Monday, 20 December 2021

A child's Christmas in...

A Child's Christmas in Wales Adults always claim that Christmas is for the children. Who are they trying to kid? Whatever your age, 25 December provides an excuse to stuff yourself with sweeties and play silly games.

If you want something to get you in the mood for a merry Christmas, you could do no better than to pick up a copy of Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales. It's so short you can read it in less than an hour.

Thomas has written a fictionalised account of his Christmases in Swansea. It's a nostalgic depiction in which all the memories merge. "One Christmas was so much like the other", he says, that "I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six". It prompts readers to think of their own childhood, even if the memories are different.

I remember the weather was often wet at Christmas. It rarely snowed, unlike in Swansea, where Thomas grew up. There they were "wool-white". He plunges his hands into snowy memories and pulls out stories. The young Dylan and his friend Jim pretended to be "fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay", planning to hurl snowballs at cats or post them through Mr. Daniel's letter box.

When Thomas was a boy there was no television. Entertainment was provided by telling tall tales and ghost stories. Presents included painting books and board games. They went carol singing, and "always on Christmas night there was music".

Such happy memories. I can easily start to imagine they are my own.

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