Eimear Hutchinson: We're leading up to our best Christmas yet

It’s been a slow run up to Christmas, but the big day is almost here. EIMEAR HUTCHISON chats about the lead up to the festivities and an exciting few days ahead
Eimear Hutchinson: We're leading up to our best Christmas yet

It’ been a busy time prepping for Christmas, but it is a joy this year to get back to a more normal Christmas, following the past two Covid years. Picture: Stock

FOR reasons, unbeknownst to me really, this year I feel like the lead up to Christmas has been a slow burn for me, and that’s not a bad thing either.

Perhaps it’s because life in general has returned to some level of normality so there are other things to distract me like Christmas fairs and shows and the likes.

As a family, we are probably leading up to our best Christmas yet – with four believers still under the roof it is so magical, and the youngest lady is four now so she fully gets the whole concept of Christmas that really adds to the excitement.

I was slow to get the decorations up this year... well, compared with social media it felt like I was slow, but we were probably just regular humans getting our tree up the first weekend in December.

Our tree is extra special this year, my husband and I escaped to Venice for a blissful few days together before he embarks on a new career trajectory. We are exceptionally lucky to be able to count on my parents to make the trip from Sligo to mind the girls on the occasion that we need someone to step in. 

They arrived from Sligo with a perfect Christmas tree that my dad has been growing in the field behind the house for some number of years, so it is a special slice of home in our home.

I have come to accept that we are last minute shoppers when it comes to gifting - and sometimes disorganised! One year we arrived in Sligo for Christmas having left an entire bag of gifts in Cork, and last year we were looking at each other on Christmas Eve wondering which of us was supposed to have gotten the Paw Patrol toy that was not there. This year we pulled out the big guns and created an Excel spreadsheet to keep on top of things; come back to me in January and we’ll see how successful it was!

I have been slowly handmaking a few bits and pieces of Christmas décor for the house. What we had was looking a little tired, stuff we bought years ago for a house we no longer live in but haven’t really gotten around to updating; it seemed pointless in previous years between toddlers and puppies.

I’ve turned my hand to making some bits for the mantlepieces and to hang around the house, small things like banners, bunting and little knitted Christmas trees. I’m also making a table runner and matching napkins, crackers and felt hats, and a set of six stockings because our old ones are tired. 

I feel like I’m easing myself into Christmas decorating this year in a lovely, slow, mindful and creative way.

The return of normality has happily heralded the return of events and shows, from school to horse riding. I am involved with our parents’ association so our Christmas fair returned this year for the first time in three years, which was a lovely thing to be involved in. It is nice to get back to community events and gatherings as these are important outlets for adults and children alike.

Coming together as a community is something our little village is fantastic at doing, so the absence of our numerous community events was greatly felt during Covid.

It was a joy to get out as a family to a few festive events. I took the four girls to Dublin to see the panto in the Helix, we had watched it online the first year of Covid so it was really special to see it come to life before our eyes. It was absolutely fantastic, the girls are still singing the songs and chanting the phrases. We haven’t managed to make it to a Cork panto yet so that is on the agenda for the new year.

We also got to visit Santa, this time last year I was worried we would miss out because of Covid but then the girls all went and got chicken pox, so we missed out anyway. This year it all went to plan and was lovely, we went to see him in Leahy’s Farm on a cold, frosty evening.

I am skirting around the fringes of an illness at the moment, the usual cough and sore throat type thing I battle with every year. So, before I head off to take another shot of salty water, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

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