how to embrace the magic this Christmas

It’s probably pretty clear to you all now that I’m a bit of a Christmas nut (and I’m not ashamed to say it). As a child it was a time filled with magic; my parents embraced the frivolity and excitement and turned a bleary December into something extraordinary. It was never perfect: our home was chaotic, there were constant last minute dashes to the shops, fights between siblings and our decorations were far from coordinated, but it was ours.

ashling with her mum at christmas

The house was filled with people young and old, friends would come for one and stay all evening and Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ was on repeat. To this day I can still feel the warmth and smell the simmering mulled wine and wafts of cinnamon, and burnt cocktail sausages. And yes, I’m sure these memories have morphed into picture book territory and the reality more a stressed out mother and a father snoring in his favourite armchair.

My mum and dad are no longer together. They are happier for it. Life moves on. But a part of me will always hurt and pine for the moments we had as a team, a unit – Friday night pizzas, carefully planned summer trips, eating sandy sandwiches on cold Donegal beaches and opening our stockings on Christmas morning. I’m not sad, I’m grateful. Because you see, parents plant the seed, they create a scene, they give the child the chance to turn something simple, something every day into a little bit of magic. As grown-ups it’s easy to forget that. We can only see complication, where a child sees adventure. We think logically when a child imagines great things. And on the eve of Christmas, as I join my family, I’m going to believe in the magic and create new memories with my kids even if that involves a burnt turkey… Merry Christmas one and all.

3 ways we’ve embraced the magic

1. festive pjs

On the 1st December we get our new Christmas pyjamas and advent calendar. It’s a firm tradition that excites the kids almost as much as Christmas day. I say almost…

2. a trip to Lapland

This was a one off bucket list trip for my mum. I’m not sure you could get more magical: from sledging with huskies, riding with reindeers, tobogganing through the trees to the main event, meeting Father Christmas. We booked through Santa’s Lapland and would definitely recommend, especially for kids between 5-9. Book now for next year!

3. panto in our Xmas jumpers

This is our 5th year of pantomime fun with all the family. This year it was Jack and the Beanstalk at Wimbledon Theatre – good laughs for all ages.

Ashling McCloy


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