A Creative Christmas Songwriting Experience

We needed dental floss to make our tree presentable. Creativity counts!

‘Tis the season to decorate for Christmas! My family and I will be trekking out to a tree farm this Saturday to find our Christmas tree, and we’ll be making ornaments and decorating the tree this weekend. We’ve already got lights up on the house (which my little girl cannot stop talking about!)

I am pretty excited about Christmas this year, and I am grateful for the time I’ll have to spend with my family. The holidays can be quite stressful, though, especially  when you’re missing loved ones, or when you’re trying to find meaningful things to do as a family when you can’t quite match the ideals portrayed by Hallmark. Sometimes it takes some creativity and spontaneity to get through a season that has too much pressure to be perfect.

So, in the midst of holiday preparations, why not stretch your creative muscles with a songwriting exercise? This is something you can do on your own or with the whole family – kids and grandkids included – and it can work well with your loved ones who have dementia or other cognitive challenges.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Start with “Deck the Hall.” You know that song, right? With the fa-la-la-la-las? Sing it through a time or two to remember the tune.
  2. Write a new verse about the decorating and Christmas preparations you are doing. Don’t worry about being a lyrical genius – we’re going for a personalized version here, not a top 40 hit. There is no pressure to be picture-perfect here, just an aim to try something new.

Here’s what a new verse could look like:

Decorate the house with lights and wreaths
Fa la la la la la la la la!
Put the Christmas tree up and hang the ornaments
Fa la la la la la la la la!
String some popcorn and put it on the tree
Fa la la la la la la la la!
Don’t forget the star on top
Fa la la la la la la la la!

(Underlined words are newly composed.)

That’s it! You could make up as many new verses as you like. If you want, write them down for posterity, or make a video to share with family and friends on YouTube. And don’t underestimate how precious the sound of your own voice is. This could be a special gift for your loved ones for years to come.

You could try a similar song re-write with many other Christmas songs. “O Christmas Tree” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” have worked well for me and my clients.

Okay, now that you’ve done some creative exercise, maybe it’s time for a Christmas cookie?

P.S. If you do write a new verse to this song and want to share with the world, I’d love to hear how it goes! Please post in the comments section below.

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