Monday 30 November 2015

Bah Humbug. Not Really

This weekend at an overnight stay in Galway, the guy at reception was full of chat with the boys.  They lapped it up.  Then he asked them were they tired because they watched the Late Late Toy Show the night before.  Lovely Liam piped up, “We don’t actually know what that is.”
The poor guy behind the reception desk.  His face was a picture.  All kinds of incredulous and disbelief. 

It’s true.  My boys have never seen TLLTS.  I think the oldest one is aware of its existence but other than that, he has no interest in it.  The youngest two would never be able to keep their eyes open – in fact Smallest Boy issued his “bring me up” instruction at approximately 8pm Friday night.  It means he is tired and he wants me to take him up to his bed and tuck him in.

The Late Late Toy Show is not the only Christmas tradition we don’t partake in.  We don’t pose for pictures with Santa nor do we do the Santa trails.  My boys have never been to a panto or ice skating.

The Christmas tree goes up mid-December and I do my best to take it down before New Year’s Day.    

I’ve never cooked a turkey.  Last year I served a fancier than usual roast chicken for our Christmas dinner. The boys loved their Viennetta ice-cream with sherry trifle for desert and had a great time pulling crackers.  They declared it one of the best dinners ever.  This year I think T-bone steak is on the menu and the boys have expressed a strong interest in egg fried rice as part of their meal.

We don’t visit other people on Christmas day.  We stay in our own home.   The boys’ aunties come to us for maybe an hour in the morning to distribute much awaited for presents. 

I used to make a big deal out of putting up the Christmas tree.  But everyone got bored after ten minutes and wandered off so I keep it all very low key now.

One year I spent almost thirty euros on a turkey crown and there were maybe four slices carved from it.  It was a total waste.

The boys like to stay at home Christmas Day and play with their presents, watch TV, dip into the bowls of chocolate sweets and just chill.

So do I.  

I suppose those are our traditions.  We do enjoy other customs.  For example, I have yet to miss a school Christmas pageant.  When the boys get their holidays from school, we go out for a special lunch.  

We also enjoy plenty of family meals.  Year round and not just in the run up to Christmas.  I particularly like this one.

Another massive event in their lives is the brainchild of their grandmother who is no longer with us.  A few years back she organised the first of the now annual Santa visit to her house.  Granny and Grandad asked a friend of theirs to don the red suit and belly and each grandchild took turns to receive their gift from the man himself - who had very kindly taken time out from his very busy schedule to visit a fully decorated home in south Kildare on a frosty Sunday evening.

The older kids are questioning Santa now but accept it’s just a helper that steps in for the day.  The younger ones are still deeply enthralled and amazed at the whole thing.

Who needs a Santa trail or a frantically busy supermarket when Santa can fit in a personal visit in the comfort of your grandad’s home?

So when the guy at reception over the weekend followed up his initial shock over my kids being ignorant of The Late Late Toy Show by asking them, “do you know about Santa?” I was very confident in the knowledge that yes, yes they do.

We may not be as traditional as other families with our festive happenings, but we get a kick out of them all the same.

Rudolph the plywood reindeer.


  1. Great piece Gwen. I echo lots of the same sentiments, especially not stirring out on Christmas Day and not bothering with the toy show. I heard not a single book was that true? Our own home'grown traditions are best. One favourite in our house the past couple of years is a lovely, long, Lidl-bought, advent calendar in the form of felt pouches, which gets dipped into every morning before brekkie. Guess what I'll be hanging up tonight...

    1. Didn't hear one single bit of feedback about the LLTS this year. Bah humbug if they didn't have a few books on indeed! I got the advent calendars over the weekend. Three out of four were inhaled almost immediately!