A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

How to write a Christmas Song

I’ve noticed that a number of people who read my blog recently found me by putting in a search query on the search engine, asking how to write a Christmas song. They found me because of a blog I wrote back in August, saying that was the time you needed to write it.

That blog covered lots of topics you can write about, but I just wanted to add one for those of you who are now inspired. It’s too late to record something to go into a Christmas stocking unless you are burning it yourself, which is a good idea. You could also send a song as a Christmas present to your friends, family and fans as an MP3 Musicgram, which is a cool idea. This site allows you to upload songs and send them to a friend. I’ve tried it myself and it was very cool.

Anyway, I just wanted to add one very important point. If you disect the songs that populate the hit charts, you will find a major difference between the average singer songwriter song and the hits. That is that a hit song usually has a happy theme, like “I’ve got a new guy/girl and I want to tell the world.” “Now that I’ve found you”. “I’m in love”.

Many singer songwriters write about the one that got away and are being what Ralph Murphy calls the typical singer songwriter, a self indulgent writer who writes to get things off their chest (which is fine if that’s what you are after), but most people want to listen to songs that are uplifting and what more uplifting is there than “I’ve got you and that’s all I need for Christmas”. Think about the songs that you have on your stereo or listen to on the radio on Christmas Day to set the mood.

Sometimes you can do something a little more melancholy with a Christmas tone, but it probably won’t become a popular Christmas song. There are ways to add some special sentiment. For example in my song Another Stretch in Iraq, there is a mention as follows (about the tradition of sending miniature Christmas trees to the troops):

‘It’s Christmas time and the dessert is cold

My life is with the Army if the truth be told

They’ve got my back

My Mom and Dad sent a little Christmas Tree

They said that they were prayin for the boys and me……..’

Check out this list at Lyrics Vault for the top Christmas Songs of All Time and you will see that they are pretty much all uplifting happy songs full of Christmas Cheer. Of course there is a place for sad songs, but if you want to write a hit, write one in a major key with a lively beat and chuck a few sleigh bells in the chorus.

If you really want to be a little melancholy, you can still turn it into positive. Live Aid’s Do They Know Its Christmas did a great job of telling the sad story and what people could do about it into a happy one. It is just as popular today as when it came out in 1985.

watch?v=stNGHiscETo

Now is the time to write your Christmas song

It’s not unusual around November to get opportunities to do something with your Christmas song, but if you haven’t written and recorded at least your demo it’s going to be too late. I don’t know about you but listening to Snoopy chasing the Red Baron anything more than once a year is more than I can take. So how about writing one now and be ready for the opportunity.

Christmas songs don’t have to be all about Jingle Bells, there are many poignant songs about Christmas these days. Songs about please bring dad home for Christmas or, well here I some ideas to get you started. How about trying one of these as an exercise?

  • Christmas Love
  • Christmas Stress (Think about all those people doing last minute Christmas shopping and how happy they look, not)
  • Christmas Shopping
  • I don’t know what to buy you for Christmas
  • All I want for Christmas is a new girlfrind/boyfriend
  • Christmas Blues (I actually have a CD of famous Blues artists performing Christmas Blues, I can’t be the only person who bought it)
  • Family Christmas
  • Christmas on the beach (that’s what a lot of us do in New Zealand and Australia)
  • I love/hate Christmas shopping
  • My Christmas gift to you is me
  • I didn’t want you for Christmas I wanted a new guitar
  • What Christmas means to me
  • My gift to you is this song

That should give you a few ideas for a start. The song doesn’t have to be all about Christmas either. My Christmas song is called Another Stretch in Iraq and you can hear it on my MySpace page.

Oh and a little favour. If you thought this was useful or you liked my song, I would really appreciate it if you would click on the Demand It Competition banner on my MySpace page and vote for me in the Eventfull Competition, I really could use the help:)

If you found this useful and you know of anyone else who i a songwriter and could use some ideas, how about sending them a link?

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