How to Write a Holiday Song [Saint Patrick’s Day song example]

As songwriters, sometimes we are asked, or sometimes
inspired to write songs for holidays, celebrations, current
events, birthdays, etc. Is writing lyrics for these type of
songs different than for others? Yes, and in some ways they
are actually easier, if you know how. in this Saint Patrick’s
Day song example we will learn how.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown. Saint Patrick’s Day song example

First, the secret is in the list. These occasions usually
have a number of concrete images that we associate with
them. For a holiday, for instance, we could list all the
things that we associate with that holiday.

For a Saint Patrick’s Day song, for example, I began with a
list of every image I could find related to this holiday and
Irish cultural, and expanded upon it with some Google

green land
folk music
Irish stew
Beer (Guinness)
Irish dance
leprechauns (pot of gold, rainbow, 3 wishes, etc.)
luck of the Irish (Irish saying)
Blarney Stone
red hair
The fighting Irish (Notre Dame football)
Top of the morning to you (Irish saying)
May the road rise up to meet you… (Irish prayer)
Galway bay

The next task was to choose between specific or general

Specific: Pick just one item, a shamrock, for instance, and
find a unique angle to describe it. This would work well for
a Christmas song because there are so many of them to
compete with you need to find a unique niche, like in the
song “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”

General: Weave as many of the items as you can into a story.
Since there are not a lot of Saint Patrick’s Day songs, I
chose the the general approach.

Then, I wrote as many verses as I could, weaving these
images together with some rhymes. I ended up with about
twelve verses.

After that, I condensed them down to six verses and a
bridge, sometimes combining several verses into one while
keeping stronger lines and deleting weaker ones. (Note:
never completely delete the lines, you may need them later
somewhere else in the song.)

Finally, I had to make sure the story developed from verse
to verse, which took some more shifting around of lines.

I just posted the final Saint Patrick’s Day song on a new
Youtube channel. You can check it out here to get ideas for
your own special occasion songs. And feel free to SUBSCRIBE
to this channel, as I will be posting more songwriting examples here:

Saint Patrick’s Day song

Note: I also had to write a catchy melody, create a hook for
the chorus, consider chords and song structure, etc. but
those are whole other topics for next time.

Also, this song happened to come out good, with a lot of
work, which is why I recorded it, but typically I expect
only about one out of four or five songs I work on to end up
being keepers, so don’t get disappointed if you try this and
you don’t get a great song out of it. Just write four or
five more and you will!

Here is the link again: Saint Patrick’s Day song

To Your Awesome Songs!

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