Working on any new songs for the holidays?

TimWilson

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Staff member
UU+
UU VIP
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
2,079
Reaction score
7,795
Location
Kaneohe, Oahu
I don't celebrate Christmas. My family did, but even as a kid, I tended to opt out. No big deal on my part. It's just not for me. Not to say that there aren't some trappings I enjoy, like the odd Christmas movie now and again (Die Hard counts, right?), and yeah, a couple of the tunes are okay just as tunes.

It happens that in the last two days, I've come across a couple of delightful instrumental arrangements that some of you might enjoy. I certainly enjoyed them both, even as a non-celebrant!

The first is from UU co-founder @Aldrine Guerrero, with additional accompaniment and video editing from our other UU co-founder @anaka (Aaron Nakamura), a fingerstyle arrangement of Elvis's Blue Christmas.



The other is another sparkling gem from our own Sammy "Sparkles" Turton, @4stringboy, an arrangement of Silent Night ALL WITH HARMONICS, played on his signature 4SB tenor from Flight.



Note that Sammy will be leading a Festive Harmonics Workshop on Sunday, December 3, where similar fun shall be had. Details here.

While I won't be learning either of these myself for reasons I've already mentioned, I'll certainly be listening to both of these again.

It made me wonder, though -- whether you celebrate any holidays this time of year or not, are you working on anything festive or seasonal? Maybe for a concert, maybe for a family celebration, or just for yourself? Tell us which song(s), your plans for sharing it, and maybe when you're ready, post it here!
 
I am long past listening to Christmas music, just tired of hearing it. However, playing and singing it in a group is altogether different. We are in the middle of our Senior Care Center "tour." I play more than I sing because most are not in a friendly key for my limited range, but I try anyway. This is the first time I've ever actually tried to play and sing Christmas music.

The playlist is a 1-hour presentation. We do it in reverse order (25->2) with Silent Night at the end, and finish by repeating the first verse acapella. The rewards far outnumber our mistakes :)

Page Title
2 Auld Lang Syne
3 Blue Christmas
4 Chipmunk Song
5 Deck the Hall
7 Frosty The Snowman
10 Here Comes Santa Claus
11 Holly Jolly Christmas
12 No Place Like Home For the Holiday
14 Jingle Bells
15 Jolly Old St. Nicholas
16 Let It Snow!
18 Nuttin' for Christmas
19 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
20 Santa Claus is Coming to Town
21 Silver Bells
24 Up On the Rooftop
25 Winter Wonderland
308 Silent Night (in G)
 
Last edited:
I’m pretty secular but love some Christmas music. Working on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Good King Wenceslas, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
 
I'm also not a huge fan of traditional Christmas music, but I just started working on an instrumental arrangement of "Walking in the Air' from the 1980s animated film, "The Snowman". To be honest, I've never heard the song before (or seen the movie) but I found a nice Low G version from "Ukulele Time" (Yuji, from Vancouver, Canada). I'm a patron of his site, so I have access to the music and audio. Unfortunately, it's locked down so I can't share it here, but if I manage to record an acceptable version, I'll post a video here. It's a very pretty song...I hope I can do it justice!
 
Playing a Christmas dinner gig with a ukulele group at a Retirement home on Monday, so have a bunch of Christmas songs. I'm not a Christian but I like playing these songs - brings back memories of when I was a kid. Most of the group are residents there.
 
Last edited:
I admit that the first time I ever heard this song was in the movie "Lethal Weapon", which apparently has made its way on to some lists of the all time best American Christmas movies (along with "Die Hard"). There are lots of ukulele arrangements out there, but all of them are more difficult than your traditional Christmas carols.
 
I don’t love Christmas, but family and church friends do, so I go along. I would love to learn Los Peces en el Rio as done by the Gipsy Kings, but probably not ready for that yet. I may work out a finger style version of Silent Night. Lo How A Rose and Coventry Carol are beautiful old hymns that I would like to work out, but I can’t even keep up with the Seasons of the Ukulele right now… maybe I should start prepping something for Christmas for that. 🙂
 
Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Jim Beloff’s C/ C6 arrangement is very good. My primary challenges are the 3443 C+ and deciding where I can work some 12th fret harmonics into the tempo.

EDIT - I remain mildly surprised at not seeing an online arrangement of that tune by “the other Jim” (Carrey).
 
Last edited:
I play quite a few from memory, but this year, I've been working on a couple of songs with some great changes. Nat King Cole's fantastic The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), and Judy Garland's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Lots of extended jazzy chords.
 
I'm also not a huge fan of traditional Christmas music, but I just started working on an instrumental arrangement of "Walking in the Air' from the 1980s animated film, "The Snowman". To be honest, I've never heard the song before (or seen the movie) but I found a nice Low G version from "Ukulele Time" (Yuji, from Vancouver, Canada). I'm a patron of his site, so I have access to the music and audio. Unfortunately, it's locked down so I can't share it here, but if I manage to record an acceptable version, I'll post a video here. It's a very pretty song...I hope I can do it justice!
I love that song, it's beautiful. I may have to re-patron him again, he's got amazing arrangements and he's so productive!
 
I don’t love Christmas, but family and church friends do, so I go along. I would love to learn Los Peces en el Rio as done by the Gipsy Kings, but probably not ready for that yet. I may work out a finger style version of Silent Night. Lo How A Rose and Coventry Carol are beautiful old hymns that I would like to work out, but I can’t even keep up with the Seasons of the Ukulele right now… maybe I should start prepping something for Christmas for that. 🙂
I am working on Coventry Carol, Personent Jodie and What Child Is This/Greensleeves in hopes of maybe being functional enough for Dec 17. I am also probably going to work on some pieces from Ondrej's Carols from the World for Two Ukuleles

 
Last year Ukulele Nick shared his Christmas ukulele jazz book on his patreon (which I highly recommend by the way. Technically his arrangements are for linear tuning but I play them all on high g and most of them work really well)

The Christmas Song is one of my favourites. Actually I’m grateful to this thread for reminding me to revisit it, if there’s one thing I really can’t stand it’s Christmas music after Christmas, so I’ve only got about three and a half weeks to enjoy it!

Here’s a link (I hope!) I don’t know whether you need to sign up to Nick’s patreon to access it:

 
Last night I spent a little time trying that hardy perennial, Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody. Nothing particularly fancy, but a very pleasing slide from D to Dsus⁴ and back.

 
I usually play some tunes during the season for fun. I lean toward the jazzy standards or those that might be considered part of the American songbook. Last year I worked up this one by jazz great John Pizzarelli. A nice swinging tune. I'll have to pull that one out again

 
I personally don't give a rip about listening to Christmas music, but a lot of ukulele players enjoy it. We're working on newer, easier arrangements of 21 popular sing and strum songs for our library workshop beginners. We took out all the "hard" chords, but will teach them not to avoid any of the chords they've been taught this year. We even plan to have a bassist there!
I do miss my trio, the "Mother Pluckers", which used to do instrumental carols for 3 ukuleles, out of the book, "Christmas Carols for Ukulele Orchestra".
The Ladies of Uke are playing Sunday eve in our local Botanical Gardens for its presentation "Holiday Lights". About one third of the songs are Christmas tunes.
 
Top Bottom