“Winter Wonderland” is a pop standard written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (composer) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). It has been recorded many different times by such artists as Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Karen Carpenter, and Cyndi Lauper.
Smith, a native of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was reportedly inspired to write the song after seeing Honesdale’s Central Park covered in snow. The original recording was by Richard Himber and his Hotel Carelton Orchestra on RCA Bluebird in 1934. At the end of a recording session with time to spare, it was suggested that this new tune be tried with an arrangement provided by the publisher. This excellent “studio” orchestra included many great New York studio musicians including the legendary Artie Shaw.
Due to its seasonal theme, “Winter Wonderland” is often regarded as a Christmas song on the Northern Hemisphere, although the holiday itself is never mentioned in the lyrics.
The following lyrics compose the musical bridge of the song:
“In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown.
He’ll say, ‘Are you married?’
We’ll say ‘No man, but you can do the job when you’re in town!”
Given that a Floridian orange grower was the only well-known person by the name of “Parson Brown” at the time the song was composed, one can assume that “Parson” is used as a first name rather than a title. In the period when this song was written, parsons (now known as a Protestant ministers) often traveled among small rural towns to perform wedding ceremonies for denominational followers who did not have a local minister of their own faith. It is therefore likely that the children are pretending that their snowman is a parson with the surname “Brown” who would be visiting the town again in the future.