It was Christmas Eve. A soft light entered the room like a tip-toeing sex beast as a winter symphony of snow, throwing itself against the window, distant sleigh bells and the tortured screams of somebody being bottled, played out. The air was filled with festive scents. Mince Pies fresh from the oven sent their delicious aroma around the house like a fast-spreading gas leak, teasing as they did, every sleeping and twitching nose. It wouldn’t be long until Santa arrived thought nobody in particular as they snuggled even closer to their various warm bedfellows. Mum held Dad. Little Jenny held her teddy. Fr Murphy held Bobby. It was night of magic, a night of love and a stern warning to Bobby not to wear a mini-skirt to mass ever again.
The snow was getting heavier as Christmas Eve gave way to Christmas Day. Children slept with smiles on their faces (except maybe Bobby) as they dreamt, imagining they could hear Rudolph trotting about proudly on the roof. Some probably weren’t dreaming, it could indeed have been Rudolph up there, but most likely it was a someone from the bank coming to repossess the house or at the very least, one of their debt stricken parents looking for a good height from which to hang a noose. It was a time of peace, of hope and a stern warning to little Bobby to go a little easy on the eye make-up at the Parish Fair next time.
But of course, for every happy Christmas and every smiling child there are some unhappy Christmases and not very smiley children doing frowns. For every Mince Pie there’s a ‘Bin Pie’, which is just stuff from a bin like old paper and potato peel and there’s usually no pastry, just like soup, but there’s no soup either. For every Rudolph there’s the family dog crudely made up to look like a reindeer and parading around in a dignity crushing attempt to brighten up your sorry little holiday period. And for every Santa there’s no Santa. Children around the country waking up to nothing. No presents, no food, and in Bobby's case, no underpants.
Don’t forget the true spirit of Christmas. Brought to you by Fianna Fail and the Irish Catholic Church.