Monday, December 29, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Long past the days of excitement and anticipation of Santa and presents and selection boxes, the strongest memory I have of Christmas in my own home is the overall sense of peace and tranquility that permeates my mother’s house on Christmas Eve. The shopping, the cleaning, the chopping and prepping is complete – nothing more will be done tonight and she’s enjoying one of the few tipples she’ll have over the holidays (not so for the rest of us!). The overhead light is off, the fire is lighting as well as the candle in the window to welcome us all one by one either from out of town, from work or the pub, from mass or to drop off a plate for tomorrow. The house smells like Christmas. The ham is cooked and we’ve been warned not to go near it but nothing can keep me from picking off a few chunks and burning my finger tips in the process. Salty and hot and delicious. “Is it too salty? I steeped it overnight” “No Mam, it’s perfect.” “Get away from it now or there will be none left for tomorrow”. But I know that ham will stretch long past St. Stephen’s Day and I'm making sure the second taste is as good as the first.
There’s probably music playing and the TV is muted with a familiar film or mass from the Vatican. A neighbor or a relative drops by with a tin of biscuits; “will you have a drink?” “Oh, only a short one Jim, we’ve got a few more stops to make tonight.” When a few of us gather we might even break into song - not quite the picture perfect family gathered around the piano but we can string a tune together and debate whether we'll open up another bottle of wine.
I know families celebrate Christmas differently and our little international family has blended traditions which we celebrate equally but I just want to say that while I'm in the middle of the high jinx and bustle of Christmas Eve here (this year dressed like an elf!) I will be thinking of the Christmas Eve calm back home, humming "Fairytale of New York" and no doubt finding something equally tasty to pick at.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Sunday, November 30, 2014
This time last year we were in Ireland and Eamon got to experience a very important part of my childhood, a highlight of Christmas - the Late Late Toy Show, the serious chat show which we weren't allowed to watch was taken over once a year for kids. We were washed and pajama-ed and allowed to stay up late to watch the show (it usually runs till 11.30), it show cases all the new toys and games of the year and I loved it. I still love it and there must be so many people like me around the world that RTE live streams it and records it. Well, I just think that today I may stay in pajamas and watch the show - perhaps have a bit of eggnog and gingerbread and welcome the Christmas season in.