Time to down arms at Christmas
CHRISTMAS 1914 and the world was at war. In that place known as No Man’s Land, British and German soldiers downed their weapons and challenged each other to a game of football. It was their way of marking Christmas Day.
Just a few hours earlier they had been doing their damndest to obliterate each other and once the full-time whistle had gone, they would be getting right back to it. Proof, that even marooned in the most dire of situations, there’s a special little something about Christmas that can make people change their ways. Temporary though it may be.
As the year 2008 faces its last hurrah, a week of festivities awaits us. But this year it’s going to be very different.
Christmas 2008 will not see the onus lie with the quality of gifts received, for we are destined to return to the core prin- ciples of what the season is essentially about. The retail sector has reported losses not seen since the harsh winter of 1984 and people are shunning the materialism that drove them when times were disillusionally prosperous, and moral values are back in style. And expect a surge in church attendances this year, as people welcome an escape from the unexplainable turmoil our world leaders have sleepwalked us into.
Back in November, when the Christmas decorations were hanged from the street rafters, inveigling shoppers into the keeper’s den, it was hard not to be cynical at the efforts being made to get us to spend, spend, spend.
But it now seems to have been a futile exercise and instead we have had two months of a seasonal atmosphere to distract us from the stream of misery flowing from Dáil reports.
The next week is for families to rally and forget, if possible, what is happening in the broader picture.
Shakin Stevens, cribs, selection boxes, mulled wine, soap opera over-indulgences and the look in that special someone’s eye when they unwrap that carefully thought out gift - that’s what the grass-roots Irish Christmas is all about. And here’s hoping you and yours have a good one.
A STAR IS BORN
AFTER last year’s shocking injustice when Rhydian was thieved of a crown he so richly deserved, the writing was on the wall for Alexandra. Surely history would repeat itself and doe-eyed Eoghan, as likeable as he was, would surf to victory on a wave of teenage texts. But no, the daughter of the for- mer Soul II Soul singer did it and boy did she do it in style. It was an awful series of the X Factor but the best was kept for last. Alexandra’s performance of Hallelujah was a tonic and arguably one of the finest live performances ever seen on television. Leona watch out, a woman with soul is coming for your crown.
MIND THE BIRDS
SPARE a thought for the birds (not the ones in the mini-skirts) this winter. In the back garden hangs a tube of seed that is bring refilled once a week such is the hunger that is devouring the feathered ones.
No better an opportunity to entice the robin redbreasts, wagtails and co round to yours and a chance to make new friends for life. And you never know, be good to them and they might even stick around for spring.