Of the "non-hymn" Christmas carols, "Up on the House Top" is one of my favorites. I love the word pictures it evokes as well as the clever rhyming and rhythm.
According to William Studwell in The Christmas Carol Reader, "Up on the House Top," composed by Benjamin Hanby, was the second-oldest secular Christmas song, outdone only by "Jingle Bells", which was written in 1857 (although the latter was originally intended as a Thanksgiving song). It is also considered the first Christmas song to focus primarily on Santa Claus.
According to Readers Digest Merry Christmas Song Book Hanby was the first to offer up the idea that Santa and his sleigh land on the roof of homes. Benjamin Russell Hanby was born in 1833 near Rushville, Ohio, the son of a minister involved with the Underground Railroad.
So, for today, I am grateful for Christmas carols of all kinds.