Lines 1 - 14

The first eight lines establish the setting in a well known street in Glasgow. The present tense is use to allow us to feel as though we are witnessing the events with the speaker.

The speaker describes the cold evening, the trio of people and lists the items they carry (a guitar, a baby and a chihuahua). A comparison is invited between the trio and the three wise men, who brought gifts to celebrate and honour the birth of Jesus.

These three also carry gifts - the guitar represents the gift of giving that we so associate with Christmas, while the baby represents Jesus and the chihuahua alludes to the animals present at the birth of Christ.

Extending this analogy, the Christmas lights referred to could symbolise the star followed by the original Magi to illuminate their destination. The next five lines offer a description of the items the trio carry. The chihuahua is wrapped in a tartan coat, the baby in a white shawl and the guitar in a plastic cover topped with a sprig of mistletoe.

Buchanan Street at Christmas in 1967
Buchanan Street at Christmas in 1967

Morgan uses a metaphor as he describes the trio, revealing that their breath rises/in a cloud of happiness. Their breath becomes a cloud of joy and delight. This is particularly effective at establishing the positive mood of the poem. The breath of the group seems to envelop and protect them. The excited optimism of the trio seems to be almost infectious and the speaker delights in their exuberance.

The voice of the young man is heard in the colloquial exclamation, Wait till he sees this but! The use of the grammatically erroneous “but” at the end of the sentence captures the Glaswegian dialect and reveals how eager he is to see the reaction of the gift's recipient.

This mood is continued in the description of the chihuahua which is wrapped in a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-holder. This simile is light-hearted and compliments the hopeful mood established earlier in the poem.

The brightly-coloured coat becomes something whimsical and slightly ridiculous in a good-natured way. Like the chihuahua, the guitar and baby are also covered and protected in some way, revealing how precious and well cared for they are.

The young baby is also described with a simile, bright eyes and mouth like/favours in a fresh sweet cake. This simile is effective because it compares the baby’s features to favours or treats on a wedding cake.

This baby then, just like a wedding becomes a symbol of love and hope. During this section, Morgan’s word choice also contributes to the positive mood. The "milky" cover on the guitar (a white colour, like that of the baby’s shawl) symbolises innocence and purity.

The mistletoe becomes a brisk sprig, brisk suggests vitality and liveliness. This adjective, used to describe the greenery, also conveys the energy, vigour and purposefulness in the trio's movements on this cold, crisp evening.