A Child’s Christmas in Wales and a family celebration

‘One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.’

These words are from the wonderful prose work, A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. It is an evocative and humorous anecdotal retelling of Christmas from the point of view of a child. Whenever I read it, it is our Uncle R’s voice that will always be in my head. He read this book to his children as they grew up and over the years, has often enjoyed sharing it with others in his mellifluous orators voice. He is the story teller in my Dads family and on the very near eve of his 70th birthday, I wanted to share his love of this particular literary work with you. Go look up a copy, either the book or the original recording that Thomas made back in 1952. Happy Birthday to one of the best people this world will ever know.

Come December, Mum and The Polish Stepfather throw a pre-Christmas celebration with family and close friends. Everyone contributes something, mine was an eggy pile of mini-mushroom frittatas. (Mini-Mushroom Frittatas .) Sister 4 baked a decadent vegan chocolate cake from the latest Nigella Lawson cookbook. There were croissants, tasty corn fritters and a platter of Polish charcuterie. Our dear friend concocted a fanciful fruit platter in the shape of a Christmas tree. There was a mound of tart plum jam filled Polish donuts, cheeses, a tumble of silky scrambled eggs, haloumi, bacon and fried mushrooms. And there were chocolates, of course.

Little gifts for children, home-baked gifts for grown-ups. The odd glass of fizzy wine and some good strong coffee. Cicada’s sang their summertime symphony and children guffawed loudly, running wild with the sugar coursing through their veins. Troubles forgotten for a brief window of time and the world slowed down. Stopping to look at each one of these beloved faces, I felt the fragility of life and the speedy passing of time. What each of us remembers of these celebrations in years to come will be different but we are making valuable memories. I leave you with one more passage from Thomas’s Christmas prose. He says it far, far better than I ever could.

‘All the Christmases roll down towards the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands into the snow and bring out whatever I will find.’

Excerpts from A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

I also found a very good recording of this piece at the ABC shop recorded by a Welsh renowned Thomas-reader and literary professor.


20 thoughts on “A Child’s Christmas in Wales and a family celebration

  1. What a wonderful evocation of the sort of celebration that Christmas should be and somehow never is. I’ve heard Dylan Thomas recordings, and I can hear in my head the wonderful voice and tumbling syllables, a perfect soundtrack. Great post…

  2. What divine food! And something for everyone–vegetarians would be well accommodated with such a spread! My mouth is watering πŸ™‚
    Must read the Dylan Thomas story–I’ve heard of it of course but never dipped in. And I have Welsh ancestors!
    Trust Nigella to create a very sexy cake, chocolate of course. Are those flower petals on it?

  3. What a beautiful tribute to a family celebration. The Nigella cake looks superb! And I am a HUGE fan of A child’s Christmas in Wales. Thomas’ use of language is magical and he makes this poem full of sound and rhythm that is to die for. Plus it contains the word “bombilating”. Who wouldn’t love THAT?!
    “Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong. And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii.”

    • Thanks Susanne. Special times, just trying to put some memories in my pocket for later on. You have described this piece wonderfully and so true, who couldn’t love anything with that word in it! Just fantastic.

  4. What a delightful posting, Mrs C, for the prose and your tale of the family gathering. But, I remain dumbfounded …… there was “a decadent vegan chocolate cake” and I wasn’t even offered a slice?!?!😟 Oh, the geographical distance between us may have been a slight issue, so I’ll let you have that one!!!😜 xxoxx

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