The Fireman's Christmas Song
Dedicated to all courageous firemen, here is a Family Christmas Song recorded by my friend Paul Reilly and originally written by his grandfather in 1943. You will have a traditional Christmas song you can play every Christmas along with Rudolf, Jingle Bells and Frosty. This is a classic Christmas Song we have not yet been aware of.
Fireman Joseph F. Reilly, shown here in his FDNY photograph circa 1938 was my grandfather. I was never told of his harrowing experiences as a fireman until several years after he died in May of 1996. As would any firefighter, he never exposed his family to the grim details of his job. According to my own father he would come home everyday and quietly rest for an hour or so and then get up with a cheerful greeting for his wife and two toddlers, (my dad and my uncle).
My Father told me of his early childhood when he and his twin brother were able to run to the front window just in time, whenever they heard their father’s approaching hook and ladder with lights and siren. They lived a short distance from the firehouse so everyday they could exchange waves as their daddy streamed by with one hand on the rear steering wheel sitting in the tiller box.
My dad explained to me that the everyday ritual came to an end when his father came home with his hair singed and eyebrows burned off. It was clear daddy had a dangerous job, and the once glamorous lights and sirens that dazzled them were a reminder of it.
Nonetheless, my grandfather still kept up beat no matter how scared his family was. He was humorous, a good pianist and an entertainer. To distract his two boys, he wrote,“ I was waiting up for Santa Claus” and taught it to them when they were about 5 or so.
Now decades later, I too can recount my early childhood, when my own parents sang grandpa’s Christmas song along with all the other Christmas standards. I grew up singing ” I Was Waiting Up For Santa Claus”, not knowing it was a family original and I inherited my grandfather’s ability to write good music, remain humorous in spite of any adversity just like him.
In 1995, before my grandfather died, he told me to record this song myself. In the ensuing years my production skills finally were good enough to fulfill his request. He would be happy to know that his Christmas Song for his two boys is finally published and will go on to be a family Christmas tradition for all.
Paul J. Reilly
“ I was waiting up for Santa Claus”
When little ones are all tucked in bed on Christmas Eve to sleep, you shouldn’t have to tell them once, they ought not make a peep..
But it all goes in one ear somehow, till the sand man tolls the bell.
I’ve got a story all my own, I always love to tell…
I was waiting up for Santa Claus one snowy Christmas Eve and I had to keep myself from sight so I could get a peek I was waiting for a jolly old man with a great big bag of toys that he would bring to everyone especially girls and boys.
I’d be dreaming of the toys I’d get while the chimney down he’d creep but he must have been a little late, I may have gone to sleep Could I have all the toys I asked him for?
I surely would believe that a great big man called Santa Claus comes every Christmas eve.
So little ones don’t you lie awake, you’ll have pleasant dreams, now it is only one more night, it’s not long as it seems.
I was waiting up for Santa Claus one snowy Christmas eve and I heard his reindeer on the roof, it was Santa Claus indeed.
He filled all the stockings, then he brushed the snowflakes from the toys.
Underneath the Christmas Tree, never to make a noise.
He ate all the cookies that we left, as I hid atop the stairs, and he looked right up and smiled at me, I know he really cares.
I got all the toys I asked him for, I always will believe, that a great big man called Santa Claus comes every Christmas Eve.
Special thanks to Vivian and Matt. All instruments,arrangements, and vocal recorded and mixed by Paul J Reilly, lyrics by Joseph F Reilly and Paul J Reilly.©2004