Okay, so you know beloved Christmas carols like “Deck the Halls” and “Joy to the World.” But did you know there is a wonderful Christmas song about life in Maine? Now nearly 40 years old and beloved by two generations, “The Maine Christmas Song” is a lilting reminder of how special life in Maine and the Christmas season are—especially when they are brought together in the music and lyrics of one unforgettable presentation. Both Maine and “The Maine Christmas Song” are very much about love, old-fashioned goodness and simplicity, and the down-home warmth of family and friends.

A Most Interesting History

“The Maine Christmas Song” had its beginning in a quite ordinary way. Bob Elliot, then a reporter for WCSH-TV News in Portland, needed a story. It was December 1986, and Bob was bored with the same-old-same-old and wanted to come up with something really fresh and special. He landed on the idea of a new Christmas song—one Maine could call its very own.

Bob picked up the phone and called his friend, Maine songwriter Con Fullam, and said, “Hey, how about writing me a Christmas song?” Since it was already December, Con assumed Bob meant for Christmas 1987, but Bob said, “Nope … I need it now.”

Childhood Memories Become a Christmas Classic

With no real time to think about it, Con decided to write about what he already had—very special memories of Christmas growing up in Sidney, Maine. Memories of snowy sleigh rides … of his mother making wreaths to hang on neighbors’ doors … of all the love and warmth of families and friends gathering together in the simple Maine way. In less than two weeks, the song was written and ready to be recorded at Studio 3 in Portland. The opening narration was provided by actor Gary Merrill—a Maine resident and the former husband of Bette Davis—and popular Maine songstress Malinda Liberty sang lead, backed by several WCSH-TV 6 employees, including recently retired news anchor Pat Callaghan.

A Song Goes Out to the World

After Bob Elliot included “The Maine Christmas Song” in one of WCSH-TV’s Christmas segments, the song gained an immediate and devoted fan base. The following November a cassette single of the song was released, and the song went on to sell more than 100,000 copies in various formats. That affection for the song has endured until today, with the tune still being loved and sung by Mainers of all ages, and still being played on Maine radio each year.

The Spirit of Love and Kindness at Christmas

Importantly, “The Maine Christmas Song” has also been used to extend the spirit of life in Maine through proactive love and kindness throughout the state. Prior to the song’s release, WCSH-TV arranged to have all song royalties go toward fighting hunger and food insecurity. Over the past 36 years, those royalties have helped provide more than 100,000 meals to food-insecure children, seniors, and other adults via the Maine Credit Union League’s “End Maine Hunger” program.

To view “The Maine Christmas Song” video specially produced by WCSH-TV, including original recording footage and the 30-year singers’ reunion,
please visit here.

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