Do they know it’s Christmas? Yes. Yes, they do.

I’m back in Britain for a long Christmas break. The streets are full of fairy lights, trees are in windows and everything is covered with a thin layer of snow.

The shops – busy as ever, despite the recession – play an endless stream of Christmas songs. Noddy Holder must make a packet.

It was similar in Nairobi as I was doing last bits of shopping before coming home for Christmas. It was impossible to go to Nakumatt without hearing Cliff Richard’s ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ or The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’. Someone had clearly bought a Christmas greatest hits song and stuck it on repeat.

So, while standing in the queue I heard  a classic from 1984 booming out. Do they know it’s Christmas? Yes. Yes, they do.

Just in case you’re ever stuck in a queue at an African supermarket at Christmastime and want to sing along, here are the lyrics

It’s Christmastime / There’s no need to be afraid

At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade

And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy

Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer / Pray for the other ones

At Christmastime it’s hard, but when you’re having fun

There’s a world outside your window / And it’s a world of dread and fear

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears

And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime

The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life

(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows / No rain nor rivers flow

Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

(Here’s to you) raise a glass for everyone

(Here’s to them) underneath that burning sun

Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Feed the world / Feed the world / Feed the world

Let them know it’s Christmastime again

Feed the world

Let them know it’s Christmastime again

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One response to “Do they know it’s Christmas? Yes. Yes, they do.

  1. Incredible. I guess they couldn’t get away with that now…or sadly maybe they could. For the record, Christmas here in Abidjan is full of; doom, fear, dread, and nothing ever grows. Er…

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