This song, written by Ian Anderson
, is included on the compilation album (B-Sides Singles and live material) Living In The Past
. With a dose of Ian's humor and sarcasm, the song takes a poke at the materialism and gluttony that surround the Christmas season.
Anderson is not opposed to Christmas, just the parts of it that have been corrupted. In 2003, the band released The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
, which contained this song along with other tracks that were either overtly ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") or tangentially ("Bourée") related to the holiday. Also included on the album is "Ring Out, Solstice Bells
," which celebrates the winter solstice. In an introduction to the album, Anderson writes: "I'm not exactly a practicing paid-up Christian but I have grown up and lived with a so-called Christian society for 55 years and still feel great warmth for the nostalgia, festive occasion and family togetherness, so much a part of that time of year. Maybe without Christmas we would have that much less to celebrate and enjoy in this troubled old world. But it's really all the Winter Solstice and the re-birth of nature overlaid with the common sense and righteous teachings of Mr. C.
A Christmas in this modern world should, in my view, accommodate the leisure needs and affections of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics, as well as Fido the family dog and Felix the cat. Throw in a few lost cousins and that dreadful man from next door and you have it! Sip the sloe gin, pull a cracker (so long as she's not the daughter of that dreadful man from next door), kiss and cuddle under the mistletoe, toss Vegan disciplines aside, gobble the turkey (steady on, now) and have a therapeutic respite from the rigors of daily life.
Christmas – an aspirin for the soul or cold-turkey celebration of the birth and life of Christ? It has to be a measured bit of both, doesn't it?"