Origins of 12 of America's favorite Christmas songs

The second Americans finish their Thanksgiving dinners, the football flooding the airways is immediately replaced by a million Christmas tunes. Entire radio stations are devoted to the jingly jangly tunes we grew up loving for a solid 25 days each year. They become inescapable as malls, gas stations, grocery stores and bars blare "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Let It Snow."

Christmas songs are undeniably important to the holidays -- in fact, is running an entire tournament to determine Americans' favorite songs. But have you ever considered how certain songs came to represent the most wonderful time of the year?

Certain songs like "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" have roots in medieval France, and "O Come Ye All Faithful" is thought to be a coded rallying cry from the 1700s Jacobite rebellion.

The origins of ditties made in America during the 20th century are also varied, but many songwriters were driven by the fruits of commercialism. A few of the biggest Christmas hits of the last 100 years were commissioned by department stores for holiday hand outs. "Frosty the Snowman" was created after being inspired by the lucrative story-song pairing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." One man, Johnny Marks, made a living by writing four of the best-known holiday tunes of our time.

Take a look at the slideshow and let us know if you were surprised by your favorite songs' backstories.

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