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A Child's Christmas in Wales
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A Child's Christmas in Wales

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  4,309 Ratings  ·  434 Reviews
Originally emerging from a piece written for radio, the poem was recorded by Thomas in 1952. The story is an anecdotal retelling of a Christmas from the view of a young child and is a romanticised version of Christmases past, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time. It is one of Thomas' most popular works.

Summary (on verso of title page): A Welsh poet recalls the celebrati
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 1st 1985 by Holiday House (first published 1952)
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Popular Answered Questions
Liz Treacher Interesting question! When do children become adults and do some adults always stay children at heart? I think Dylan Thomas is exploring all this in…moreInteresting question! When do children become adults and do some adults always stay children at heart? I think Dylan Thomas is exploring all this in his poem. The images are so evocative that they plunge us adults back into our childhood memories of Christmas. I just reread it and loved it, so my answer to the question would be: Yes! It's for adults too...(less)

Community Reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
My artistic, flighty mother, who's in her 70's, flits in and out of my life, leaving quirky gifts behind. Sometimes they go straight to Goodwill (used clothing, cheap knickknacks); sometimes they're useful (a type of mop she particularly loves); sometimes they're delightful (my grandmother's sterling silver set, books that have moved her, beautiful impressionistic landscapes that she paints in oils or watercolor).


This illustrated book version of Dylan Thomas's reminiscing about his boyhood Chri
David Schaafsma
This is a lovely picture book illustrated by Chris Raschka of the familiar (but now forgotten by many?) tale written by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas ("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night") that is always good to read around the holidays. Not really lmited to a kid story, either. Wonderful, wonderful language and joyful telling. The watercolor art is not as soft and inviting as one might expect from such a nostalgic project; it's more an abstract expressionistic depiction of the world of Thomas's ta ...more
Jason Koivu
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I need more Dylan Thomas in my life!

I was unaware of this fact until today, having never read his stuff before aside from "Do not go gentle into that good night" some 30 or so years ago. I don't usually go in for poetry, but I loved his cadence and imagery. Beautiful stuff!

"A Child's Christmas in Wales" is very much like a more lyrical version of Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story". I put that in quotes, not italics, because I've only ever seen the movie version, never read it. With that in mind
Carol  ꧁꧂
I read this over at and also treated myself to a listen over on You Tube of Thomas reading this himself. I normally hate being read to but it is impossible to hate this beautifully vibrating voice breathing even more life into this work.

I've never read nostalgia so well realised & I loved the gentle humour.

Here is a quote dear to a Goodreader's heart.

And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing
Riku Sayuj
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I picked this as an accessible introduction to Dylan's work. A delicate prose poem that proceeds liltingly until the child and the adult versions collides head on, subtly, magnificently bringing about the conclusion.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at t ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ho-ho-ho, memoir
All the Christmases roll toward 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 in the snow and bring out whatever I can find.

How did I, a huge fan of Christmas and celebrations in general, manage to ignore this book for so long?

Not a clue - but it was THIS version with illustrations by the marvelous Chris Raschka


that finally convinced me to dig in.

This is a happy t
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A humorous, nostalgic tale of Christmas Eve afternoon through Christmas night, full of unique imagery and lovely phrasing.

Perhaps it's because I watched parts of the movie 'A Christmas Story' on Christmas Eve that I was reminded of Ralphie as I read this tonight-- even if there is no BB gun.
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Classic memories of Christmas from a bygone era. Oh what fun! Thomas did radio performances and recorded this in 1952; it was published in book form in 1954. This edition was beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.
Shayan Foroozesh
Although I know almost every thing about Christmas, I have never felt it first-hand. And I must say I'm really unschooled about Wales. But This little book, with its cadenced prose enchanted me with its music of words and powerful visualization so that I could hear "distant speaking of the voices," "the carol-singing sea," "the muffling silence of the eternal snows," and the rumbling and mumbling of aunts and uncles and their music; could smell the two-tongued sea and the scent of a warm crowded ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
I realize, now, that Dylan Thomas has been trying to capture my attention for 41 years. Sorry it took so long. I'm here now. Let's proceed.
I understand A Child's Christmas in Wales was first published in 1954 and a year after the author's death. It was based on his childhood exploits while growing up. Mr Thomas's words easily lulled the reader into an innocent past.

On its own, I would have given the story 3 1/2 stars but my copy was the slim hardback with pictures drawn by Trina Schart Hyman. I loved her illustrations. Some were in black and white, others were in color. As I watched, the story took on a life of its own.

