It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But for Dave Atkinson, it’s been looking that way for months.
The writer and broadcaster from P.E.I. resolved at the start of this this year to write one Christmas song a week.
So like an elf in a workshop of song, Atkinson has been sitting every week in a room which still has some of last year’s Christmas decorations up, attempting to compose the next Jingle Bells.
He said he started to think about the project many years ago, but that it wasn’t until last year when he was between books that he got it going.
“If you are a songwriter… the real retirement project is to get a Christmas song. Something that ends up aging, you know,” he said. “It comes out every year, becomes a favourite, but also becomes a little bit of a legacy. Because a pop song is here, it’s gone. Maybe it gets played on the oldies station later. But a Christmas song is just like this rare thing.
“So wouldn’t it be hilarious if … quality would be the product of quantity? I’m like the one million monkeys sitting at a million typewriters and just one of them happens to be the good one.”
‘What the heck did this guy do?’
Some of the songs he’s written for his 52 Christmas Project include I want socks for Christmas, How many days ’til Christmas, Boxing Day is the superior holiday and Coloured lights look like 1983 (in a good way).
They’re all posted on his website.
Atkinson said there was some interest in the project when he started, but that he knew going into it that it would probably die off in the middle of the year, when the last thing on people’s minds is the holiday season.
“I knew I would put this up and like no one would click on them,” he said. “But I thought success for me would be like on Dec. 2, somebody’s going to look there and say, ‘what the heck did this guy do?’ And then suddenly see 52 songs there.”
Atkinson said he explored different genres, too, though he was a a bit limited by the instruments he knows how to play.
“I have a pretty limited palette to paint with because I’m not the world’s greatest musician. Like, I got an ukulele and I got a guitar and I’m OK in the piano,” he said. “It was more of a tone thing.”
Some songs have a bit of a country twang. Other, more sombre songs were inspired by hymns.
He even wrote a sea shanty during the sea shanty craze earlier this year.
“Do not look it up. It is terrible,” he said.
The song is called An elf’s work is never done.
Atkinson will be performing some of the songs at a show called “A Very Davy Christmas,” which is scheduled for Dec. 12 at the Kings Playhouse theatre in Georgetown. Tickets are on now on sale.