It’s that time of year again folks. What with the fridge heaving and the fat man in the red suit belting his trousers a little tighter to squeeze through modern flues and heating ducts I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. For me Christmas will always be special. Not so much because of the day itself but because of the lifetime of memories jam packed across those few days spelling out the end of the year and heralding the lead up to Spring and, my favourite – the humble daffodil.
As a child Christmas was a traditional Irish one where Christmas Eve always started with a trip across the Liffey to Henry Street. These days we have German markets but through my child’s eye they’re aren’t a patch on the annual Irish Christmas Street market. It fills Henry Street spilling across into Moore’s Street and the traditional fruit and vegetable market stalls that has been part and parcel of Dublin life for over a hundred years. Okay so the majority of goods had that best selling ‘made in China’ label on the bottom but as a child I didn’t care. As an adult I still don’t care. It’s about the sights, smells and tastes that will live in my subconscious forever.
Of course I grew up and, as a nurse Christmas took on a different flavour. Have you ever worked night duty? Have you ever worked night duty on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day night with all your family now living in a different country? I was twenty, working and alone -every Christmas since gets compared to that miserable one. But it wasn’t that miserable. I was young. I was healthy and, if you’ve ever worked on an acute medical admissions ward in a capital city over Christmas I was very busy. I remember Christmas Day morning cycling home and passing a scene from a Victorian Christmas card. There they were through the window, the parents and children circling the tree stacked with presents. Funnily enough it’s a scene I remember every Christmas especially now with children of my own. It’s not about the gifts, it’s about the memories both past and the laying down of new ones – memories to store up for when I’m a very old lady.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas.