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Gratuitous Gratitudity

by Tim 21st Dec 2009 | 48 comments

And so the mission to get my sentimental, atheistic, southern-hemispherical Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun, into the UK charts was a massive success!

Well, it was to me, anyway.

Sure, it didn’t exactly end up ruffling the feathers of Joe’s X-factorial Miley Cyrus cover, nor the teen-angst anarchanthem that, were it a person, would be old enough to drive its grandma’s Volvo, but the odds on it making a real impact on the Christmas charts were always very, very slim, like a post-apocalyptic shopping-mall Santa with gastro, or an Olsen twin.

After all, I only thought to give it a push about a week before they stopped counting, and we were competing against dozens of songs that are played dozens of times a day on dozens of radio stations. Oh, and it’s 6.5 minutes long and doesn’t specifically promote the idea that Jesus is magic.

But I am so very, VERY chuffed by the responses to the song and the amazing support from my frickin’ ace Twitter followers and Facebook folk and fancy celeb-types like Wossy and Gaiman and Mills and Bacon and Wallace and Herring and Brooker and Serafinowicz and, well loads of nice, good people who felt that my song was a reasonably pleasant musical contribution to the festive season.

To everyone who did so, thanks so much for downloading and enjoying.

As you may know, 50% of proceeds from the sale of the song during December will go to the National Autistic Society to support their efforts to further understand and treat Autism. And although our fucking cracking attempt to climb the charts is now over, there’s still 10 days left in the month! So please continue to let people know that the song is available.

(The other 50% goes to me, because I live in a small flat with a devastating paucity of closet space.)

Merry Christmas and peace be with you.
xx tim.

The single can be bought from:

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Gordon on 27th of December 2016

Just heard it this year, living in North America where the corporate powers that be have totally buried merry Christmas under the more inclusive, bland, but much more marketable, happy holidays,I found the concept of an atheist writing the most touching Christmas song I’ve heard too wonderful. Religious people wold have you believe that faith provides the only frame for love and family. I teared up when I heard it. I hope you drink a lot of white wine in the sun with your family,especially Violet.
Gordon from the great white north

Rebekka on 4th of April 2010

this song makes me whish i liked white wine…

Cara on 30th of January 2010

I know this is very, very late but – congratulations! xxx

lucy on 13th of January 2010

i loved this song and you are a genius
PLEASE do a tour in england and play any where near the east midlands so i can come and see you

Sioned-Mair Richards on 11th of January 2010

David Tennant obviously got the message !

Kerry Evans on 10th of January 2010


I have two autistic sons 13 and 19. They are as manic as you! WOndered how you became interested in autism? Just watched your show for first time – awesome as my 13 year old daughter would say. She did play the keyboard and has starting composing melancholy songs on it till my son did a Mick Jagger impersoniation and threw it around the room and poured water over it. Anyway you cheered me up on a snowy day as I could not go outdoors today – I needed a husky not a wheelchair to push my son! Keep making me laugh.

Kerry Evans

Rachel on 9th of January 2010

My partner really likes this song (and was v. pleased that DT likes it too). Thanks

gwen on 9th of January 2010

Tim, it took me a week to get my son to listen to your songs! We are now BOTH avid fans. I would love to see you in concert when you come to the USA. I live in the California Bay Area. Please plan to have a concert here! I can’t wait for your new stuff!

lyam morland on 8th of January 2010

hey tim love the music, you are an inspired comedien go tim mate

catherine on 6th of January 2010

Dr. Who picked your song on Desert Island Discs


Patrick on 6th of January 2010

Tim, after listening to that song, may I say that you truely are the closest living thing to God. I love you and all your ingenious songs and you also have a growing number of stalkers at my school. Hope you have a brilliant new year!

Graham on 5th of January 2010

I discovered this on Desert Island Discs. I found it really moving and I keep playing it.

Thanks so much…..and I write as a Methodist Minister (and a human being- sometimes they exist in the same person) in the Northern hemisphere…still think I really ‘got’ this song though…it was the bit about kids (I also have small ones) that got to me.

Loved the bit about the dead palestinian pressed into service to sell playstations..

Stephanie Vick on 4th of January 2010

Thanks for saying what I’m thinking. Being an intelligent atheist in America is lonely. My husband and I are in LOVE with you!!!

