Silver Bells At Christmas: The Real Meaning

When we think of the Christmas season, we imagine beautiful pine trees, glimmering white snow, and of course the classic and cheerful holiday songs we all know and love. Some that come to mind include are “White Christmas” (Bing Crosby), “The Christmas Song” (Nat King Cole), and “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (Burl Ives). One song in particular though, “Silver Bells”, has quite the interesting history. It all started when composers Jay Livingston and Ray Evans were asked by Paramount Pictures to create a Christmas tune for the movie “The Lemon Drop Kid” (1951). However, they had a difficult time with this task, as they wanted to make an original song that would stand out from the usual classics. Stuck with the daunting task, a literal bell kick-started the creativity of the lyrics. The song was originally named “Tinkle Bell”, taking meaning behind the ‘tinkle’ sounds the Salvation Army Santa bells would make. According to American Songwriter Magazine (July-August 1988), it was

Livingston’s wife brought up the fact that the word ‘tinkle’ has a “bathroom connotation”. The name was changed to “Silver Bells” soon after. The song appeared in The Lemon Drop Kid, as sung by actors Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. Evans and Livingston went on to win The Most Performed Feature Film Standards for “Silver Bells” at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards of 1990.

Now, when we think of the song, we usually associate it with Bing Crosby. Crosby worked with Carol Richards, a talented actress, to record their own version of the song a year after The Lemon Drop Kid was released. Silver Bells might have been used as a song title, but it was back in 1937, there was the ‘Silver Bells’ slot machine was invented- which later became the most iconic symbols these machines were known for. Ever since then, Silver themed slot titles like Silver Strike, Sterling Silver, and Silver Fox are celebrated slot games that people love to play online now-a-days. Looking to play with some of these Silver Bells just for fun, check out for more info. Since Christmas is all about well-wishing and surprises you never know what lucky silver prizes are possible. As you may already know, Christmas music today still involves the wonderful classics, but has also introduced a new array of songs like “Last Christmas” (Wham!), “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (Mariah Carey), as well as the uber-popular Christmas album by Michael Bublé. But I hope that whenever you hear “Silver Bells” again, that you remember the actual history behind the hit.