SUDBURY -- Christmas is all about getting together and seeing loved ones for family meals and parties.

Except this year, COVID has robbed people across the globe of their Holiday rituals, forcing people to stay distant in hopes of preventing further spread.

Enter the cAbiners – Loni Konkal, from North Bay, and Dayv Poulin, from Sudbury – who were inspired to write the lighthearted – but to the point – tune, 'Not That Kind of Christmas.'

"As much as I need you, and just can't wait to hug and squeeze you," the song goes, "We'll wait a little longer as our feelings just grow stronger, 'Cause it's not that kind of Christmas this year."

Poulin said inspiration struck them suddenly as they were on their way to record at a studio in Sturgeon Falls.

"Actually, we were just going to record some traditional Christmas songs and on our drive there, we thought it would be fun to record something new," Konkal said. "And something that, you know, reflects this year and we just of kind wrote it on the drive there to the studio."

The pair bounced lyric and melody ideas off one another and the song quickly came together.

"It's been such a dark year for a lot of people and it might be a tough Christmas," Poulin said. "We thought it would be fun to have something that's a bit more uplifting and kind of makes light of the situation in a way. or brings a little bit of fun to it."

They make a rough comparison to the classic Christmas tune, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, which takes a comical look at something that's not happy on the surface, but has become a beloved Holiday tune.

"We don't love the idea of that happening, but what a great tune," Konkal laughed.

So they rhymed words such as 'Christmas' with 'distance' and 'Halloween' and 'quarantine.'

The message is this is a tough time, lots of people are struggling, let's find hope in other ways, such as the way people are connecting online in virtual meetings and parties.

"If we embrace it, and find the sweetness that's captured in the fact we are social distancing and finding new ways to connect with one another, I think that's pretty remarkable," Konkal said.

Radio airplay

The song was released Nov. 29 and so far, it's gotten local airplay at radio stations and is getting views online from across the world.

"People are really enjoying it," Poulin said. "It's been amazing."

He said one thing unique about the pandemic is that it's a shared experience across the world, no matter where you live. So everyone can relate to the song.

"It's been pretty special so far, and we're really excited," Poulin said. "We love Christmas, and we love Christmas music, so if we can add something to the repertoire, that's pretty fun."

Live performers have been especially affected by the pandemic, which has made public appearances much tougher as shows and festivals were all cancelled.

"We've been pretty fortunate to get support from places like the Capitol Centre and some businesses that are starting live shows again," Konkal said. "We did some social 'distansinging' we called it, online when everything was locked down."

That helped get their name out there and become well known, and this month, they get to return to the live stage for a few, socially distanced shows.

"We will be able to sing this song and other Christmas songs, as well," Poulin said.

Have they performed Not That Kind of Christmas for an audience yet?

"No we haven't," Poulin said.

"This Saturday!" Konkal added.

They have a show Saturday at Lou Dawgs in North Bay. On Dec. 11, they perform at New Ontario Brewing, also in North Bay, followed by a performance at the Lavigne Tavern on Dec. 19.