Pluteus on 3rd of January 2010

Nothing you don’t already know, David Tennant chose your wonderful song as his “Desert Island Disc” on BBC, pity he hadn’t been on earlier in December – sales would have gone through the proverbial!
Amazing song and an amazing cause – keep up the good work!

Lynn Massey-Davis on 1st of January 2010

Wow, what a brilliant song. I only heard it today when David Tennant chose it as one of his Desert Island discs and went straight to i tunes and bought it. Thank you also for whatever you have raised for NAS I have an autistic son and the NAS is a brilliant campaigning organisation

Shannon McClendon on 30th of December 2009

I found this song via a great web site about parenting without religion (http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?cat=32). I wish I’d found it sooner! I’m just an almost-urban mom, but I did send a link to everyone I know and put it up on all the yahoo groups I belong to. It’s now my second favorite christmas song (sorry, it couldn’t displace #1, Jill Sobule’s cover of Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas From the Family”). Thanks and good luck!

Shaun S on 29th of December 2009


Nevermind the rest of the world. We all know what should have been number one ;)

alan gaudry on 28th of December 2009

i heard the song on david tennants ‘desert island discs’ today on bbc iplayer ‘listen again’.
the song made a big impact. the tale above – this is just what seems to be in character with the sentiments of the song and the open honest theme of the work of yours that i’ve seen so far.
well done ……

Louisa on 27th of December 2009

I play this every year. My own “blue eyed daughter” (between 21 and 31)has spent yet another Christmas 9000 miles from home. With tears in our eyes and playing this song her brother and sister, her Dad and Mum drank a toast, in white wine, to her and wait for her in the sun.

Tim on 25th of December 2009

At the risk of repeating what others have already said, this is a great song. Maybe its just the time of year, or maybe the song just manages to compact and articulate all my sentiments and feelings about christmas into 6 most lovely minutes and is delivered with such heart felt honesty, but this brings tears; the sort that ‘won’t stop, but thats ok because nothing bad has happened’, to my eyes.

so, thanks for it.
merry christmas x

Cyri on 24th of December 2009

That’s awesome Tim! :3
Congrats! <3

Di on 24th of December 2009

It’s stunning! I’ve facebooked it and will write it up on the website too. Stunning because I’m a blue-eyed kiwi ‘girl’ a long way from home and you took me from being amused to weepy. It’s beautiful. I’ll buy it, as soon as I work out iTunes …

I hope my small contribution helps out with the closet space, and have a lovely Christmas. Oh and thanks for making me so terribly heart-wrenchingly homesick.

Kate on 24th of December 2009

Thank you so much for spreading your music. I love your Christmasy song and it’s so nice to hear an xmas song that ISN’T about Jesus and God and all of that. Thanks again and have a wonderful Christmas. xxx

Matt on 23rd of December 2009

You really hit the mark with this. Funny and thought-provoking in equal measure, with a beautiful melody underneath.

Have a great Christmas and New Year, and enjoy that wine…

Linzy on 23rd of December 2009


The charity in question is the National Autistic Society, who are not set out trying to cure or treat autism, simply to try and understand the condition better and offer support to those that are affected by it. More information can be found on their website: http://www.autism.org.uk/


Interstellar Overdrive on 23rd of December 2009

Although I like ‘White Wine In The Sun’, I’m glad I’m now glad I didn’t have the time to download it and have changed my plans to download it all together, being autistic, I know the condition needs no treatment, as it not a disease or disability and fell sorry for those people try to cure, though no treatment will work, autism simply meaning someone has a different brain design to that of a so called normal person and doesn’t mean they’re the same, except for some problem.

Gib on 22nd of December 2009

Thanks partially to this song, I’ve decided to drag my pregnant wife back to Perth for the birth instead of having it in London. I don’t make it in time for Christmas though….

Lucy Cohen on 22nd of December 2009

I actually cried when I heard this song for the first time at Hammersmith Apollo (In a good way!)! As always your work is irrefutably poignant, lyrically ingenious and muscially, um, catchy. Win!

Amy Stamp on 22nd of December 2009

Full-on love the song Tim, would have been jolly nice to have a song with a real meaning for Christmas No#1 but ho hum pigs bum. Nice to hear about the money going to the National Autistic Society, I’m sure you’ll help give them some nice Christmasnessy times. So I shall listen to your beautiful song, sneak some white wine from my Mum and pretend that it is sunny; darn ye olde english weather.

mimbles on 22nd of December 2009

Merry Christmas Tim :-) It’s a fabulous song, made me laugh and cry and perfectly embodies how I feel about Christmas.

