This according to AmericanMusicPreservation.com: "It has been reported, though not proven, that he (James Lord Pierpont, 1822-1893) wrote his popular winter song for his father's Sunday School class for Thanksgiving and it proved so popular that it was sung again at Christmas time."
It is also interesting that "James Pierpont's uncle was the famous wealthy New York financier, John Pierpont Morgan, founder of the famed Pierpont Morgan Library."
Would you believe it? One of the most popular Christmas carols was written for a DIFFERENT holiday?? Well, it's the truth. James Pierpont composed "Jingle Bells" in 1857 for a Thanksgiving program at a church in Boston! There, Pierpont taught Sunday school and this tune was easy for his students to memorize and perform. The tune was such a hit that the children were requested again at Christmas, the holiday with which it would be forever associated.Hope this helped! God bless :)
VirginiaLH is correct. Here are a few more facts about the song:
There is a little-known third verse to this song which is rarely sung:
"Now the ground is white Go it while you're young, Take the girls to night And sing this sleighing song; Just get a bob tailed bay Two forty as his speed. Hitch him to an open sleigh And crack, you'll take the lead."
This was the first song played in space. On December 16, 1965, astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford were aboard Gemini 6 when they played this on a harmonica and bells to Mission Control. Both instruments are displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.