Christmas Desert Island Discs #3 – Miss Stinson

As all my classes from over the last 10 days can confirm that I love my Christmas music.

I particularly love books too and the year I was born was the same year that The Snowman by Raymond Briggs was released (1978 for those that didn’t know). Anyway, I love that book – my dad would read it to me and I still have my own copy at their house. So, excitedly, in 1982 I really was like a kid at Christmas when I got to watch The Snowman for the first time when it aired on Boxing Day that year. I know it was that year because my baby brother was born late November 1981 and we were in Germany at the time so it was all a bit busy that Christmas, but this year things were more settled. I had accepted the fact that we couldn’t return my brother to the hospital and that we had to keep him, so I had grown more accustomed to him being around. But that Boxing Day, I remember I was sat cuddled up with my Daddy, and I was in my new pjs and we watched The Snowman together. That’s the first time I heard Walking in the Air and although it wasn’t an instant hit of my Christmas list, it is now and it’s all because of a 2006 advert for Irn Bru and now it isn’t Christmas until I have seen that advert and hear those words: “We’re walking in the air, I’m sipping on an IRN-BRU”. Although both of these are both fond memories, this year I was truly blessed as my Godson was selected to sing Walking in the Air at Coventry Cathedral for their production of ‘The Snowman and the Bear’. For four minutes the world stopped in the dark cathedral as I watched him sing so perfectly and I don’t think I have had a prouder moment in my whole life. So my first desert island Christmas disc would be Walking in the Air.

My ultimate favourite cheesy Christmas number one that I just couldn’t live without would be Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin Stevens. My goodness, I love everything about this song including the cringetastic video with that awful Christmas jumper. I don’t have any special memories other than those of being with my whole extended family all sitting around with this on the Top of the Pops Christmas special, but I just so love this song.

I particularly remember the Christmas of 2003 – that was the year that my dad and his regiment were not home for Christmas because they were serving in Iraq. That year the Christmas Number One was Mad World by Michael Andrew and Gary Jules, and it really felt like a mad world and although I was the ancient age of 25, Christmas just wasn’t the same that year. It made me think of that quote from the Grinch: ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store’. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more and I really appreciate that Christmas is a time for family and being together so when I hear this song it brings goosebumps to my whole body. It just grounds me and reminds me to appreciate all that I have, just how lucky I am. When life gets a little stressful we all need these gentle reminders to embrace life and be more humble and grounded, so I need this disc to remind me too.

This leads nicely into my fourth disc and that is Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea. The reason I love this song is because, just like many people, I regularly find myself often driving home for Christmas to be with my family and even this year I will be undertaking the long 8 1/2 hour journey home to my beloved Scotland with Harry Dog by my side to be with family. I can’t wait to hit the road with my Christmas songs and, although many might think my singing may be considered animal cruelty to Harry Dog who is trapped with me, I will definitely be turning the volume up for this one.

So finally it comes to my final disc and I have saved my favourite to last – this is the song that I will definitely be playing the loudest on my journey home this Christmas and hoping not to lose my voice from over singing it and that is Sleigh Ride by the Ronettes. Now I appreciate that this was actually released in 1963 which was well before I was born, but I don’t know what it is about the sound of those sleigh bells that I just love – the rhyming verses are so cheesy and you just make the strangest faces as you head bop along to those lyrics –
Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing, ring-ting tingle-ing, too
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling “yoo hoo”
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.

I’ve never had a sleigh ride in the snow but it’s up there on my bucket list along with seeing the northern lights so fingers crossed maybe soon I’ll get the chance to and then I will have the ultimate memory to go with my ultimate desert island Christmas disc.

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