Thanksgiving Music

November 27, 2013


Before the War Between the States, before the first football rivalry weekend, and long before the first frenzied Black Friday shopping swarm, there were simple and sweet Thanksgiving meals with family.

In 1844, Lydia Maria Child wrote the poem, “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day, ” which is listed above as “The New England Boy’s Song” and is now our memorable, “Over The River and Through The Wood” song. When I was an elementary school teacher, I taught every verse of this song to the children . . .  and they loved it!
Charlie Brown and his gang sang it as they made their way to his Grandmother’s house, but he reminded everyone his Grandmother lived in a condo.
I’m already being bombarded with Christmas music, most  – well some, of which annoys me. But Thanksgiving tunes are harder to find. You never hear Thanksgiving songs on the radio.
Favorites? “Come Ye Thankful People, Come” and “We Gather Together” come to mind. Do you have other favorite Thanksgiving songs? Are there any others?
Do tell.
Just in case you missed my Kindergarten class, here are the modern words to Lydia Maria Child’s famous song.
Over The River And Through The Wood
Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through (the) white and drifted snow!
Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.
Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow
It is so hard to wait!
Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
Now you’ll be singing it all day long! Me too.

Leave a Reply

  1. I haven’t thought about this song in years! My grandmother taught my brother and me to sing it. Thanks for sparking the memory and have a great Thanksgiving. — Jan

  2. I love Over the River and it was true for a couple years to get to one of my grandmother’s. I watched Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving tonight because it is on during the Egg Bowl tomorrow night.

  3. The song I always think of at Thanksgiving is America the Beautiful.
    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!
    O beautiful for pilgrim feet
    Whose stern impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness.
    America! America!
    God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law.
    O beautiful for glorious tale
    Of liberating strife,
    When valiantly for man’s avail
    Men lavish precious life.
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness,
    And ev’ry gain divine.
    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears.
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea.

  4. Over the river…I remember singing it at the top of our lungs from the back seat of the car. Even though there was no river and no snow and we weren’t going to grandmother’s house, we loved it!

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