Nearly 30 years since Bon Jovi released their first holiday single “Please Come Home for Christmas,” a cover of bluesman Charles Brown’s 1960 hit, the band has released “Christmas Isn’t Christmas.”
Recorded in Nashville, “Christmas Isn’t Christmas” is a reflection of familial ties and loss—Nothing’s changеd but life keeps changing / Some say hello, some say goodbye / It’s the memories that keep me warm tonight—but isn’t as dreary as the title suggests, according to Jon Bon Jovi, who originally wrote the song two years ago when his parents fell ill during the holidays.
“It was a tough day in the house,” shared Bon Jovi in an Instagram video a day after releasing the song. “My dad and my mom had both taken ill, and I wrote this as a gift to my parents and my children. The gift was that Christmas was bringing everyone together and while were weren’t all together, we can only be there in our memories, and in our thoughts, and our prayers.
He added, “When we shot the video and we started conversing about it we realized that there’s also a great sunny side: Christmas isn’t Christmas without you, unless you’re here with me. So we can lighten the mood, too. I hope you like it as much as we do.”
“Christmas Isn’t Christmas” isn’t Jon Bon Jovi’s only run-in with holiday music. In 1992, he released his own version of “Please Come Home for Christmas,” on his solo album A Very Special Christmas 2. He also released the three-track holiday EP A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas in 2020, featuring covers of Elvis Presley‘s Tony Macaulay-penned 1971 song “If I Get Home on Christmas Day,” along with The Pogues’ If I Should Fall from Grace with God classic “Fairytale of New York,” and Tom Petty‘s “Christmas All Over Again.”
Accompanying the release of “Christmas Isn’t Christmas” is a Bon Jovi Monopoly board game, commemorating the band’s 40th anniversary in 2024. The game features properties inspired by the band’s history as well as six tokens featuring their The Skull logo, Jon’s signature guitar, the diamond Superman logo, which Jon has tattooed on his left shoulder, the smirk face from the band’s 2005 album Have a Nice Day, and their Heart & Dagger logo.
Bon Jovi is also set to return to Nashville to record, which would be the band’s first new material since the release of their 15th album 2020, from that same year. “We’re going to Nashville for a month to record,” said guitarist Phil X in an interview in early October. “Jon wrote a bunch of songs and we did pre-production in Jersey last week.”