" with the audience.
- The song is also featured in a Disney Junior Music Nursery Rhymes video featuring Summer Penguin alongside Mickey and Minnie Mouse. A jingle Rubber chicken that Baby Animal gives Baby Fozzie in the Muppet Babies episode "A Very Muppet Babies Christmas" plays the song.
- Jingle Bell Elmo features Elmo dressed as an Elf, and it sings "Jingle Bells" when his hand is squeezed.
- In 2011, a DanDee plush Kermit, wearing a Santa hat, featured a recording of "Jingle Bells" with alternative Muppet lyrics.
- A Sesame Street Christmas stocking by Gund featured Elmo singing "Jingle Bells" when activated.
- In 2010, Gund also released Sesame Street holiday plush characters of Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Elmo and Grover that played "Jingle Bells" when squeezed.
- Kurt Adler has released Sesame Street snowglobes that featured the song "Jingle Bells."
- A Jim Henson Company Christmas Card from the 1970s featured many Muppet creations in a sled singing the song.
- In the book A Very Muppet Christmas, the song is given new lyrics in the "Muppet Carols" section. The new song is titled "Piggy Fell."
- The song "The Christmas Party Sing-Along", as featured on the A Green and Red Christmas makes reference to many Christmas Carols, including "Jingle Bells."