The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

It Is Christmas Day

Words: Unknown

Music: Unknown
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Carol 712, Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916)

1. It is Christmas Day by the river,
It is Christmas Day by the bay;
And the soft-winged snows, they are falling
On the ocean far away.
From the hand of God they are falling,
Snowy doves on this Christmas Day,
On the havened waves of the river
On the ocean far away.

2. There are happy lights by the river,
There are happy lights by the bay,
|And the lonely lights, they are drifting
O'er the ocean far away.
But the sailor thinks of his dear ones,
And his home on this Christmas Day,
While the wind sweeps wild thro' the cordage,
O'er the ocean far away.

3. Now the bells ring over the river,
Now the bells ring over the bay,
And the ships still move in the silence
O'er the ocean far away.
But the sailor's heart, it is cherry,
And says "It is Christmas Day";
Through the wind and waves may be dreary,
They are happy far away.

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According to Hutchins, "Sung Every Christmas At Christ Church, Oyster Bay, L. I." (Long Island)

Note from "The White House Christmas Trees"

Theodore Roosevelt wasn’t against Christmas, although he at one time opposed putting up a Christmas Tree (on environmental grounds). In one of two works published in 1913, he wrote about Christmas customs observed by the Roosevelt family.

"Every Christmas Eve in our own church at Oyster Bay, for instance, the children sing a hymn beginning "Its Christmas Eve on the River, its Christmas Eve on the Bay." Of course the hymn has come to us from somewhere else, but I do not know from where; and the average native of our village firmly believes that it is indigenous to our own soil which it can not be, unless it deals in hyperbole, for the nearest approach to a river in our neighborhood is the village pond."

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