DANIEL O’DON­NELL

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

Singer, pic­tured with his wife, Ma­jella

Daniel: Up un­til this year, Christ­mas has al­ways been the same for me. Since Ma­jella and I got mar­ried, my Christ­mas has been her Christ­mas, al­ways in Done­gal. We’re very lucky. The only year I wasn’t in Done­gal was the year of the bad snow; I couldn’t get home on the roads. But this year is go­ing to be very dif­fer­ent, be­cause we’ve de­cided to go to Tener­ife for the first time ever.

So Siob­han and Gavin, her hus­band; and Olivia, our wee grand­daugh­ter, and Michael and his girl­friend, we’re all go­ing to Tener­ife. Siob­han is our daugh­ter and Michael’s our son — well, they are my step­daugh­ter and step­son, but I for­get about the ‘step’ bit. They are our daugh­ter and our son. We just want to ex­pe­ri­ence go­ing away for Christ­mas be­fore Olivia gets to the stage of Santa and all that, and it’s easy to go this year.

It’ ll be warm there, so I’m not sure how the tur­key will taste in the sun. Ma­jella does all the cook­ing. We will dec­o­rate the house a lit­tle bit, I imag­ine. I’ve never been away for Christ­mas. I tend to think you need to be in the snow, or the cold and the bad weather, so you have that warm feel­ing, and the dec­o­ra­tions look bet­ter. But maybe if we dec­o­rate the house in a warm cli­mate too it would be the same thing. But I don’t know. Ma­jella’s shak­ing her head at me from the kitchen, say­ing it won’t be the same thing. Oliva’s only just a year, since Au­gust. It’s great al­to­gether.

It’s so hard to talk about tra­di­tions in Tener­ife, but in Ireland we al­ways went to Mass on Christ­mas Eve, and I would sing with the choir, and then I would go to my sis­ter’s house. She al­ways made soup, and we would have that af­ter Mass. This year, ob­vi­ously, it’s dif­fer­ent, but no doubt I will go to the Mass in Tener­ife. They do a lovely ser­vice there; I have gone at Easter. Even though I don’t un­der­stand the lan­guage, the at­mos­phere, and the way they por­tray ev­ery­thing is beau­ti­ful. Ma­jella: We’re spend­ing Christ­mas in Tener­ife this year. We’re do­ing it just to do it. I’ve done it be­fore, Daniel hasn’t. And it’s not the same, I have to say. We’ ll do it this year, but I’m look­ing for­ward to be­ing home for next year. It’s just some­thing dif­fer­ent, I sup­pose; just to ex­pe­ri­ence it. My mum will be out there as well for a wee while. It’s kind of more for that, re­ally. And the kids are look­ing for­ward to it, more than any­thing, re­ally.

I do all the cook­ing. Most of the year I don’t cook at all be­cause Daniel is away a lot. I just cook for my­self, so it doesn’t bother me what I eat. But what I find is, get­ting the tim­ing of ev­ery­thing right can be a lit­tle bit stress­ful. But it’ ll be grand, I’ ll en­joy it. We have the din­ner about three o’clock.

The last few years we’ve started to open the presents the night be­fore, on Christ­mas Eve, af­ter mid­night. That’s just be­cause of my two, ‘C’mon, c’mon, let’s open the presents now’. We opened one, that’s where it started, and I think last year we opened them all the night be­fore. And then they could sleep on the next day.

Siob­han will be 29 in De­cem­ber; Michael’s 26. It’s not like they’re kids.

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