Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Video Christmas Card

Every year I try to write and record a Christmas song. This year was tougher than usual to find the time to get it all done, and there a 1,000 things I would do to fix it up if I had the time. But I don't, and I'd rather take a walk with Olive on this cold clear day than spend another couple of hours in my basement studio anyway.

For a free download of this song head on over to my ReverbNation site and click on the download button.

Click through to get the lyrics and to read an article I recently wrote about the process of writing this particular song.

For Your First Christmas
music/lyrics by richard popovic

Maybe it’s the promise of the falling snow,
The holly and the mistletoe
The trees of evergreen
But I believe there is a deeper truth,
How can I get it through to you,
What this time really means?

It’s when the world comes together and takes time to remember
The promise of peace on earth and goodwill to all
And these walls that keep us distant, they become non-existent
And this big old world it seems so small
Peace on earth, goodwill to all

Maybe you can feel it in the air,
The extra joy, the extra care
We show this time of year
And even though you are not even one year’s old
Find that feeling and take hold
It’s the secret to why this season’s held so dear

It’s when the world comes together and takes time to remember
The promise of peace on earth and goodwill to all
And these walls that keep us distant, they become non-existent
And this big old world it seems so small
Peace on earth, goodwill to all

The time will come, it won’t be long, when you join me in this song
And you pass the joy along

It’s when the world comes together and takes time to remember
The promise of peace on earth and goodwill to all
And these walls that keep us distant, they become non-existent
And this big old world it seems so small
Peace on earth, goodwill to all


Peace and Goodwill , All Year Long

For the past four or five years, each December has found me a bit stumped. Not over the usual things—the perfect gift, or what to cook for Christmas dinner, or exactly how big of a tree can I cram into my living room.  I get stuck on words—song lyrics to be exact. As a writing exercise I challenge myself to write a new Christmas song every December. Writing good song lyrics is challenging at any time of year but the holiday genre is especially tough because it is so difficult to come up with something original. As I stare at my blank notebook I grow more and more convinced that everything that can be said has been said.  Snowmen, trees, jingle bells, sleighs, presents, Santa, holly, the magic of winter snowstorms, etcetera (I limit myself to secular topics since I feel wholly unqualified to write anything religious). 


When the external details yield no fruit, it pays to look inward. How is the season different this time around? The obvious answer for me is that it is my daughter’s first Christmas. And there you have it. That’s the theme, one that hasn’t been done a thousand times and that will let me avoid overused clich├ęs (hopefully). With a theme in hand, I can move forward to the major ideas—what do I want to tell her about Christmas, what will be the main focus for a little girl not yet one year of age? It will not be the physical—sure, the presents and lights and ornaments will certainly command her attention, but they will not carry any meaning yet for her. What can she take away from her first Christmas?


To her, the immediate world must seem vast. But around this time of year, it gets smaller, as people come together, share traditions, and hopefully remember that peace and goodwill are not just Christmas card slogans. Though she cannot yet form words she is so perceptive and attuned to the feelings and mood around her, it truly is amazing. That’s what she can take away from her first Christmas. The feeling that we are all in this together, bound to one another by the fact that we share this world, this time and place. And while we so easily forget that for most of the year, the holiday season, at its best, is different. It’s a glimpse of what we can be when we remember that our common ground is much greater than our differences.


As we close out 2011 and head into 2012, this feeling will inevitably dissipate, no doubt quicker than usual. 2012 is an election year and there are entire business models built around exploiting our differences and minimizing our commonalities. Though we drink the same water, breathe the same air and depend on the same rain and sun and snow, there will be attacks on all of our shared experiences and our mutual dependency upon each other and upon our home, our Earth. It will not be an easy year to stay positive. But I hope I can teach my little daughter to try and carry a bit of that holiday sentiment with her all year long, to remember that we are at our best when we are working and walking together. And while that idea itself is not an original one, it is certainly worth revisiting. This year, and every year.


Happy Holidays to you and yours. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a song to finish.


4 comments:

  1. love your song...love your love of your daughter even more. olive is truly blessed!

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  2. @Maureen Kitson
    Thank you, we are all feeling pretty blessed these days. Merry Christmas.

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  3. What a beautiful song, Richard, and beautiful messages of "our commonalities" in your post. I am tearfully missing the east coast right now, and hope someday I'll be back out there.

    Thank you for your support this year! I was going to send you a Christmas card but no one got them this year. All you've done for me this year has made a huge difference, and I am very grateful for all of it. I hope to stay in touch, even if I'm not cranking any new bedrooms out for a while!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and Happy New Year, too!

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  4. @Tiffanie
    Thank you for the kind words Tiffanie. And I think you give me a bit too much credit---all I did was shine a little light on a great talent. Your work deserves to be seen.
    Merriest of Christmases to you and yours. And no worries, we'll keep the east coast in good shape until you make it back.

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