16 Days Until Christmas

Today, a Christmas song for the atheists and agnostics from singer-songwriter Tim Minchin. Yep, a non-Christian who loves Christmas. For Tim, Christmas is still a time to gather with family and share the love. He just doesn’t care about the religious part. As the lyrics say, “It’s sentimental, I know, but I just really like it.”

As in a lot of Tim’s songs, it starts out flippant but will sneak up on you. That’s especially true for 2020, when so many of us can’t gather or have lost someone we love. Tim’s from Australia, so his holiday is already different from the northern hemisphere. December means the beach, not snow and scarves. Tim’s song is “White Wine in the Sun.” This version is from 2008.

Each year, Tim donates all November, December, and January proceeds from sales of the song to charity. For 2020, it’s Aspect, Australia’s largest national service provider for people on the autism spectrum.

Tim wrote “White Wine in the Sun” in 2006 when his daughter was just a few weeks old. She’s a teenager now. Over the years, Tim has changed one lyric. What was originally “I’d rather break bread with (Richard) Dawkins than Desmond Tutu to be honest” has become “I’d rather dance with the devil than Desmond Tutu to be honest.” Here’s Tim on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in 2017.

You might recognize Tim from “Californication,” several live tours as Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” or as Friar Tuck in the 2018 version of “Robin Hood” (the one with Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx). He also wrote the music and lyrics for Broadway shows “Matilda: The Musical” and “Groundhog Day.”

Tim had named his new album “Apart Together” even before COVID-19, but made this video while in lockdown with family, including his filmmaker sister and her husband, “(b)oth a capital-C Creative (in the ad industry) and a small-c creative.” This is “Airport Piano.”