In depictions of an old-style rural Christmas certain images recur – carol-singers trudging through the snow to visit farmsteads and cottages on Christmas Eve, visitors and travellers seeking refuge from the cold, shepherds outdoors guarding their flocks, and by way of contrast, warm cottages, village merrymakings and convivial alehouses. In their new Christmas show the Mellstock Band visit all of these, with tales from Thomas Hardy and his contemporaries brought to life in song and music.

The band perform in their 1840s Sunday-best clothes, playing songs, carols and dances from original sources on village band instruments of the time – fiddle, clarinet, concertina and serpent.