Christmas is never as innocent as it is when viewed through the eyes of a child.
The magic of the season never dissipates or wanes when you’re young.
Just the mention of Santa Claus can send a child into a fit of delirium as they think of what could be waiting for them early Christmas morning.
The first sight of snow on the ground meant the official countdown to Christmas morning was on. There were magazines to scour and letters to write.
It is magic, imagination and innocence.
Christmas makes dreams come true.
Christmas is the season of nostalgia. It’s never going to be as good when you’re older as it was when you were a child.
The lights dim a bit every year, the start of Christmas morning gets pushed back and the pile of presents shrinks with the passing years.
Looking through the lens of nostalgia, Christmas regains its magic. You get the excitement back, the mystery returns and your inner child screams in approval.
Capturing nostalgia is the aim of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” as he searches for the belief in his Christmas past.
Thomas’ piece is also the subject of an upcoming musical performance that is coupled with a reading of the prose.
Martin Ware can relate to what Thomas writes about in his 1952 prose. He grew up in the west country of England, but his grandmother was from Wales.
As such, Ware was raised under some of the Welsh traditions. Those traditions include what happened during the Christmas season.
In running through pieces of Thomas’ poem, which Ware will be reading Saturday, he remembered his own childhood.
The postman was always an important part of the Christmas tradition, said Ware.
His arrival was always heralded because he usually brought along with him packages wrapped in brown paper that were bound for the bottom of the decorated tree.
“We still had the lit candles on the Christmas tree,” Ware mused Wednesday evening. “That was a particular fire hazard.”
Most of his presents were homemade, so he didn’t worry about the postman as much as others with the same traditions.
In his look at the holiday season, Thomas remarked it always snowed on Christmas. He could never remember for how long, but he remembered there being enough of the stuff to make it the season.
It's not Wales, but my Christmases on the east coast were the same thing. There were times when we got a lot of snow prior to Christmas and other years when next to nothing fell.
However, you could bet there being a dusting of snow on the car as you left the church on Christmas Eve.
Of course, that changed when we spent Christmas in Corner Brook.
Music is an integral part of anyone’s Christmas. The season itself has an immense catalogue of songs — and versions — that present a sonic landscape for gift giving.
For Ware, it was no different.
Like Thomas wrote, he remembers a rap on the door in the nights leading up to Christmas Eve. It wasn’t strange to answer the door and find a group of carolers in the midst of a song.
When that song was complete, the group would move to the next home and start again.
Later, vinyl records filled his home with volumes of musical cheer.
When you think of Christmas you think of going to church on Christmas Eve. Ware, however, doesn't recall going on Christmas Eve. Instead they went to mass on Christmas morning and opened gifts after that.
That is interesting to me because, being a minister’s son, Christmas Eve was the biggest night of the year.
It meant a full church and plenty of pressure to get the telling of the Christmas story just right.
Christmas morning represented a time to reflect and spend uninterrupted time with family.
That’s the neat thing about Christmas.
Everyone has their own traditions for the season. Families do different things on Christmas Eve or maybe they prefer to have a Christmas breakfast in the morning at home instead of heading to Grandma’s place.
It gets lost in the presents, yes, but when you think about it, no matter what your tradition is, Christmas is about family.
And, that is for everyone.
"A Child’s Christmas in Wales" is being held at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral and features the work of the Cantabile Female Choir, Wendy Woodland and Jennifer Matthews.
Nicholas Mercer is the online editor with The Western Star. He lives in Corner Brook and can be reached at Nicholas.firstname.lastname@example.org.