Cigars and
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, christmas
My understanding is this is a British Christmas classic. I've been reading it to my children for several years now at Christmas time. It's such a delightful story and so beautifully told. If you want to re-live the nostalgic Christmas past I highly recommend you read this short story.
Oziel Bispo
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A nostalgia e lembranças da infância concernentes ao natal do pequeno Dylan no começo do século XX , com todas suas aventuras , como cantar em frente a uma casa mal assombrada, jogar
bolas de neve nos gatos, observar o carteiro desajeitado escorregando pela neve, encher a caixa de correio do sr Daniel de neve, passear pela praia...tudo e isso e muito mais,contado de uma forma doce e poética. Um lindo conto de natal em forma de poesia,este pequeno tesouro deveria ao nossos filhos e amados todo an
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extra star added due to John Cale. Google it.

Knowing what I do of his adult life, I really hope Thomas experienced this close holiness.

All I ever got was the Licking of the Lard Spoon and Hell Awaits on repeat. Oh, and fucking Aerosmith tickets one year. I fucking HATE Aerosmith! Thanks for nothing, Ma!!!
Billy O'Callaghan
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Less a story than a series of snapshots that accumulate to present a funny, poignant and always nostalgic view of childhood Christmases, the joy is in the beautiful language, the magnificent imagery and the way that every sense is awakened.
“Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farm
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Dylan Thomas is a Welsh poet known for his poem, "Do not go gently into that good night." I am thrilled to learn he has written a prose poem about Christmas. This tiny book described his experience of Christmas "years and years ago, when (he) was a boy" in Wales. It contained some truly lush and beautiful lines about snow and captured the nostalgia associated with Christmas at a time when life was relatively simpler.

If you love poetry, you will most certainly find this an enchanting treat. In Th
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rowena by: Shirley
Shelves: childrens
This was a lovely book and a perfect book to read on the first day of Advent. Very nostalgic, it definitely made me think of my childhood Christmases and how magical they seemed to me.
An evocation of a child's Christmas in Wales within the realm of memory. It is beautiful, warm, embracing, funny and seemingly filled with true glimpses of Dylan Thomas' childhood. It is short, but very rich and flows with rivers merging prose and poetry. Lovely! Highly recommended! Dylan Thomas reads his own story here:


Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
The tiny, blue paperback version of Thomas' prose poem is adorned with minimalist, pattern-based woodcuts and published by New Directions. It is less than eight pages of solid text and is dense and desultory enough to warrant multiple back to back readings. The rapidly changing focus of the narrator is caused by his efforts to reach into a grab bag of distant childhood memories and his willingness to mix events together that may have been separated by several years. The boyhood is ultimately wel ...more
Ken Moten
From December 2013:
One of the surprises that I received this year was the poetry (and voice) of Dylan Thomas. As good as Thomas' poetry is, it was his voice that has captivated me. I think this voice is what most young American kids thought the British nobility sounded like.

This prose is a simple recollection of various memories of Thomas' Christmas as a child. He is able to paint a picture of the scene in your head and I found myself almost seeing my own image in the vignettes being described.
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A lovely little book. Trina Schart Hyman's illustration captured the essence of the story. I especially loved the cats peeking out in most of the pictures and the illustration of the postman "With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried nose." This book has convinced me that I would like to read more Dylan Thomas, perhaps some of his poetry.
Julie  Durnell
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas, england-uk
A poetic novella of Christmas reminiscences as a young boy, beautifully written and exquisitely illustrated. The illustrations really lift this above the ordinary cute holiday tale.
Lovely story. Thanks to Petra and Bettie for sharing this marvelous Christmas book.
Delightful. Dylan Thomas is amazing to listen to. A feast for the senses.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this! A few of my younger children were a bit lost at times with Thomas' prose, but my older children enjoyed it and we LOVED the illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, one of our favorites!
Lisa Vegan
My mother introduced to me to this book. I think she got it for herself first. Her (Jewish) mother was born in Wales, and, even though my mother was born in Canada, I think she always felt part Welsh. I liked this book when I first read it/had it read to me, although not as much as my mother did. I think I have liked it more as an adult, after learning more about Dylan Thomas’s life & work.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
A nice book telling the tale of the adventures and traditions that a boy has for Christmas.
J. Boo
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story of Thomas' own boyhood Christmases, by turns funny and moving. A prose poem, but please don't let that scare you off.

Dad always read this to us at Christmastime, a tradition from when my Mom, back when she was just his girlfriend, was sick and he came over to her house and read to her to keep her mind off the flu.

My own children are too young - oldest is only four as of this Christmas - but I inflict it on them anyway (albeit with slight modifications to vocabulary and context,
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Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet who wrote in English. Many regard him as one of the 20th century's most influential poets.

In addition to poetry, Thomas wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, with the latter frequently performed by Thomas himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his booming, at times, ostentatious voice, with a subtle Welsh li
More about Dylan Thomas

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“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” 83 likes
“And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?” 46 likes
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