Well, hello for the first time in 2019! What a hectic and full holiday month we’ve just had. It was our first home in Dublin as a family in our new house and while I’m still exhausted from its, overall it was a success. How about a little recap?
After ice skating, we drove out to Wicklow to get our Christmas tree! It was driving rain and cold when we got up there (even though it was sunny in Dublin when we left), so it was not the usual deliberative experience I prefer. But I loved it. We went to the Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Maybe a tad more expensive than we would have otherwise gone for, but it’s on the side of a mountain, the staff are the kindest ever, and you get cozy mince pies and hot cocoa after while they cut your tree. But the best part is that the tree is still going strong a month later. Not crispy, not shedding, just ready to turn into a Valentine’s Day tree! I finally took it down today and couldn’t quite bear to part with it, so it’s in the front garden hung with suet balls for the birds.
We baked Christmas cookies — Maya’s first time using cookie cutters was a hit. She had her Christmas show at school, decidedly less of a hit. She is just not the kind of kid who can memorize song lyrics. She much prefers to create her own ballad directly after the first line. We were generously given tickets to see Santa at Malahide Castle, which was also nice. Apparently it’s a thing here that you pay to see Santa and the kids are given a gift by Santa directly. It’s all a bit much for me, but Maya is now totally convinced that Santa lives in a castle around the corner. It was a tick-the-box maybe not do it next year sort of activity. We put the kids in matching Christmas jammies and took them to the carols by candlelight at our church, which they loved. I wish we had had more of that sort of singing, so maybe we’ll go church hopping next year!
And then on Christmas Eve, Michael and Noah and Michael’s brother’s family went into town. It’s a tradition Michael’s dad started when they were little — he used to take all 5 kids into the city for Christmas shopping! Maya and I stayed home and baked a million things for Christmas dinner. Michael actually loved being in town on Christmas Eve, so I think we’ll try to somehow incorporate that next year. It will definitely cut into my baking time though!
Once the kids were in bed on Christmas Eve, we stayed up and finished wrapping presents and watching Love Actually before Michael joined his siblings at the pub (our old pre-kid Irish Christmas tradition!). And then of course, Maya woke up at 4am Christmas morning (just because she hasn’t been sleeping well, not because she thought Santa was coming). Needless to say it meant a slow start to the morning! And by the time we woke her, it was almost time for Noah to go down for a nap. But Maya was so thrilled about her presents and it was very fun to see her face when she saw that she’d gotten a bike and a little doll bed.
I think this year might have been the most magical age for Maya to be at Christmas. She was so genuinely excited about the lights and the candy canes and ‘Santo’ as she called him. She didn’t really understand so much about the presents (although she definitely has more of an understanding now!), and especially loved playing with our little nativity sets. Baby Jesus was a firm favorite as was Balthazar from my mother-in-law’s set. It was hilariously complicated to explain all the concepts of the holiday to her very literal self, but I definitely tried my hardest!
After opening some presents on Christmas morning, we put Noah down for a nap and got ready for church. The kids looked absolutely adorable and I wish I’d gotten a better photo of them. Noah had suspenders and a bow tie for crying out loud! We tried to get both kids to nap after church and before going to Michael’s parents’ house for Christmas dinner, but that didn’t work at all. Everyone was way too wound up! So we made our way to my in-laws in the afternoon, played with cousins, had a delicious meal, exchanged gifts, and even went caroling! That was definitely one of the highlights of my day and I’ve already requested that it be part of our tradition in years to come!
When we finally got both kids to bed (so far beyond their bedtime), I was so tired everything hurt. Christmas as a parent is exhausting! But also very, very magical. It was sad to take all of the decorations down this week, but I think we’re all looking forward to recovering from the very long month that is Christmas in Ireland!
I hope you all had a joyful holiday!