What started out as a white elephant gift for a family Christmas party turned into a YouTube video gone viral with more than 1.5 million views on different Internet sites.
Each year, Chad and Angela Morton, a couple from Taylorsville, Utah, gather with their family on Christmas Eve to exchange white elephant gifts, with a common goal to one-up the others’ gifts, according to Chad Morton.
At the Morton family Christmas party in 2011, Chad and Angela provided every family with a CD recorded by Chad.
“I recorded eight Christmas songs in funny voices, and we took a cheesy photo of myself against a brick wall trying to look ‘hard,’” said Morton. “When they opened (the CD) up, it was a good laugh, and we all listened to it.”
After burning more copies of the CD for some of their friends, people began asking Morton as early as May of 2012 what he was going to do for his new Christmas album.
As the Christmas season drew nearer, Chad and Angela discussed whether to make another CD, but Angela had something better in mind.
“One night, my wife and I were sitting on the couch and Angela said, ‘Why don’t we do a music video?’ ” Morton said. “We sat there brainstorming for a Christmas song, and we couldn’t think of anything funny, so then we started thinking of other songs, and we thought of ‘Sexy and I Know It.’”
Beginning in early December and finishing at the last minute on Christmas Eve, the Mortons created their own parody of the popular LMFAO song, titled “I’m a Daddy and I Know It.”
The video features original lyrics sung by Morton describing his daily life with his 7- and 5-year-old sons, along with his 22-month-old triplets.
The Mortons spent between 15 and 20 hours filming and editing, and they purchased a new computer to get an adequate editing program; however, they never intended for the video to go viral.
“The original intent for the video was just for the family Christmas party,” said Morton. “That night we burned it to a DVD, and we got labels made with a picture of me and the kids. Then we got one of our old DVD cases and put some shrink wrap on it,” Morton said.
The DVD was a hit at the family party, but there was one disappointing factor. The Mortons had only burned one copy, unlike the multiple CDs they had burned the previous year.
“Everyone was asking, ‘Where’s our copy?’ so we said we’d go put it on YouTube and then everybody can go and watch it,” Morton said. “We ended up putting it up on the 24th and we told a few friends it was up there, and it just kind of spread from there.”
While some kids are shy or uncooperative in front of a camera, the five Morton youngsters are quite the opposite.
Because Chad and Angela bring out the video camera quite often in their home, their kids love being center stage.
“As soon as we brought out the camera, they were super excited and got real goofy,” Morton said. “We’ve got tons of footage we didn’t use for the video of them being goofy, but we were trying to figure out what scenes would best go with the lyrics.”
The kids have been just as excited about their YouTube popularity as their parents. The boys have learned the lyrics to the song, and whenever the triplets hear the beginning of the song, they start screaming as if they want to watch the video.
The Mortons' extended family has also been excited about the YouTube fame. Chad Morton regularly receives phone calls regarding the updates and comments posted by lovers and haters of the video.
From marriage proposals to discussion pages on breaking carseat laws, the Mortons have received diverse feedback.
Although some comments are negative, there are a great deal more positive comments.
“My favorite comments have been people saying I’m a good dad, and it’s obvious because I play with my kids and do laundry and cook and clean,” Morton said.
The media have captured the Mortons on the TV screen multiple times as the family has been featured on KSL-TV, Fox & Friends, and even made a national appearance on "Taff," a German celebrity gossip program.
“‘Taff’ is like ‘Access Hollywood’ in the United States,” Morton said. “The only way we know about that is watching YouTube comments. People would say ‘I saw you on Taff,’ and I’ve got a friend who just moved to Germany, so he ended up recording it and sending me the copy. It’s kind of cool that I was on another country on their show.”
The Mortons have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube; however, that doesn’t include the 600,000 shares on Facebook or other websites where the video has been viewed.
“I wish all the views could be counted in one place because all the views I’ve counted has been well over 1.5 million,” Morton said. “It just went nuts in the past three or four days, really.”
It’s doubtful that the Mortons will create another video. It’s exhausting, Morton said.
However, they have found the response so humorous that they have recently discussed doing another funny video with the triplets.
“Our intention was never to go big or to become famous from it, but it’s always fun to hop on and see how many views it's got,” Morton said.
Megan Marsden is an intern for the Deseret News, writing for the Faith & Family section. She is a student at BYU-Idaho, studying communications.