Maggie on 21st of December 2009

First heard about you on twitter two weeks ago. Loved your Xmas song on Youtube. Noted there you have quite a body of work so checked that out. Very impressed! Chose to use a link to White Wine in the Sun as my Xmas email greeting this year. Now three of us have tickets to your concert in Adelaide on Feb 20th. Look out for the oldest folk in the crowd.

Molly on 21st of December 2009

Well done, m’love. Much deserved win! Am glad this drive managed to work so well and I’m sure you’ve touched more people than you could’ve ever imagined – in an tug at the heart kind of way, not in a sleazy old man kinda way.
I love ya and hope your christmas is filled with christmas cheer including love, happiness, good food and of course, much white wine in the sun.

Horse - Hannah on 21st of December 2009

Onya, Timmy. Have a warm fuzzy Xmas with your fam. xx

cooljooles on 21st of December 2009

Lovely of you to leave this message for all your fans. I downloaded it twice and also was very happy to hear it played on the mainstream radio. Also got one of my Queen fan pals on facebook to download it. Wish we could have got it higher. Maybe next week? Have a wonderful Christmas!

Cathryn... on 21st of December 2009

yeii….congrats..glad to be part of your succsess, woop woop. Anyways do u know what number u got up to ? Above 50 ? Love Ya x

Laura C on 21st of December 2009

Tim, thank you for donating the money to Autism research. Harrison had a really difficult day today and it was stressful and unpleasant all round. Then I remembered the thing that ‘makes him shine’. So we played your CD on full blast and the happy boy came back. Can’t tell you what a huge difference it makes. Thank you x

elainepixie and andypic on 21st of December 2009

Thanks for this message Tim. Glad you were pleased with the result of the campaign to get your amazing music into a more diverse selection of ear’oles. It was disproportionately exciting to hear such a beautiful song with such thoughtful lyrics on UK Radios 1 and 2 and, in the case of Radio 1, well worth enduring the hour and a half of excruciating popcrap and banter that went beforehand ;-)

And much respect for generously pledging half the December proceeds to Autism research.

Keep up the good work and have a fabulous Christmas! x

Charlotte Batchelor on 21st of December 2009

Love the song Tim! Only wish I had downloaded more than my 3 copies! It would have been nice to actually have a song with meaning for Xmas Number One but ho hum. Will toast to your continued success with a glass of white wine in the freezing bloody snow on Xmas day…
Lots of love

Claire Neville on 21st of December 2009

Congratulations. Boy done good.,. Pleased to have been part of the quest (if only in a dowloading multiple times kinda way)

Much love and festive stuff

Jancey on 21st of December 2009

The song is lovely and makes me think of my niece who moved to Australia in 2008.Keep up the fantastic work and I hope to get to see you in concert soon. Hope you and your family have a great Christmas and a peaceful 2010 x x

Mark on 21st of December 2009

Great song! I’m glad you’re happy with the outcome. Would have been nice to have got it higher, but given the mad charts at this time of year I think we all did well. Have a lovely festive period Tim, family & fans.

maggz on 21st of December 2009

Great song, Tim, thanks :)

It’s worth remembering that Amazon doesn’t count towards chart position (got to cost more than 40p for the UK chart)

Batbug. on 21st of December 2009

Amazing song Tim : ) it makes me smile, makes me want a mince pie & a deck chair in the sun to sit on with friends…keep up your style xoo

Scar on 21st of December 2009

Fantastic, it rocks :)

clarisaxy on 21st of December 2009

It was worth the effort and this response from you is gracious and spirit-lifting.

Shepherd_of_sins on 21st of December 2009

It’s also available from HMV.co.uk, which is where I purchased my d/l copy from.

It’s a truly gorgeous song, with a wonderful sentiment, and I’m proud to be a Minchin pusher to friends and followers on FB, Twitter, and a couple of other smaller online locations.

howlie, on 21st of December 2009

A lovely song and well worth it.
And nice that there’s money going for autism research too.

estraven on 21st of December 2009

Love the song, love love love it. It speaks to me! I put a link on Facebook, featured it on my blog (which has about 6 readers, okay, nothing big but still …), and told everyone I know about it. I was totally irritated with my daughter who “loved the words, but not the music”!! What’s not to like?? No accounting for taste. Keep up the good work. Love ya.

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