2018.12.25

We’ve nearly watched all my favourite Christmas specials. Because we don’t have the DVD, my brother read How the Grinch Stole Christmas aloud last night. He read it like Boris Karloff does, and I can’t hear it any other way.

And of course, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. If I had to choose only one, it would be this. Thankfully, I don’t have to choose.

Each year, I find something new to fascinate me. A few years ago, I made everyone in my family “crocheted nose bags” like the young boy receives from his aunt, “alas, no longer whinnying with us.”

This year, I went searching for the songs they sing as a family around the piano. The story is set in Wales at the turn of the century, more Edwardian than Victorian. Their Christmas carols are really hymns. “One of the uncles sang “Drake’s Drum”, which was a poem about Sir Francis Drake first.

The sentimental song the aunt drunk on parsnip wine sings is proving harder to find. I searched some lyrics, but nothing. I’ll have to watch again to get all the words.

This movie was the first place I heard “All Through the Night,” not a specifically Christmas song, but a lullaby now included on many Christmas albums.

“On to Bethlehem Town” is absolutely about the Christian Christmas, even more than “Jingle Bells.” I assumed it would be easy to find, that it would be part of all the hymn books. Nope. It’s not as popular as it should be.

Christmas for my family has never been religious. It’s our time to get together, eat delicious food, and give presents. But I do love the music, and some of the best started out as hymns. Churches have been making music for a long time; they know a catchy tune.