Merry Christmas!

Another Christmas upon us and I am left wondering how did 2014 go so fast!

I love this holiday, all the traditions and the collection of memories we gather from it. Each and every year my family attends midnight mass in a packed candle light church in Shrule. Fr. Crosby is our priest and ensures we leave the Church feeling excited for both Santa’s visit in the morning and the year ahead. After mass my family visits Nora and Liam Walsh, our oldest and dearest family friends. We sit and drink tea and reminisce on the year we all just had. Each and every year.

Christmas Day is and has always been spent with my aunt Cathy, her family and my uncle Mike. There were fifteen at our dinner table for many years. And like many families across the world, we have experienced loss. Significant loss. Now we sit and share this beautiful holiday with only twelve table settings and remember those who are missing with heavy hearts. But life is and will always move and with loss we have additions – Cliodhna, my cousin’s little girl. She fills the house with laughter and screams and Santa is always good to her. Our day like many, is such a simple and quite “boring” day but a day where there is no rushing, no need to be any place else, just together, lazing, watching TV and eating the tins of Roses!

Perhaps this year has me overly sentimental because, for the first time in many years, I am not returning home for our Christmas traditions. The house will be quieter too because Kevin, Eileen (my brother and sister) and Jamie (my cousin) will be in their own corner of the world, celebrating with their significant others, and new friends. But thankfully the development of technology allows us to be present even if we are 4000 miles away!

I am fortunate to be sharing a portion of this Holiday with my friend (and stage dress designer) Megan Swansen and her Mom. We will share a meal and attend midnight mass in their local church in Doylestown, just outside Philadelphia. On Christmas morning I fly to Toronto to share a few days of Christmas cheer with one of my greatest and oldest friends. Its a different Christmas for me this year, but given my return to the Emerald Isle next week, I wanted to spend time with friends I may not see in a while.

Christmas is not always filled with laughter and joy for those in our communities and even for those in our families. Perhaps there are people missing from your table too. Perhaps there are people who are missing from their seats by the fire or off traveling and seeing the world. But whomever you are with and wherever you are; I wish you and your’s a happy, healthy and safe Christmas.