The Time Has Come for Me to Cash in with a Money-Printing Christmas Song
I am going to write a holiday classic for YOUR city.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately.
That’s not even really a thing can decide to do or not do this time of year; it’s everywhere you go. You can’t walk into a grocery store, shopping mall or off-track betting parlor without having your ears blasted by jingling bells, drumming little boys and cold outside-babies. I can’t fight it, and if I did, I’d surely lose.
Sure, I might have some strong opinions—like that the Chipmunks’ albums are an unspeakable atrocity, or that “Last Christmas” is a great piece of ‘80s kitsch that loses any entertainment value when covered by contemporary artists—but overall, I’m accepting of the genre.
Two of the songs I’ve heard in the heaviest rotation the past few years are Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime”. They’re perfectly fine songs, and I like them both well enough—but what fascinates me about them is how much money they bring in annually for their respective creators. Carey and McCartney are two of the most popular and successful recording artists of all time, but these simple seasonal ditties—each claimed to have been written in under an hour—reportedly make up the largest portion of their annual incomes by far.
This led me to a realization.
I’m a fool for trying to create meaningful creative work year-round. I mean, sure, maybe I’ll never make anything with the lasting artistic impact of Revolver or Daydream, but who cares? That’s a sucker’s game. No, I need my own Wonderful Christmastime, an evergreen cash-cow that’ll earn me royalty checks in perpetuity.
It’s time that I swing for the fences.
Now, I may not have the musical talent that Carey or McCartney do—I peaked at fourth-chair clarinet in 6th-grade band—but I am a capable lyricist with a clear and craven vision. I’m writing a Christmas song for you, and it’s all about your town.
“But Scott, my town isn’t that big, how are you going to make Christmas millions recording a song about Tulsa or wherever it is that I live?”
Ah, but here’s the brilliant part.
Everyone thinks that their hometown is unique and special: it’s got the worst drivers, the most aggressive squirrels, and hey—if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes, it’ll change! I’m going to write one song that appeals to this universal sense of hometown pride—and with a few minor tweaks, I can franchise it out anywhere and everywhere, just like those people who make ads for personal injury attorneys.
I’ll just need you to fill in the blanks.
There’s Nowhere That’s Like Here’s Like at Christmas
music, lyrics and wild animal handling by Scott Hines
Touched down at [your airport code here] on a cold December night That [familiar feature of said airport] was such a welcome sight Was on the road all autumn, gone for Halloween and Thanksgiving But to be away at Christmas? My friend, that just ain't living. I've flown from Sydney to Toronto, Osaka to Belize Still there's nowhere that I'd rather be this frigid Christmas Eve [chorus] It's Christmastime in [name of place], and everybody's merry We'll go downtown to see the lights, it won't be all that scary [main thoroughfare in town]'s all lit up, shop windows decorated And I just think this city is ideally located I've been all around the world, and one place is the best There's nowhere just like here's like at Christmas. It's true we've had some hard times, since [former major employer] shut down But like [widely popular ex-mayor who is now dead] said, this is my kind of town We'd go down to [department store that closed decades ago], I'd sit on Santa's lap You can't go to [city you have a possibly one-sided rivalry with] and do a thing like that Now, [local weather person] says it doesn't look like we'll get snow But the weather here's unpredictable, just like everybody knows [chorus] It's Christmastime in [name of place], and everybody's full of song We'll go downtown to see the lights, it won't take very long [main thoroughfare in town]'s all lit up, bedecked in red and green I hear that they've got the sidewalks swept up all nice and clean I've been all around the world, and one place is the best There's nowhere just like here's like at Christmas. We've been through it all, had our fair share of tears The [local sports team] haven't won it all in nearly [number in tens] years The [name of library] is sinking, 'cause they didn't weigh the books And those folks at [out-of-town corporation that purchased local company years ago] are all a bunch of crooks Our potholes are uniquely big, our drivers uniquely bad But we've still got the best [food locals pride themselves on] anyone's ever had [chorus] It's Christmastime in [name of place], and everybody's on the double We'll go downtown to see the lights, it won't be too much trouble [main thoroughfare in town]'s all lit up, jingle bell dogs are barking I hope we don't have too much trouble finding parking I've been all around the world, and one place is the best There's nowhere just like here's like at Christmas. "If you ain't been here lately," the cabbie said, "you're in for a surprise" The [one district that has been revitalized] district's been totally revitalized They've got a fancy food hall, funky murals on all the buildings I hear that's where [one local celebrity that everyone embraces] has a condominium They close down [street] each year for the [annual event] festival Spring's great here, summer and fall too, but one season's best of all [chorus] It's Christmastime in [name of place], and everybody's full of cheer We'll go downtown to see the lights, just like we did last year [main thoroughfare in town]'s all lit up, hearts are filled with glee We'll stay in the car but we'll slow down as we drive by the tree I've been all around the world, and one place is the best There's nowhere just like here's like at Christmas. As we pulled off at [downtown exit], the wind blew extra cold [historic family-owned candy shop] was closed up tight, their candy canes all sold I looked up and snow began to fall on my beloved city As it fell, even the [that one mid-century office tower that everyone thinks is ugly] building looked kind of pretty It's the perfect place, the perfect time, for Santa's introduction I just hope he doesn't get hung up in [road that's frequently under construction] construction 'cause there's nowhere just like here's like at Christmaaaaaaaaaaas [outro, maybe throw in some horns]
I know you’ve got answers to fill in those blanks. If you’re feeling festive, please share your filled-in versions in the comments!
—Scott Hines (@actioncookbook)