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It is very, very difficult to write a Christmas song.

Love it or hate it, Christmas music is everywhere. I really believe the iconic songs are a big part of what elevates this time of year. So many beloved Christmas songs were penned in the 30s and 40s. And that’s not to mention all the carols and hymns that came before, names of their composers known only to the most devoted historians. How can you can compete with songs that have survived for centuries? What can you say that hasn’t already been said?

Still, I’ve always wanted to write an original Christmas song. A sweet, classy melody equally fit for a country crooner, pop diva, or my mom’s church choir. Sentimental lyrics that capture the sights and sounds of the holiday season, but also touch on the spiritual Christmas story. A heartfelt message without being too preachy. A melty chord progression and a big key change in the bridge. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but it’s the perfect season for dreaming.

Our first Christmas season as a couple, Patrick shared his behemoth holiday playlist with me in the car. Song by song, we talked through favorite memories and traditions in our respective families. One night while chatting on the drive back from the grocery store, the title “When It Feels Like Christmas” popped into my head. It would probably be a 6/8 ballad. Without being too precious, I added it to the To Write list in my phone. Safely archived, I promptly forgot about it.

I saw the title a year later and felt determined to finish it before my holiday cheer disappeared. So while visiting in Windsor, I sat at the family piano and recorded a Voice Memo work tape at 1am on December 26. Feeling satisfied, I played it for my mom and at an NSAI meeting in January, then forgot about it for another year.

This year, as Christmas time rolled around again, I was fully aware of the small motivation window to work on this song. So I started early; Patrick’s playlist in rotation after Thanksgiving, tree up and gifts wrapped by December 8. Finally, I got a pine scented candle and got to work recording a demo.

In the songwriting world, Christmas music is traditionally pitched in the spring and summer. That’s exactly what I intend to do in 2020. If it’s still on the shelf next year, maybe I’ll add some backing vocals, guitar, or celesta to further flesh it out. For now, I’m content with this demo as a basic representation of the song and a decent product of how my recording/mixing skills are coming along. I think I’ve finally got levels sorted out so this one won’t distort on your phone’s speakers.

If you like the song, here’s a lead sheet to help you learn it yourself. Some of the rhythms are simplified, so it’s nice and easy for beginners to read. I’d love to see cover videos! Please feel free to share it and make it your own. KM

  • When It Feels Like Christmas - demo
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When It Feels Like Christmas

When it feels like Christmas
There’s a chill on your nose
You put on your mittens and watch at the window
Patiently hoping it snows

When it feels like Christmas
There’s a buzz all around
Echoing carols with church bells and sleigh bells
Jingling their marvelous sound

Every December the world is made bright
As we remember that one holy night
A miracle child who gave us new light in the dark
There’s a warmth in your heart
That’s when it feels like Christmas

When it feels like Christmas
There are candles aglow
We pray at the table, shake hands with our neighbours
Telling the stories of old

Every December the world is made bright
As we remember that one holy night
A miracle child who gave us new light in the dark
There’s a warmth in your heart
That’s when it feels like Christmas

For one night we all unite to make memories
If we can keep tradition alive for centuries
Maybe we can keep our faith just as strong
And share the spirit of Christmas all year long

When it feels like Christmas
There’ll be joy through the land
Families and strangers of every nation
Side by side and hand in hand

Every December the world is made bright
As we remember that one holy night
A miracle child who gave us new light in the dark
There’s a warmth in your heart
That’s when it feels like Christmas

One thought on “When It Feels Like Christmas

  1. Laine says:

    So very much loved this song…..your such and amazing lady…..you write and sing so amazingly….

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