A New Christmas Song for the Age of Social Media

Last week, as a fun task for some of my music students, I decided to have the kids compose their own Christmas song. “Brilliant!” I thought, “They’ll love it and they’ll get practice writing and harmonizing melodies. I’m a genius!”

Then I realized I’d have to come up with lyrics. After all, if I gave them the words to “O Tannenbaum” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, they’d almost certainly stick close to the original melody.

So I set to the task of writing lyrics. I hate doing that. I suck at it. So much so, I almost gave up on the whole idea. What could I write about? Donkeys and snow and mistletoe? Kids don’t care about that stuff. And then, after an hour full of apps pinging left and right in the room and constantly telling kids to put their phones away, inspiration struck.

The result is a little ditty I like to call “Christmas on my Phone”. Here are the lyrics:

#Happy #Merry 
#Good Cheer!
The holidays are coming
#Happy New Year!
Twitter's singing, Snapchat's pinging
Youtube's aglow,
Emojis bright and merry mean
It's Christmas on my phone.

Skype ain't ringing, Facebook's minging,
Instagram just sucks.
Hackers hacked my Itunes account
Now I ain't got no bucks!


#Happy #Merry etc.

I could say the kids loved the lyrics but, if I’m completely honest, it’s more correct to say they had strong reactions to them. Upon reading the words, one boy said, “It’s like looking into the abyss. And the abyss is looking back.”

Heck, if I can write a Christmas song that causes a 15-year-old to spontaneously paraphrase Nietzsche, well, I consider that a good day at the office.

My experiment wasn’t a complete success, though. One girl figured out that the lyrics fit nicely to the tune of Once in Royal David’s City. She had to add two lines to the middle section to make it work, and came up with #TeeHeeHee #HoHoHo. Seeing as she also wrote her own accompaniment, I decided not to fail her. How’s that for Christmas spirit?

With classes done, now, I still found the lyrics lingering in my head. So I sat down at the piano yesterday and quickly came up with my own tune for the song. I made a quick–and very, very unprofessional–recording for your listening pleasure (my apologies for the mistakes!). Enjoy! And Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay!


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