A Child’s Christmas in Wales is one of the most popular works of the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. It was initially recorded for a radio broadcast back in 1952 but it gained popularity even as a published literary piece.
About A Child’s Christmas in Wales
The prose talks about the experience of a child while spending Christmas in Wales. It is about one eventful Christmas night – as narrated by a child. The words used are emotionally compelling for readers because it gets you to think about your own experience.
The main message of the poem revolves around how the festivities can bring people together. No matter where they come from or what they do in life, there will always be a sense of excitement and fun when Christmas is celebrated.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales provides a vivid picture of that day. It is imaginative but at the same time, there is a lot of truth into it. Readers will find something that they can relate to – from the presents to the snow, and the gathering of people to celebrate the wonderful occasion.
Because of its structure, the prose does not have a straight narrative to it. There is a compilation of reminiscent memories that are told much like an autobiography. Although there is a heavy sense of nostalgia, the prose also takes on a comedic tone. It is usually brought about by the way the characters are portrayed. Of course, since the story is being told by a child, there is a youthful and exaggerated flair added into every description.
It is that nostalgia and humour that probably made A Child’s Christmas in Wales very popular until this very day. It encourages people to live life through the eyes of a child – filled with wonder and delight regardless of what is happening around. More than anything, that is the hidden message that Dylan Thomas would like everyone to take.
History behind the prose
This prose was initially intended to be read for a BBC Radio programme. At that time, Dylan Thomas was getting a minor income by reading his works – either through a recording or broadcasting on air. In the 1940s, he began writing radio scripts for the show. In 1942, he wrote Reminiscences of Childhood. It was a 15-minute talk for a broadcast in February of 1943. It was used by a Welsh BBC broadcast. The next script was Quite Early one Morning that was written in 1944 – but was rejected by BBC producers.
In 1945, the producer of Welsh Children’s Hour, Lorraine Davis, suggested that Thomas should write a talk about “Memories of Christmas”. The Welsh poet started working on a piece. BBC London accepted it but director Derek McCulloch was unimpressed by the way Dylan Thomas was allowed to read the piece live. This led to Thomas recording the piece in advance. 5 years later, Dylan, merged Memories of Christmas with parts of the Conversations about Christmas – an essay written for Picture Post. This was then sold to Harper’s Bazaar for $300 and was published as A Child’s Christmas in Wales.