Childhood Memories of Christmas Music – Behind the Lyrics of the Song
Childhood Memories of Christmas Music evokes happy feelings of family, laughter and coming together. Behind the lyrics and song, The 12 Days of Christmas, not only comes from characters, pages and art from the Unicorn Jazz series, they are a reflection of emotions and feelings.
Childhood Memories of Christmas Music
By Lisa Caprelli
Growing up in a Hispanic family, in the borderland town of El Paso, Texas, we had humble beginnings. My mom raised five kids on her own. My grandparents were always there to make our childhood better.
Christmas time meant a break from school, a time to connect and love. Oh, the tastes of pumpkin pie, tamales and traditional Mexican food.
Music was always around us. Grandma’s brother, Tio Julio, would play the piano traditionally at family holiday gatherings. Even though he was blind, that did not stop him from making the house come alive with music and songs!
The house would come alive even more: kids running around, laughing, playing … I truly thought every American household grew up with such connection.
There is no greater feeling than love and belonging. We had lots of love around us and the holidays made it even more magical. There was no stopping to think about, “Oh, how we are poor.” We had so much fun, laughter and family – it seemed to be all you needed.
Watch the official music video on YouTube.
Creating Stories that Tie in Childhood Memories of Christmas Music
Last year, I started writing daily poems about what 12 days of Christmas would mean as a child. I am thrilled that December 2020, we brought the ideas and vision together in the official 12 Days of Christmas Song Music Video with 24 kids singers/actors/Broadway stars. These are talented kids, simply put!
Below, I share witih you, what each verse means as written in – the 12 Days of Christmas!
On the 1st day of Christmas …
- Write a cool haiku (5 syllables)
- Sing a carol, a classic (7 syllables)
- Your friends will join you! (5 syllables)
The first verse is a haiku! Haikus are cool and easy poems that almost anyone can do. It’s a simple formula of five syllables, seven syllables, then five. See! How easy is that.
In 2021, Unicorn Jazz – Ocean Animals Book, shares some really cool ocean animals. In Ocean Animals, each colorful artsy page (thanks to illustrator, Davey Villalobos) describes each ocean animal with a haiku. I wrote it to also be a guessing game for a parent or teacher to teach children interesting facts about the ocean.
My husband, Dr. Chris Herzig, happens to have a degree in Marine Biology. I asked him to partner with me to write OCEAN ANIMALS and we cannot wait to share it with the world. “The oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water, so it’s important to teach children about the importance of ocean life,” says Dr. Chris.
On the 2nd day of Christmas …
- Jump it’s for play
- Hop to the beat
- Move those hips
- Shout: ¡Olé!
It’s almost impossible to dance and not feel happy! This verse is descriptive of kids enjoying music. In the Latin community, moving your hips with dance called a cumbia, was popular in my family parties.
Cumbia refers to a number of musical rhythm and folk dance traditions of Latin America, generally involving musical and cultural elements from American Indians, Africans enslaved during colonial times and Europeans.
On the third day of Christmas …
- As you wander in the snow
- Bee Happy
- Bee Silly
- With Your Tongue – catch some snow!
Not many people grow up with December and snow. As a child, we always enjoyed the rare once or few days that it did snow.
If it did snow, we were sure to bundle up, get out, create snowball fights and enjoy the snow.
As a mother, the first time my son, Trey experienced snow, he stuck his tongue out and wanted to feel it on his tongue.
On the fourth day of Christmas …
- Write a letter in a pun
- Say, you’re happy:
- “Write back!”
- Put it in the mail and RUN!
Not many people take the time to write letters by hand because of our fast paced technology world we live in.
When I speak to children at schools, I often tell them how precious it is to receive a handwritten note. We encourage writing, as does Woof the Crow, in Bee-ing Happy With Unicorn Jazz and Friends.
On the 5th day of Christmas …
- Play a Game with Family!
