Great-Grandfather has one wish; To make children's Christmas

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Monday, November 25, 2019
83-year-old grandfather hopes his Christmas carol gets noticed
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Johnny Gondesen, 83, only has one wish this Christmas. That's to make sure his carol is heard around the world.

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- At 83-years-old, Johnny Gondesen has a Christmas wish.

"I want something to happen to this song before I go to meet my maker," he said from his Cypress home.

The song is called "Christmas Is Here," and it has a sweet backstory to match the season.

He grew up playing guitar, and singing in a Galveston country western band as a young man.

Later he married his high school sweetheart, and they had a family.

"We'd drive to Houston for Christmas shopping, and there were tree lots along the Gulf freeway. The kids would cry 'ho-ho-ho' when they saw the Christmas trees. I said, 'Ho-ho-ho. What can I do with that?'"

What he did was write the song, adding a 'hee-hee-hee', and the lyrics that described the joy of Christmas, with Santa coming down the chimney. His son, Johnny Jr. said the song is nostalgic and speaks of another time, and sparks memories.

"We grew up on that song."

Gondesen recorded the song with the assistance of his band partners.

It was turned into a 45 record, and he hoped it would get play on radio stations, but that didn't happen.

He gave away copies of the song. "I would ask people if they had young children. They told me their kids loved it."

More recently, his family produced a video that was posted to YouTube, with Johnny in the Santa suit he's worn each Christmas for years.

In the video he was dancing to "Christmas Is Here." His grandchildren held up an appeal on a poster board, reading 'make our grandfather famous,' urging them to download the music.

"It's innocent, and it's a simple song kids love." Johnny Jr. said about what he regards as a Christmas classic. "Why not when I flip on Spotify and hit my Christmas playlist have his song come up right next to Bing Crosby?"

Gondesen received a copyright for the song a few years ago, but getting it some airplay is not about royalties and profits. "It's a song that makes children happy, reminds us of a simpler time, about the joy of the season," he said. "I want them to experience that."

He already has a great grandchild, with another on the way, so that would make the fourth generation of his family to have the song as a holiday tradition.

Meanwhile, Johnny Jr. continues to think of ways to get exposure for his dad's creation. "It's been a dream of his for years to introduce it to a large audience. It could be on radio or online."

So how do you hear this great song? Listen to Christmas Is Here on YouTube.

Follow Deborah Wrigley on Facebook and Twitter.