Why are you singing ‘Away In A Manger’ like that??
Posted on December 18, 2009 by yankeebean
Ahhhhhhh, they JOYS of spending Christmas in another country (!) Everything that you consider an essential Christmas tradition teeters in peril – what will be kept?? What will be shunned?? What Christmas movies will be on TV?? What heinous desserts will you have to endure??
I guess the truth is that EVERYONE has to adjust to someone else’s Christmas eventually. You move away from home and start to build your own traditions – keeping the wheat and chucking the chaff (‘Chucking the Chaff’ -> band name!!)
Anyway, I think I’ve adapted to English Christmas pretty bloody well (I’ve thrown the ‘bloody’ in to prove my point…) Aside from missing my family like an amputated limb, I love Christmas in England.
EXCEPT… (you knew it was coming)
There I was, at the carol service at my church – singing all the faves like ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angles Sing’. Christmas glow emanating from my face as I belt these Christmassy essentials in a gorgeous candle lit old church. Then it’s time for ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ and…
THE TUNE IS DIFFERENT!?
Here I was, expecting the ol’ American classic:
But was confronted by a British surprise…
(unfortunately, neither were sung by Bing Crosby)
I immediately felt like I was trying to cram the round-peg-words into the square-hole-tune. I know deep down that it ISN’T wrong… but I also know deep down that it FEELS wrong. It DID come upon a midnight clear, but not like THAT – we must be talking about different midnight clears – are you sure you’re not talking about Boxing Day?
Anyway, I got through it without managing to make too many faces or without clutching my head in confusion. Yes, yes, I know I’m very brave
And, lo and behold – Away in a Manger offers the same dilemma. Talk about a song that’s been ingrained in us all since birth – I feel like I sang that song in the womb. Me and Mr Nice Guy have actually introduced an ‘Away in a Manger’ ban because we both hate hearing the ‘wrong’ version. *shudder*
So, expat shamericans, in addition to adapting to flaming pudding and fist-sized balls of orange-flavoured chocolate from all your acquaintances – get ready to learn some new tunes. Or boycott Christmas carols (you Scrooge, you.)
When our other fellow SNFY blogger Pacificbird hummed to the wrong Christmas Carol? Click here