STEFANIE PREISSNER

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - CHRISTMAS TALES -

Play­wright and screen­writer, pic­tured with her nana, Eileen

It has been a crazy year. At the start of the year, I had ab­so­lutely no idea whether [the TV drama] would or wouldn’t be hap­pen­ing. There were four of the episodes writ­ten, and then, in Jan­uary, we got the green light, and two more had to be writ­ten. We started shoot­ing in March, and then the show aired in Septem­ber, and I’ve been in ev­ery pub­li­ca­tion and tele­vi­sion and ra­dio show. The re­sponse to the show has been great . . . you know, be­cause you’re re­ally ner­vous and you’ve seen it, and you’re wait­ing to present it to the world, like the start of

The Mon­day night it went out, I turned off my phone. I woke up the next morn­ing and Twit­ter had gone crazy. I didn’t know if they liked it or hated it still. In the midst of it all, my fea­ture film got com­mis­sioned by the Ir­ish Film Board.

The things that re­main con­stant for me have been re­ally im­por­tant, like vis­it­ing my grand­mother, be­ing in my house with my house­mates, and keep­ing as much of nor­mal­ity as pos­si­ble.

Now, I need to keep work­ing. I don’t want 2016 to be the best year when it’s 2020. I have to keep go­ing.

Home for Christ­mas has al­ways been my grand­mother’s house in Castle­knock. That’s al­ways been where I spent my Christ­mas with my mam, Bernie; my grand­fa­ther, Sean; and my nana, Eileen. My grand­fa­ther Sean died on Christ­mas Eve 2011, so it’s kind of a fraught time. I love Christ­mas, and my mum gets re­ally into it, and Santa is still a thing.

On Christ­mas morn­ing, I’ ll get up with my mam. Depend­ing on how my nana is feel­ing — she’s 89 now — she will get up, and we all ex­change presents. Then we’ ll have break­fast. I don’t eat sugar, so I don’t do the whole cho­co­late thing. I don’t even

Can’t Cope Won’t Cope The Lion King.

see that any more, but Christ­mas is still about real food time for me. Tur­key is my favourite meat, so I have been known to go into a food coma af­ter the amount of tur­key I have. It’s def­i­nitely an in­dul­gent time, in terms of por­tion size rather than con­tent. My nana is still very much of the prawn cock­tail era; she still thinks that’s the ut­most in op­u­lence, so we’ ll have that, and then the tur­key will be cooked. It’s prob­a­bly a tur­key that’s meant for six peo­ple, but there’s only three of us. Then it will go into tur­key vol-au-vents and tur­key sand­wiches.

This year, I am go­ing to visit some friends in the States in the week af­ter Christ­mas. My grand­fa­ther was buried on St Stephen’s Day, and we used to have a Mass around then to re­mem­ber him, but my nana de­cided this year that we would push it out un­til Jan­uary, so I’m go­ing to take a hol­i­day for the first time in a while.

I love Christ­mas, but I do strug­gle with ev­ery­thing be­ing closed and not have any­thing to do. I want to be work­ing. I want to be send­ing out emails and get­ting my dead­lines in. We have a new baby in the fam­ily this year, so that brings the magic back a bit, and there is a resur­gence in all that Christ­mas was and can be.

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