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How “The Christmas Song” will help you improve your writing

What’s your favourite Christmas lyric – or song?

I get tired of Christmas songs this time of year – yet I never tire of The Christmas Song.

You know… ” Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Christmas sentiments have been said many times – many ways  – but this song really “gets inside me” and is so real because of the power of the sensory language – appealing to many senses.

nat Christmas song

I live in Australia where it’s summer at Christmas time – yet I fondly remember my North American December-January Winter “Christmas” experiences.

This song brings back those memories because the lyrics trigger sense memories – sight and smells and sounds and the feeling of cold.

Just look at how many sensory triggers are packed into the first verse.

The first verse leads with senses and leads with a line that is visual and warm and filled with smell (and the promise of  taste).

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
 (sight, sound and smell)

Jack Frost nipping at your nose
 (feel of cold)

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
 (sound – and sight)

And folks dressed up like Eskimos ( sight and the feel of yourself being dressed in warm clothes)

and so I offer you this simple advice – when your write about something – jot down what comes to mind:

what does it smell like?

what does it sound like?

what does it taste like?

We often go straight to what something looks like – which is fine – but also include other senses! Consider “leading” with more “primitive” sense such as smell and taste.

word nerd CU

I work as a writing teacher – and I encourage writers (even in serious business) to use creative techniques and creative writing to connect with audiences.

Powerful description –  helps you say to your readers – “Hey, I know what it’s like! I can relate to YOUR experience.”

Sensory triggers help us connect with our readers (or audiences for live presentations).

Powerful description helps build a sense of truth and trust and connection!

TB words

The story goes that the lyric writer Mel Torme actually wrote these lyrics in sweltering heat and was trying to keep cool by thinking cool.

He scribbled just a few words that came to mind – chestnuts roasting… Jack Frost… choirs etc.

From those notes – this wonderful lyric was born

I’m not saying the story is true – but that’s “the myth”.

Here’s a link to the clip on youtube.

The song has been covered many times and many ways – but here’s the Nat King Cole version.

Enjoy! and I encourage you, as you enjoy Christmas, to jot down YOUR sensory experiences from YOUR CHRISTMAS season.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably also enjoy these writing tips:

1.Release The Verb

2.How nouns can save your butt!

3.Use visual language

4.Parallel Structure

TB headline technique

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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.



tony biancotti


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti


One comment on “How “The Christmas Song” will help you improve your writing

  1. efangelist
    December 4, 2014

    Reblogged this on Likeable Lawyer and commented:

    It’s that time of year again. You are probably getting tired of hearing Christmas music – but THIS brilliant Christmas song can help you improve your writing and your marketing and your persuasion. These lyrics “get inside” you because they trigger sense memories that make you connect with the song and think “that is SO TRUE!”. Also appealing to the senses make the message memorable.

    I encourage you to really study the lyrics (especially that first verse) that appeal to our sense of smell, the feel of the nipping cold, the sound of carols and the sight of people dressed up like Eskimos. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case for the power of these sensory lyrics!

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