- Guess The Thing
- Grab a clue
- You can win Happily
Playing board games is a fun way to connect and be present with kids. As a child, I could play Monopoly for hours on end, with my cousin, Missy. I am very competitive but I have fun playing board games with kids and adults.
We created GUESS THE THING GAME SHOW as part of THE THING I DO show (new series coming in 2021 on Amazon TV).
How do we do it? We find a mom or kid (with parent permission) to get 3 kids together via a pre-recorded Zoom meeting. Trezekke puppet has fun asking questions, while kids chime in with their spoons.
Fun and learning are always involved.
On the 6th day of Christmas …
- Make a house of Gingerbread!
- Add Crayons
- And Gummy bears in
- Orange, Green and RED
On the 7th day of Christmas …
- Make a masterpiece that shines
- Be Creative – It’s worth it
- Have fun
- And make it RHYME!
What family tradition do you make during the holidays? Whether it’s handmade ornaments, art, pies, oh my, what fun it is to create with your family!
I added in more interest with writing in this verse. A masterpiece can be anything that you put time, love and energy into.
Earth without art … is eh!
On the 8th day of Christmas …
- Close your eyes – imagine New
- Reflect on the vision
- Believe! It can be You!
Whether you believe in Christmas, fairytales, or can escape in a good old-fashioned book – there is always a way to VISION fun, happy moments ahead!
Probably most of my childhood nights, I would lay in my bed imagining stories. I could get lost in hours in picture books.
I hope that this holiday season – you DREAM BIG. Be grateful for the goodness and kindness in your life.
Believe it can be YOU!
On the 9th day of Christmas …
- Who needs a HUG?
- Hold merrily…
- Don’t tell you’ve got a bug!
We are wired for love and connection. Even though social distancing is upon is in 2020 .. it does not mean we can’t cuddle up and hug your kids — and often!
And if you’ve got a son that likes to bring in some critters, every now and again … how fun!
On the 10th day of Christmas …
- Bundle up! Because It’s time!
- As you’re sharing the moment
- Shout out: Here is my slime!
This was a silly verse to share about kids putting on their jackets, gloves and staying warm. All in the name of fun!
On the 11th day of Christmas …
- Find a choir to clap & cheer!
- Put pajamas on..
- Leave cookies
- Santa’s reindeer are near!
Christmas with my family means enjoying the spirit of song. My Aunt Rita, often got us kids together to go Christmas – caroling door to door. We also enjoyed the church choir.
Like many, baking and leaving cookies for Santa are a tradition for many families. We could not wait to wake up to presents.
On the 12th day of Christmas …
- Eat a meal with candlelight
- Tell jokes
- Play songs
- Enjoy all through the night!
Preparing a holiday feast at Grandma’s meant, music, jokes, fun and song. It is not any wonder why Christmas-time is one of the most precious memories of my childhood!
WHY CHILDREN’S HOSPITALS?
I grew up volunteering from the ages of 10-18 in local hospitals in my hometown of El Paso, Texas. My sister, Ruth and I would find 10 cents to take the city bus to the hospital. We would read to the kids or find ways to help at the hospital. We got to work with doctors, nurses and admin and realized how much volunteer time is necessary to help sick / poor people.
We didn’t have the Internet and we wanted to help others. It helped us to stay busy and purposeful.
My sister grew up to be a nurse. I am grateful that I married a doctor — who now also helps our Unicorn Jazz community — and believes in acts of service, too.
I even got to help older people. My mom was a nurse’s aid. She took us with her to work and we volunteered sometimes 40 hours a week so we would not be bored and to play with the “older people.”
VISION AND COMMUNITY
Anything is possible with vision and direction. The Pandemic of 2020 would come and change so many lives, including my own.
I think people, like the artists, musicians, authors and many other creative people were hit the hardest this year. We have found a way to come together, regardless of circumstances and challenges because our voices and purpose are meaningful.
Watch the official music video on YouTube.
I am grateful that each child in the video, gave your time, talent and voice to a cause we can all be proud of. ~Lisa Caprelli