Growing up makes you realise the true magic of Christmas.
Knowing Christmas is on its way has got me through the pandemic. It may be too early for some people to celebrate or even think about the holidays, but it is the one thing helping me keep my head up. Christmas is one of my greatest loves and that's mainly thanks to my parents. The twinkly lights, the Christmas cards waiting for you in the letterbox, the hot chocolate that warms you up as you potter around Grafton Street. The music never fails to make you smile, the smell of real Christmas trees, the sense of joy and merriment in the air. The time spent with loved ones and the never-ending supply of chocolate in the house- how could you not love it?
I've always been incredibly lucky to have a Christmas filled with magic and excitement. My postman Dad always mailed our letters to the North Pole (aka the An Post sorting centre in Dublin) we went to the Panto, decorated the tree with Christmas music playing, and woke up to presents under the tree every year, no matter what. As a child, you don't realise just how expensive and stressful Christmas can be for parents. It didn't hit me until I was an adult and I was the one in charge of buying gifts. The pressure to find the right thing before it goes out of stock. The stress of being able to afford everything on your shopping list. It is something my parents faced every year, but that didn't stop them from filling our front room in Drimnagh with perfectly wrapped gifts from Saint Nick every December 25th. I recently found a bundle of our old Santa letters at home. The pages were full of childish scribbles and promises to be as good as gold so Santa would leave Barbie dolls, new rollerblades, and Sylvanian Families under our tree. Tucked under the bundle of letters was a wad of receipts. My Mam isn't one for throwing things away, even receipts from toys purchased 20 years ago. Seeing how much money they spent on gifts for me and my two sisters really hit me. It made me realise that Christmas isn't just about the magic and joy and tins of Roses for parents. It's about making their family happy. It's about seeing their children's faces light up as they unwrap their gifts on a chilly December morning.
I don't think I ever realised just how hard it must have been for my parents to afford Christmas. It is by far the priciest holiday and they managed to do it with just one wage coming into our house. They saved, they did overtime, they made sacrifices. They probably gave up on things that they would've liked. They did it to ensure we had happy Christmases that we'd always treasure. Seeing that bundle of receipts proved that they did everything in their power to ensure we had a merry Christmas. It summarised just how much love, care, and heart goes into the holidays. All any parent wants is to see their child smile on Christmas morning, right? And of course, it isn't just about the presents but it's about making the ones who loved feel the Christmas magic. That
The real magic of Christmas isn't the toys or the lavish gifts. It's knowing the people you love, be it your parents, your boyfriend, your sister, your grandfather, your own daughter, want you to feel loved and cherished. It's the sense of hope that for this brief period of time, for these few festive days, that the people we hold dear are smiling and creating memories that will get them through the dark days, if and when they come. It's about doing whatever you can to make sure the people you care about smile. And isn't that just the sweetest gift of all?