Ellen’s Holiday Sing-Along: Nautical Edition

In which Ellen mashes up holiday songs with sea chanties

Hi. Ellen the Harpist here. Last year, someone who overheard me [not naming names here *cough* diane michaels *cough, cough*] singing alternative lyrics to holiday songs had the audacity to share them in a blog post. If you read the post, you probably thought all I do in December is complain about how many gigs I have to play and how I never get to eat.

That simply is not the case. This year, besides playing like a gazillion concerts and parties, I’m also preparing to set sail on a four-month-long gig aboard a cruise ship a mere five days after my last holiday performance. 

It’s not like I ever have time to go Christmas shopping let alone breathe while I’m playing my marathon schedule of gigs, but, on top of everything else, I have to find the time to get ready for my next adventure. That includes putting together a cruise-appropriate wardrobe. My drab black skirts and dresses just won’t cut it in the Bahamas. 

What I mean to say is I have even more to complain about this year. I think it sounds a lot less whiny when I do it in song. The thing is, I keep mixing up Christmas lyrics with boat songs and sea chanties with holiday pop tunes. Like this holiday-bedecked version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Play, play, play the gig

Then I’ll play some more.

Nutcrackers, holiday parties galore

Boy my arms are sore.

It’s not entirely my fault I can’t distinguish the boundary between a perfectly lovely song meant to capture the holiday spirit and one designed to amuse sailors. 

For instance, check out the first four measures of Silent Night below and compare them to the first four measures of Blow the Man Down. You don’t need to know how to read music to be able to discern the similarities. I dare you to sing one without finding yourself stuck in the middle of the other. You're welcome.

It gets worse. I started singing my own version of Home for the Holidays the other day, but by the end of the first verse, I seemed to have enlisted in the Navy. Even the original melody had jumped ship by verse two.

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays

It is one of those simple little joys.

But for me after my last gig on New Year’s Day

It is time to say anchors aweigh, my boys.


Anchors aweigh, my boys. Anchors aweigh!

Farewell to my apartment, takeout food, and high-igh-ways-ays.

I don’t have time to do laundry and more

So I will pack unwashed clothes, and I’ll worry ‘bout it offshore.

Yikes! I forgot to ask the contractor how crew members do laundry on a ship. Hmm. Maybe I can attach my clothes to a super long pole and swirl them around in the Atlantic Ocean. Clean clothes or not, I have to show up for the gig next month. I hope I remember to pack my harp!

On the twelfth day after Christmas aboard a ship am I with

Twelve tons of cargo

Eleven tubes of sunscreen

Ten fluffy ballgowns

Nine books of music

Eight [hold it for a second, Maestro. I can’t find my passport. Phew. Here it is! Now, where were we?]

Eight pairs of shorts

Seven unmatched socks

Six bags of harp strings

Five tuning keys

Four dozen shirts

Three swim suits

Two too many shoes

And my passport. Oh crap where’d it go?

Happy Holidays, and I’ll see you on January 16, 2018 for the launch of Ellen at Sea!

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