Category Archives: Love Song

A World-Without-End Bargain

I don’t know what you did this year, but you must have been naughty, because you’re getting my Christmas song (listen below!). Though I tend to be a very private person, I granted a rare interview with myself—to myself—so that you might learn more about this seasonal ode.

Q: Okay, that stops right there.
A: What?
Q: Flowery language like “seasonal ode.”
A: What if I’m talking about a poinsettia? Wouldn’t flowery language be appropriate then? Even necessary?
Q: This is going to be a long interview.

On celebrity cameos…
Q: What are a few of your favorite things about “The Christmas After This”?
A: Hey, I like what you did there!
Q: I’m not a total grinch.
A: One of my favorite things about this song is that it contains celebrity voices.
Q: Such as?
A: Such as Betty White quoting Robert Browning.
Q: How did you manage that?
A: I have my ways.
Q: Don’t pretend I don’t know your ways! I’m aware of everything you think, say, or do.
A: There are fifteen celebrity voices in all.
Q: Any more answers to questions I never asked?

On fanfare…
A: Another of my favorite things about this song is that it opens with literal fanfare.
Q: A short and lively sounding of trumpets?
A: Yes. Not to toot my own horn.
Q: Are you saying that you didn’t play trumpet on the recording?
A: No.
Q: So, you did play trumpet on the recording?
A: No. I’m saying yes, I didn’t play trumpet on the recording.
Q: I’m glad we cleared that up.
A: I’m not good with wind instruments. I don’t have enough hot air, if you can believe that.
Q: I really can’t.
A: I tried to learn the flute, when I was a kid, but I was awful. I kept going to the lessons, though, because I liked the orange soda in the vending machine.
Q: I’m pretending not to know you.

On Christmas love songs…
Q: What is “The Christmas After This” about?
A: It’s about getting engaged at Christmas, to be married the following Christmas.
Q: So, it’s a love song.
A: I think all Christmas songs are love songs.
Q: How so?
A: They woo the perfect Christmas—which remains sweetly out of reach.
Q: What did I say about flowery language?
A: Sorry.
Q: Do you think getting married on Christmas would be romantic?
A: I do. Just family and close friends. Big red bows everywhere, and pinecones. Candles burning. It’s perfect because everyone’s already in a festive mood.
Q: What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
A: Eggnog!
Q: Do you make it yourself?
A: I buy it at the store—apologies to the purists out there.
Q: Brandy, rum, or whiskey?
A: Neither, nor, nor. I find that alcohol impairs the nogginess of the flavor. Though I’m not opposed to an eggnog martini, as history has shown.

On three kinds of choruses…
Q: As you were recording this song—
A: And thanks for not lifting a finger to help—
Q: I noticed you included three different kinds of choruses.
A: I didn’t know you could count that high.
Q: Can you elaborate?
A: I thought your feeble intellect would prevent you—
Q: About the kinds of choruses!
A: Well, the first is a spoken chorus that introduces the song and provides a running commentary.
Q: How about the second kind?
A: That’s a regular old pop chorus that repeats the song’s main message.
Q: You mean, something like, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah”?
A: Yes, but not that erudite.
Q: And the third kind?
A: It’s a choir-type chorus that offers an angelic counterpoint to my own terrible sound.
Q: Tell me more about the spoken chorus, which is something you don’t really see outside Greek or Elizabethan drama—perhaps with good reason.
A: It took me a while to figure out what the spoken chorus was doing. The song itself covers the marriage proposal, which takes place this Christmas. The spoken chorus spans from this Christmas to next Christmas, narrating from the engagement through the wedding ceremony.
Q: That’s almost interesting.
A: The spoken chorus is written in iambic tetrameter, if you must know—my God, you’re persistent!

On the Bard…
Where’s the Shakespeare?
A: Here, there, and everywhere.
Q: As usual.
A: The whole idea of waiting exactly a year to get married was lifted from Love’s Labour’s Lost. There are two direct quotes from that play in the song.
Q: Is it the line about snogging under the mistletoe?
A: Do you even know what “snogging” means?
Q: Hey, I ask the questions around here.
A: To me, the song’s spoken chorus is reminiscent, in purpose and tone, of the prologue in the play-within-the-play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Q: Congratulations. Maybe one person in the world knows what the heck you’re talking about.
A: Then at least I’ve reached another person.
Q: I was talking about you.
A: I picked up the word “glistering” from The Merchant of Venice.
Q: Sure, just keep going.
A: There’s the famous line, “All that glisters is not gold.” I love how “glister” seems to be a combination of “glitter” and “glisten.”
Q: I applaud your use archaic language that hasn’t been heard since the late sixteenth century and, even then, was outdated.
A: I’ll take your sarcasm as a compliment.
Q: It’s the closest you’re going to get.

On other influences…
Did you steal from anyone besides Shakespeare?
A: I once saw the comedian Gallagher smash a watermelon with a sledgehammer as part of his act.
Q: And that somehow inspired this song?
A: Not at all. What a strange question. But Christmas was a big influence. And music.
Q: Christmas and music. Can you be more specific?
A: Johnny Mathis is one of my favorite Christmas crooners. For the very last line of the song, I asked myself, “How would Johnny Mathis sing this?” I tried to channel his style.
Q: Were you successful?
A: I have no idea, but my dad once did Johnny Mathis’s taxes! That’s almost a tongue twister: “Mathis’s taxes.”
Q: Your father was an accountant?
A: No, a plumber.

“The Christmas After This” contains two sound effects, from

The Christmas After This


“The Christmas After This”



Christmas, “The First Noël,” “Deck the Halls,” Johnny Mathis, Greek and Elizabethan choruses, Love’s Labour’s Lost and other Shakespeare

F major

What I imagine Santa might say:

  • “This song is the musical equivalent of a lump of coal.”
  • “Frankly, I would have preferred an unspoken chorus.”
  • “I can’t believe I didn’t even get a mention.”
  • “Believe me, I’ve heard all the songs about Christmas, and let me tell you, this is one of them.”
  • “I’m a sucker for sleigh bells.”


All hark ye, park thee round the tree
To mark this merry comedy

Since we met
I’m in your debt
Now lend me your ear

Take my word
Let it be heard
How I need you here

Next Christmas
We’ll reminisce this
As both
Our troth
Do swear

The Christmas after this one
The Christmas after this, hon
The Christmas after this

A halo round a moonless stone
A glistering to gild your own

Take this ring
We’ll do our thing
For just one more year

Take a chance
On our romance
Forge a new frontier

Next Christmas
We’ll reminisce this
As both
Our troth
Do swear

The Christmas after this one
The Christmas after this, hon
The Christmas after this

An old guitar, romantic jargon
To seal a world-without-end bargain

[Hummed verse]

Take this song
And dream along
With your balladeer

[Instrumental pre-chorus and chorus]

A dress of wool, a suit of lace (“That’s backwards!”)
An oath beside the fireplace (“Egad, that’s hot!”)
Some nog for toasting, “Cheerio!”
A snog beneath the mistletoe

Take my hand
And it is planned
Yea, our day is near

Take my heart
We’ll never part
Nay, nor never fear

Next Christmas
We’ll reminisce this
As both (as both)
Our troth (our troth)
Do swear

I will be thine
Take all that’s mine

The Christmas after this one
The Christmas after this, hon
The Christmas after this

The Christmas after this kiss
The Christmas after this bliss
The Christmas after this