Don`t You Dare Miss «Christmas In the Heart!»

By Stein Arne Nistad

When I first heard about Dylan’s Christmas project, I must admit I thought it was a joke. When it was released, I was ecstatic. A few years later the album is regarded as the ultimate Christmas album. Not by myself, but by my wife and children. They simply love it! And after all, it is easy to understand:

First of all, Christmas In the Heart is not a Dylan original. The fifteen tracks are picked mostly from the American Christmas tradition and include songs like “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “Winter Wonderland”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” among others. The album gives a kind of Dylan meets Disney, Sinatra and Andrew Sisters feeling. Dylan simply made a Christmas record true to a musical heritage from the forties and fifties – easy to like and easy to love. The choir arrangements remind me of Disney’s “zippi du dua”-song. In fact, I never expected to associate any of Dylan’s work with that kind of music.  It`s like going back, but not all the way …

Still it makes a kind of sense. American Christmas songs and records from that period sounded like that. Dylan sings and arranges them in a way that is true to the songs musical origin. Still the album has a modern touch. Dylan is singing nice and is really into it. His rusty voice filled with patina and age makes a very interesting contrast to the in many ways well known arrangements. Compare Dylan’s album to any other “old men’s Christmas effort” like this year’s Rod Stewart Christmas album. Compared to Rod, Dylan’s is simply more into it. Bobs voice adds a new and sometimes unexpected feeling to the songs. He makes the songs his own and brings them to a new level.  If Santa or Father Christmas has a voice, Dylan is probably the closest we ever get to hear it.

Obviously Dylan had a good time in the studio. It’s a lot of energy in the band and in Dylan’s performances. The record is packed with instruments spanning from accordion, steel guitars to strings, bells and drums. “Must be Santa” is probably the only polka and the most up-tempo song Dylan ever has recorded. The video is another story. It is hilarious and great fun. The band is backed by the four men and three women strong “Mixed Voice Singer”. They do a fantastic job bringing this record sounding like it was recorded back in the fifties. It is easy to recognize an underlying quality in almost every one of the songs. Dylan’s genius comes true and all of the songs on the record grow on everyone lending an ear.

Releasing a Christmas album was in my opinion the most unexpected, weird and surreal thing Dylan ever has done. Some of the songs are pure joy – based on good musical craftsmanship. Some of the songs express a kind of enjoyable madness. Some are wonderful emotional highlights. Some are statements about eternity – and beyond … As Christmas is a mystery – the record works and “Christmas In the Heart” is important in many families Christmas tradition!  “Christmas in the Heart” is an ultimate Dylan holyday masterpiece. It`s not good – it`s fantastic.  The best thing is that my joy is shared by my wife and children. My six year old daughter is just hitting the play again button – over, and over again!

Don`t You Dare to celebrate Christmas without «Christmas In the Heart!»

New book: The age of YOU!

A rough guide to social networks and the connected society

A book by Stein Arne Nistad


I am one of those people who believe that the invention of the Internet in all its simplicity is one of the greatest technical innovations created by mankind. It is hard to imagine how our modern society could function without this global infrastructure, which connects everyone and everything together. And now it is happening again. Many talk of social media as a new, major revolution, more important than many previous historical events. Fortunately history itself has a way of defining what is right, wrong, important and unimportant. The fact is that the new social media change society radically and fundamentally in many areas. As Internet guru Clay Shirky accurately puts it: When we change the way we communicate, society changes. I would add that:
When society changes – everything changes.
Social media change the way we communicate. They change society and break away from established rules about communication, relationships and the way we do business with each other. These media also contribute to power shifts. It is no longer the sender who is in charge, but increasingly each one of us. We can determine which network we want to be a part of, who we communicate with and what we want to receive and share. We are on the threshold of a society where each individual can define their relationship and their own role in a global relationship-based world. And this opens up dizzying perspectives of self organisation, a wide open society and democratisation. When society changes, so do the rules of play: Welcome to the connected society.

About the book

With this book I have tried to provide a simple explanation of social media and the growth of the connected society: what it is, the principles it/they have been founded on and how, by using models and different approaches, we can improve our understanding of their relationships and structures, and exploit the opportunities they bring.

The book is based on popular science and my own experience. It describes knowledge and experience gained from a wide range of social media projects completed for international companies, and an extensive career within IT and communications.

Social media are basically a fusion of technology and communication. They enable relationships and social networks to be established, which means their field of operation is wide. This presents its own set of chalenges within communication, technology, psychology and sociology. In other words, social media comprise a new and exciting specialist field.

This book examines concepts, experiences, challenges and opportunities. The important ethical, psychosocial and legal aspects of social media are covered to a less extent – and have thus been left for others to write about.

About the author

Stein Arne Nistad is a consultant director for the communications agency Itera Gazette. He works with strategic questions and challenges associated with Internet and social media, and have led several major projects in this area. He is and has been a consultant for the Norwegian government, McDonalds, Tetrapak, Spar International, Aker Solutions, Nera, Q-Free etc. He leads Den Norske Dataforeningen's technical group for social media and has published several books, chronicles and numerous articles. He is educated in IT at the University of Oslo, and has 25 years experience as a consultant and manager in the IKT and communications industry.

ISBN 978-82-998754-2-4 (Hardcopy)
ISBN 978-82-998754-3-1 (E-book)
200 pages. Paperback.

The book is due for international release in the first quarter of 2013. However a few digitally printed copies are available for international customers at NOK 350 ($60) including international postage and packaging.

Order The age of you NOK 350 [wp_cart:AgeOfYou:price:350:end]

  • Really interesting. There is a major need for this type of literature. Anne Grethe Solberg, Sociologist and Doctor PH. D.
  • I have read many books on social media, particularly in the last year, where I have read almost everything about the subject. This is by far the best book on social media. Inger Line Skjerve, Master student, BI :
  • Brilliant! Impressed that it is possible to write so much about relationships without it being nonsense. Cathrine Grimstad, Community Manager Visma