‘Coming down the chim-uh-knee:’ 83-year-old’s Christmas song finally made it on the radio
HOUSTON — Ho ho ho,
He he he,
Coming down the chim-uh-knee
This little Christmas ditty might not sound familiar yet, but 83-year-old Johnny Gondesen sure hopes it will soon.
The former country band frontman wrote the song “Christmas Is Here” for his children way back in 1965. This week, fulfilling a lifelong dream, the Texan heard his own song on Houston radio.
Next up? World domination.
“My goal is to get the song all over the world,” Gondesen told CNN. “I would like all the children, especially at Christmastime, to be able to hear it and learn how to sing it.”
“Christmas Is Here” is a catchy, jangly tune, backed by sleigh bells and jolly laughter. Gondesen’s hopeful it’ll be a welcome dose of holiday nostalgia.
“It isn’t like something you hear nowadays,” he said. “It’s got the sound of that age to it.”
“Christmas Is Here” hits the airwaves
So how’d a 50-year-old song finally get its due?
His family made sure of it.
Gondesen still remembers his children ogle at Christmas trees — they’d say “Ho ho ho,” he’d counter, “He he he” — then staying up until 3 a.m penning the song for them.
“We’d sing it every place we went,” he said.
He recorded it and passed out free copies of the 45 record to friends in their neighborhood, but it seemed destined to stay within the Gondesens’ circle.
That was until 2014 when his children and grandchildren shot a homemade video for the song, starring Gondesen as a dancing Santa. They implored fans to buy it on iTunes — and “make our grandpa feel famous.”
Gondesen’s Christmas wish made it all the way up to CNN affiliate KTRK, where, just last month, he strummed a few lines of the song on air. That’s where a radio station in Houston heard the earworm and invited Gondesen to the studio to play on air for the very first time.
Gondesen’s son, Johnny Gondesen Jr., said he thinks the song can grow even bigger — becoming as ubiquitous as “Baby Shark.”
“I think Dad’s song can be a staple,” he said. “There’s something innocent about that song — it reminds you of when you were a child.”