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Unlock 12.20.18

One of my favorite holiday songs is the 25th of December by Everything but the Girl. While it’s from 1994, my strongest memory of it is from a mixed CD someone made for me the year that I turned 30. (And as you can see from the lyrics, that’s an important fact.)

Here’s what Ben Watt had to say about what he was thinking when he wrote the song, as told to Dave Steinfield in Blurt Online.

I do wanna ask you about “25th of December.” It’s so simple but so beautiful. I imagine that was also autobiographical?

Mmm-hmm. Well, obviously it’s set on Christmas Day. I think I talk about being 30 in the song. It sketches a quick picture of what Christmas was like and [also] about how your relationship with your parents remains complicated even as they get older. How it’s difficult for parents being parents. How you can be 30 and still feel you don’t know anything. And then the last verse is in a different location. It’s actually in the Oxford house, where my parents lived in their 60s. You’ll know about that because it’s in Romany and Tom. And just about how this clunkiness in your relationship with your parents keeps going on throughout your life. There’s the image of my mother: she’s stormed out of the house [and] she’s crying on the towpath, by the river. And I’m sitting at the top of the stairs, you know, angry again at how we’ve come to blows in some argument. But then feeling the urge to repair — to pick up a key that’s too big for my hands and somehow unlock this problem between us. I think in some ways [that song] is a precursor to the whole relationship with my parents in Romany and Tom.

Relationships remain difficult. And what do you do? You walk away or you try and unlock them.

While I don’t have to unlock any problem with my parents at this point in my life, I have at other times. And this song has always encouraged me to move towards unlocking and not walking away. Here are the lyrics.

And I see forests and it´s the 25th of December
And my old man plays the piano for Christmas.
He plays the piano for Christmas.

And we´re all there, all the aunties and uncles,
And the angle´s on the top of the tree.
Up there o the top of the tree.

And I never, no I never ever realised.
And I never, no I never ever realised.

Have I enough time, have I just some time,
To revisit, to go back, to return, to open my mouth again
And say something different this time.

And I see bags of newspaper and a car in the carport,
And you´re a grown up and still unsure,
And I´m thirty and I don´t know nothing no more.

And I never, no I never ever realised.
And I never, no I never ever realised.

And I´m sitting, sitting on the top of the stairs,
And you´re crying out on the towpath by the river
With all the swans and all the people walking by.

And all of a sudden I´m stuck with an urge to unlock a door
With a key that´s too big for my hands
And I drop it, and it falls at your feet.
Come on, come on, it´s there at your feet.

And I never, no I never ever realised.
And I never, no I never ever realised.

Songwriters: Ben Watt
25th December lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


Today’s Prompt:
Take your inspiration from the 25th of December by Everything But the Girl.

Everyday through December 25th, I’ll be making a 5×5 inch collage, writing a short entry on this blog and sharing a prompt for those who might want to participate along with me. You can follow my progress by subscribing to this blog through the sidebar on the blog homepage, or by following me on Instagram.

1 Comment

  1. Andrea says:

    Wow. Just watched the video. The song really takes me back, even though it’s the first time I’ve heard it. The 1990’s it is. The lyrics are really something. I love the part about the key being at (y)our feet – and the encouragement/admonishment to pick up the key, no matter how big or heavy it is . . .

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