NEW YORK (AP) -- If you want Grinches, go elsewhere. The holiday punchbowl is sweetly spicy this year at The Irish Repertory Theatre's nostalgic annual holiday show, "A Child's Christmas in Wales in Concert." Based on the writings of Dylan Thomas, about a long-ago, very snowy and magical Christmas day in Wales, the warm-hearted production is laden with holiday tunes both modern and classic.

Due to the extended run of "Dancing At Lughnasa," the spirited, December-only concert that opened Sunday night off-Broadway is staged at the Irish Rep's small black-box studio theater. The intimate setting works well with the personal tone of the show, in which five musically-accomplish ed actors are grouped onstage, ringing out holiday tunes and reciting or enacting Thomas' poetic reminiscences of boyhood Christmases.

Adapted and directed by Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore, with onstage piano accompaniment by musical director John Bell, this year's peppy show features another first-rate ensemble. Thomas' nostalgic stories, from "a time before the motor car," when perhaps "there were wolves in Wales," are spiced with mischief and touching descriptions, including a "cold postman with a rose on his button nose," and elaborate details about the feast, the predictable relatives and the fun to be had. Snow doesn't just fall, it is "shaken from whitewash buckets down the sky," and music rises from neighbors' houses "up the long, steadily falling night."

The felicitous variety of songs includes traditional carols like "Deck The Halls," lesser-known charmers like "Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake" and several songs that sound like classics but are actually written by Moore, including the heartfelt, "Take My Hand, Tomorrow's Christmas." Moore looks for the best in Christmas, and combines it beautifully with Thomas' Christmas fairytale, leaving the audience feeling as though they're tucked inside a cozy, musical snowglobe.

Eyes glinting with boyish mischief, Ashley Robinson gleefully portrays young Thomas, as he's done so well in the past. With relish, he relates colorful anecdotes about stalking cats and throwing snowballs at a Christmas house fire, breathing new life into an old ghost story and humorously singing the rollicking, "I Don't Want A Lot For Christmas."

Edwin Cahill's engaging presence lends a warm air to the proceedings, especially his stirring "White Christmas." Broadway and musical-theater veteran Howard McGillin affectingly solos in two touching songs, "All Through The Night" and "The Greatest Gift of All." Both new to the Christmas show, Beverly Ward brings cheerful energy and lovely singing to her performance, and Danielle Erin Rhodes adds bright-eyed vivacity along with a strong, clear voice.

Five modern carols end the show, with the audience invited to sing along, which leaves everyone feeling genuinely merry. This delightful holiday tradition is only running through Dec. 31.