Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka (Meh-le Keh-liki-makah) is Hawaiian for “Merry Christmas”. In the song, by the same name, I’ve always had a mondegreen, misheard lyrics in the song. I thought they were saying “Mele Kalikimaka is the wise way to say Merry Christmas to you” when the correct lyric is “Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas to you”

I never noticed my mistake until I heard Jimmy Buffett’s version from his album “Christmas Island” in 1996. I guess he just pronounced the lyric a little clearer and I heard the real words and thought “what did he say?” The song was written in 1949 by R. Alex Anderson after a stenographer in his office asked him “Mr. Anderson, how come there are no Hawaiian Christmas songs?”

Bing Crosby made the first recording of this song with the Andrews Sisters in 1950. He was a frequent golfing partner of Anderson who played the song for Bing who liked it. It appeared on Crosby’s 1955 album “Merry Christmas”.

This tune has been covered many times through the years by the likes of Davy Jones (Monkees), Chris Isaak, Bette Midler, Asleep at the Wheel, KT Tunstall, Seth MacFarlane, Train, She & Him, and Kacey Musgraves.



Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas
A very Merry Christmas
A very, very, Merry, Merry Christmas to you

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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