Every year I dream

Me in 1958, already dreaming my Christmas dream

Me in 1958, already dreaming my Christmas dream

Lyrics from the song A Christmas Dream by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Recorded by Perry Como
(You can listen to the song and see some beautiful Christmas photos here.)

Watch me now, here I go, all I need’s a little snow
Starts me off, sets the theme, helps me dream my Christmas dream
Every year I dream it, hoping things will change
An end to the crying, the shouting, the dying

And I hope you will dream it too
It’s Christmas, remember?  We’ve got to remember
The whole world needs a Christmas dream
We need it to warm us, to calm us, to love us
To help us to dream our Christmas dream.

I fell in love with this song instantly, on first hearing a bit of it in the movie The Odessa File in 1974.  I searched for a copy of it for years until I finally found it online.  I have listened to it countless times, every Christmas season since.  For me, it captures so many of the emotions I feel at this time every year.  It’s filled with the optimistic merriment of Christmas, but acknowledges wistfully that so many things are not as they should be.  I hope this song will help you dream a few dreams of your own.


  1. Eric Hedden

    Andrew Lloyd Webber has lyrics that can chill the heart. In the ones you just quoted are the words “An end to the crying, the shouting, the dying.” I have the same visceral reaction to the change from beauty to horror in a song from Les Miserables: “. . .I dreamed that love would never die; I dreamed that life would be forgiving. But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder; as they tear your hope apart. . .” and the coup de gras in the final words of the later song – “now life has killed the dream I dream.”

    • Eric, I love that song “I Dreamed a Dream” and was especially happy that Susan Boyle broke so many records with her version of it. A Christmas Dream ends on a much more optimistic note, though. Optimism tempered by reality, as discussed elsewhere on this blog.

  2. Wow!!! I didn’t know “A Christmas Dream” was a Webber song!!! No wonder I love it so!
    What an appropriate song especially for this year. Thank you. These little “sharings” are what make Christmas for me.
    Of course, I love the picture too. Wonderful childhood memories.

    • Carla, I just found out that Webber wrote the song when I was researching it last week for this blog…my exact reaction was “No wonder!” The song is definitely one of my very favorite Christmas songs, and that’s saying quite a lot since there are so many I love.

  3. jholley1954

    Now that’s the Julia I remember. When you have time, send more of those “oldies, but goodies”. Love ya, cuz.

    • Thanks Judy! It’s so nice to hear from someone who has known me all my life. Hope you and Joseph are having a wonderful holiday season.

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    1958. I am a couple of years older and I remember those Philco TV sets like the one behind you in the background. Must have weighed about 300 pounds and could have bruised your shoulder if it fell over. Definitely not a flat screen. The Rifleman was my favorite show.

    • I can remember the beginning of that show (starring Chuck Connors demonstrating his skills with rapid firing). I don’t remember ever watching the actual show, but I guess I saw the starting enough times to remember that very well.

  5. I’ve always considered Christmas Dream a very upbeat song…as you say, tempered with reality. To my mind, the best kind of optimism.

    • Definitely. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes, but worth the effort.

  6. I love this photo and the song is soooo appropriate. I also love the song “No news to print today.” I hold out hope that one day that will be a reality.

    • I’ve never heard of that song! If it’s a country/western song, that would explain why I’ve never heard it. πŸ™‚

      • “Hoping things will change. An end to the crying the shouting, the dying. . .” See one year into the future from the date of this blog.

        • Yes, perhaps the most appealing thing about Christmas is its connection with our deep longing for a level of bliss we have never known to exist on this earth, yet somehow feel MUST exist somewhere, if only in eternity. Meanwhile, we dream of that time, and do what we can to get closer to it here.

  7. Eric Hedden

    I do not know what Mr. Bertoglio’s involvement with the Viet Nam era was, but I couldn’t help but notice that Julia discovered “The Christmas Dream” song while anti-war songs were still very popular. From Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “If I had a Hammer”, to The Association’s “Requiem for the Masses”, to the amazingly beautiful weaving of “The Canticle” into Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair”; there were many words that called for an “end to the dying”. I, too, have many happy memories from the fifties. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0686657/ provides an example of something already referred to.) By the early 1970’s, I had become very proficient at dropping Napalm. Though, thankfully, I never had to go to combat, Julia and I had some spirited debates over the whole thing. And stiill wished “A Merry Christmas” to each other.

    • Eric, the songs you mention are all favorites of mine (though admittedly I have many favorites) and to that list you could add Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” which did not give any answers, only raised the questions already on almost everyone’s mind. But of all these mentioned, “Requiem for the Masses” is probably my favorite. I don’t think it ever attained the recognition it deserved, but it was (in my mind anyway) a masterpiece. It refers to a question as well, but more indirectly: “He never asked, he was taught not to ask, but was on his lips as they buried him.” During the Persian Gulf war, you were able to explain a bit more to me about why you were willing to become a fighter pilot, and being an Air Force wife myself by that time, I understood that no one hates war more than a soldier or sailor or airman. Spending so much time at Walter Reed/Bethesda now, where we see so many “Wounded Warriors,” I realize that is still as true as it ever was.

      • Re: “no one hates war more than a soldier or sailor or airman”: I submit this quote from John Stuart Mill – “β€œWar is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

        • An interesting quote from Mill; I don’t remember ever reading it before. I wonder what he would have thought about the draft vs. an all-volunteer force. The latter has its merits, but would seem to encourage the sort of people that Mill so vehemently criticizes. However, I don’t believe he himself ever served in a military force. There are those who believe wars would be entered into more cautiously if the draft was still in force, and I think there is merit to that argument. Still, that’s another discussion for different type of blog than this. If I hope to defeat despair, I must entertain more hopeful thoughts. πŸ™‚ Back to the Christmas Dream!

          • I suppose all bloggers face the chance someone could hijack the flow, and turn it in a different direction. I am sorry that I let the few words about the Christmas Dream putting an end to the shouting, the crying, the dying take me into a world that was not bright and beautiful. I look forward to all your posts!

            • That’s OK, part of defeating despair is facing up to it, as a previous post discussed. It’s good to face it and acknowledge it, but ultimately we do not want to let it control the direction of our thoughts. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” II Corinthians 4:8-9, a favorite passage.

  8. Thanks for sharing that Julia, I’d never heard it before. Fantastic light displays included too. What a great vintage photo too, you’re so teeny. I’m laughing at the television, I’ve seen people change the chases into aquariums or cat beds. They’re so cool looking. We sure have come a long ways in a short time. Let’s hope medical miracles are allowed to do the same.

    • That TV is so classic. It’s probably the same one I remember from later in my childhood. By then it had lost the knobs and we had to get pliers to change the channels! Which we didn’t have to do very much since there were only 3, and that was only because we lived in the city! YES, we have come a very long ways. Medicine has come a long ways too, though cancer treatment still feels very barbaric. I have to keep reminding myself that ten or twenty years ago Jeff would not have even gotten anything except palliative treatment, as he would have been seen as a hopeless case. I do hope we live to see the day when people talk about chemotherapy, radiation and radical surgery with a shudder, kind of like we do now about leeches! πŸ™‚


  1. Sensations more painful | Defeat Despair

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