CASSIE STOKES

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

TV pre­sen­ter (far left), pic­tured with her sis­ter, Alex

2016 has been a 180-de­gree turn in my life, which is amaz­ing. I was in Lon­don this time last year and didn’t have any plans to come home, and then I got that tweet. It was from [ask­ing if she’d be in­ter­ested in cov­er­ing Karen Koster’s ma­ter­nity leave; Cassie has since been made per­ma­nent] and here I am liv­ing in Ireland, and I couldn’t be more thank­ful. When you make those wishes on Jan­uary 1, there’s no way you think that it’s ac­tu­ally go­ing to hap­pen. This

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year has been a dream come true, but a very un­ex­pected one. I get to live close to my fam­ily. I get to see my grandma ev­ery sin­gle day.

Over Christ­mas, I plan on laugh­ing a lot and am go­ing to be sur­rounded by my friends and my fam­ily. Christ­mas Day, my sis­ter and I get up and we have match­ing py­ja­mas, which is su­per cool. We will prob­a­bly do one­sies. Then we have break­fast in my grandma’s house, which is next door to my mum’s. It’s funny, be­cause we see each other all the time, and yet, when we see each other on Christ­mas Day it’s just that ex­tra bit spe­cial.

We have a huge fam­ily my mum has a fam­ily of 10, which is amaz­ing. So, we will be go­ing to din­ner at my aunt’s house, which is just up the road from our fam­ily home in Dun­drum, and there’s usu­ally about 25 to 30 of us. I am very blessed with my fam­ily; we all get on, and we spend so much time to­gether. We all do our part on the day for the din­ner, and we just drink wine and we laugh. We’re lucky we get on. I can’t stop gush­ing, but I re­ally have a great fam­ily.

We have four lit­tle ba­bies that came along in the last year as well, so it’s re­ally amaz­ing. On Stephen’s Day, my­self and my sis­ter will drive out to my dad’s house and spend time with him.

One of my favourite tra­di­tions is on Christ­mas Eve my­self and my sis­ter go into town and we spend the whole day to­gether. We meet up with my dad. He loves go­ing for a Chi­nese at, like, 12 o’clock so it’s, like, the ear­li­est-bird ever, and then we will go for cof­fee. Then my mum comes into town and we will go for a meal with her; and then we meet the rest of my fam­ily in the pub. Then my sis­ter and I will go meet up with our friends. So, it’s just a day jam-packed full of loved ones.

You just see ev­ery­one you know in town, and ev­ery­one’s happy. I have never missed a year. I tried to do one year in Canada, and then, about De­cem­ber 15, I was like: ‘No, I can’t miss it. I have to be home for Christ­mas. I love it so much’.

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