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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Christmas Mysteries
My understanding had always been that the British were more likely to say "Merry Christmas" than "Happy Christmas", but that it was the other way around in the States, and that under American influence the H word was gaining currency here too. However, an Ngram of British written usage suggests that Merry is not only maintaining but increasing its ascendancy, at least in published sources:

Screenshot 2015-11-07 14.32.34

More than that, Merry is even more dominant in the States, and always has been.

Screenshot 2015-11-07 14.32.21

So there you go. Live and learn.

However, now I'm intrigued by the 20-year decline in American festive greetings from the early '40s to the early '60s - an era I think of as the epitome of the chestnuts-on-an-open-fire, ultra-wholesome American Christmas, with Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Stewart, 34th St and all. Yet the number of Christmas greetings (at least in print) more or less halved in that period. Perhaps the association between Christmas trees and the Red Flag brought the festival under suspicion with the McCarthyites?

I always assumed "Happy Christmas" was British because of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song. Maybe it's actually Japanese?

I would also agree with kalimac that "America" is really, really popular in American elementary schools. Actually, given the difficulties of singing the national anthem, I would say that "America" and "America the Beautiful" were more popular than "The Star-Spangled Banner." Probably "This Land is Your Land" was too.

Well, as you can see, Merry has always been more popular in the UK too, but of course it's less noticeable if that's what you're used to.

Why is the SSB 'difficult'?

The SSB is difficult because the tune is almost impossible to sing. Somewhere on YouTube there are probably collections of assorted pop singers massacring it prior to sporting events, which, outside of schools, is probably 90% of where it gets sung.

kalimac is right. In particular, I think it's notorious for having a very difficult range, such that if you start out singing high enough for it to be comfortable, by the end you will have gone through a stage of having to hit a note that is impossible for most of us.

I actually really like SSB, but that high note at the end is brutal. Nobody wants to hear a bunch of primary school kids screeching that out. ;)

We would never, ever have sung "This Land is Your Land" as the patriotic song of the day in my schooldays. That was in the 60s, which was still too close to the McCarthy era, and Guthrie was considered unAmerican.

I had the sense from reading your comments on steepholm's LJ that you were in fact noticeably older than I, but I didn't want to bring it up because the memories were vague rather than specific and therefore I could have been wrong. But it is interesting that there's been so much continuity that a couple of decades later those two songs were still the most popular!