The Making of ‘Christmas Tree Farm’: How Taylor Swift Turned the Holiday Tune Around In 24 Hours

Musician Taylor Swift had an incredible 2019. Her seventh album, Lover, was released, and she won Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards. (Let’s just pretend the whole Cats thing never happened.) Additionally, she released a song not associated with the album. Here’s a look at how “Christmas Tree Farm” came to be.

Taylor Swift surprised fans with ‘Christmas Tree Farm’

By Dec. 5, 2019, Swift had had quite a year. She had been busy over the past few months promoting Lover, performing at the AMAs, and gearing up for the release of that film that shall not be named. So right after Thanksgiving, in the days leading up to her 30th birthday, was the last time you would expect to hear about new music from the artist.

But Swift is full of surprises. That day, she posted a video in which she asked each of her cats in tune if she should release a Christmas song that she had just written. Fans were shocked and ecstatic to learn that Swift was going to drop the song and accompanying video right away, instead of waiting until the 2020 holiday season.

The reason she may have been feeling nostalgic this year

What made Swift, who hasn’t released any Christmas music since her 2007 EP The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, dive into this world? There are a number of reasons. For one thing, having a birthday around the holiday season can make one feel a certain way about Christmas, and for Swift, that appears to be positive. Given her landmark age this year, we get it.

There’s another possible, much sadder reason why Swift may have felt compelled to write this song now. “Christmas Tree Farm” isn’t just an illusion to a festive location — the artist actually grew up on such a farm in Pennsylvania. And with her mother, Andrea, suffering from cancer, perhaps she’s been feeling especially wistful about her childhood.

Swift performed the song at Jingle Ball

Taylor Swift performs onstage during iHeartRadio's Z100 Jingle Ball 2019 on December 13, 2019 in New York City.
Taylor Swift performs onstage during iHeartRadio’s Z100 Jingle Ball 2019 on December 13, 2019 in New York City. | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Since she began releasing singles from Lover, we’ve seen quite a few of the tracks played live. Swift has performed singles “Me!,” “Lover,” and “You Need to Calm Down,” as well as other tracks like “False God” and “The Man” in a few select appearances. But being brand new, we thought we might have to wait until the tour for “Christmas Tree Farm.”

Fortunately, there was a perfect opportunity for Swift to perform it. On her 30th birthday, she performed at Z100’s Jingle Ball in New York City. Given the time of year and the festive theme, she naturally chose to perform the new song, even donning a Santa hat while she sang.

The making of ‘Christmas Tree Farm’

Swift knows how much fans love to get a glimpse of her life. She keeps much of it (including her relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn) a secret, but when it comes to her music, she’s all about sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

“Christmas Tree Farm” was incredibly unique in that Swift managed to turn the song around — from writing the lyrics and music to laying it down in the studio — in one weekend. In fact, she even says in the video that it was basically a 24-hour process. No one works harder than this woman.

How is Swift spending the holiday?

What is Taylor Swift doing for this special holiday? Her family may not even own said Christmas tree farm anymore, given that they’ve been living in Nashville for years. Which doesn’t exactly provide the same vibe.

However, she’s bound to get a similar experience if she spends the holiday with Alwyn in London. The actor previously revealed that that’s where he’ll be spending Christmas with his family.