Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Christmas Gift

It's been a tough year for everyone, but it's almost at an end. Before we go, however, we have one of the best holidays of the year to go through. I'm going to help make this one better. Well, as best as I can, anyway.

In lieu of a big post today like usual, since I'm sure my readers have many plans over the next few days, I decided that I would share with you one of my favorite pieces of Christmas from back when I was a child that continues to this day. Here is something you can share with you and yours this Christmas.

My mother introduced me to this radio show by Canadian personality Paul Reid back when I was a child. He died just before most of my readers were born in 1983 at the too young age of 56 years old, but since then his radio show, specifically his Christmas show, still gets endless play depending on where you live. There is a reason for that.

Mr. Reid's show was one that celebrated the Christmas season as one of pure joy, and he did it with a personality that easily connects with the listener. They don't make radio like this anymore.

His biography is a good one. Here's an excerpt:

Yes, you can tell he was a member of the Greatest Generation, my grandparent's (and most of my reader's grandparent's) generation, which adds a bit to the way he tells a story, especially the way he talks of his own parents. You catch a glimpse into the world that once was and it is hard not to be a little moved by how grateful he is for the life he led.

Paul Reid first came to prominence with a series of short vignettes entitled Count Your Blessings in which he talks about taking stock in the little things in life. But his popularity only grew. He became known for reading poetry and strange life stories on the air, building a rapport with his audience. He was a quiet man, but one who liked to connect with others.

His fortunes only improved until he moved to Montreal during the 1960s (yes, the Expo '67 era) and hit his peak of popularity. It is there where he created what is still his most popular creation to this day: his Christmas show.

Hearing a Paul Reid show today is strange for anyone who has grown up listening to a modern radio show. There is no contempt for the audience or condescending arrogance, no lecturing or political posturing. It's just a normal man connecting with you by telling stories anyone can understand and attempting to make your day a little better.

This is epitomized in his Christmas radio show. This was collected in an album a long time ago, but never truly re-released since though you can get a CD at his official website. It's a shame but it is available to listen to online for free.

Here is the track-listing:

Side 1
  1. My Family (04:06)
  2. Christmas Decorations (02:47)
  3. Midnight Mass (04:56)
  4. Mom (04:39)
  5. Dad (05:35)
  6. Traditions of Christmas (04:56)
Side 2
  1. The Spirit of Christmas (02:38)
  2. The Littlest Angel (19:56)
  3. From My House to Your House (04:09)

That should give you a good idea of the contents. You can hear the entire thing here. I highly recommend listening at night after everything has settled down. It's quite an experience. And yes, he talks about the Bible and Church.

Here is the official write up:

The live show revolves around Paul’s memories of Christmas while growing up as one of sixteen children. He talks reverently of his Mother and Father and how they made Christmas so special even though they were poor.

He reads other pieces as well.

The origins of the carol “Silent Night”
A sermon by Peter Marshall entitled, “Let’s Keep Christmas”.
And the favourite children’s story. The Littlest Angel”, by Charles Tazwell.

He talks about his favourite Christmas Carols and plays them all.

I'm not sure if I can sell this on you any more than saying that it deserves the popularity it has, and really connects you with a generation that has long since departed from this Earth. There isn't much else like it. Be sure to give the show a go.

I'll leave you with what is probably the most popular part of the show, Mr. Reid's reading of the old story The Littlest Angel. I know it is my mother's favorite part, ad what she used to introduce me to him at a young age.

Have a Merry Christmas, everyone, and I will see you next week!

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