About the song

John Denver’s “Christmas for Cowboys”, a folksy gem that warms the soul like a crackling fire on a snowy Christmas Eve. Released in 1975 on Denver’s album “Rocky Mountain Christmas”, this song takes us on a journey far from the hustle and bustle of city celebrations. Here, Denver isn’t singing about carols by the fireplace or sugar plums dancing in dreams. Instead, he paints a vivid picture of a cowboy’s Christmas, a rugged and beautiful experience under the vast Western sky.

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Denver, a singer synonymous with nature and wide-open spaces, was perfectly suited to deliver this unique Christmas narrative. “Rocky Mountain Christmas” marked his first foray into Christmas music, and it captured the spirit of the holiday season in a way that resonated deeply with those who cherished the simpler things in life.

“Christmas for Cowboys” isn’t about the absence of Christmas cheer; it’s about a different way of celebrating. The opening lines establish the scene: “Tall in the saddle, we spend Christmas Day, driving the cattle over snow-covered plains.” There’s a sense of duty and perseverance here. The cowboys aren’t complaining about their situation; they’re simply acknowledging the reality of their Christmas.

The song contrasts the cowboys’ experience with the traditional holiday festivities. Denver sings, “Back in the cities they have different ways, football and eggnog and Christmas parades.” He doesn’t put down these traditions, but rather highlights the cowboys’ alternative celebration. Their gifts are the open sky and the endless range – a far cry from the materialism often associated with Christmas.

Yet, “Christmas for Cowboys” doesn’t shy away from the spirit of the season. The cowboys find solace and joy in the simple things. A campfire for warmth becomes their Christmas tree, the stars overhead their twinkling lights. The vastness of nature takes on a spiritual dimension as “the wind sings a hymn as we bow down to pray.” This simple act of prayer under the starlit sky becomes a powerful testament to faith.

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“Christmas for Cowboys” is more than just a Christmas song; it’s a celebration of a unique way of life. It reminds us that the holiday spirit can be found anywhere, as long as there’s gratitude, camaraderie, and a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Denver’s warm vocals and the gentle strum of the guitar create a sense of peace and tranquility, making this song a perfect addition to any holiday playlist, especially for those who yearn for a quieter, more contemplative Christmas experience.

Video

Lyrics

“Christmas For Cowboys”

Tall in the saddle, we spend Christmas Day, driving the cattle on the snow covered-plains.
All of the good gifts given today, ours is the sky and the wide open range.
Back in the city they have different ways, football and eggnog and Christmas parades.
I’ll take the blanket, I’ll take the reins, Christmas for cowboys and wide-open plains.

A campfire for warmth as we stop for the night, the stars overhead are Christmas tree lights.
The wind sings a hymn as we bow down to pray, Christmas for cowboys and wide-open plains.

Tall in the saddle we spend Christmas Day, driving the cattle on the snow-covered plains.
So many gifts have been opened today, ours is the sky and the wide open range.
It’s Christmas for cowboys and wide open plains.