We spent Christmas in Dublin this year as my flying days are over for now. Christmas Day brought about my 36th week of pregnancy with Harris. We had a full calendar of events to attend though. We began with our friend's Tacky Christmas Jumper party. You can't see my red tights in this photo, but I went for the trashy Santa look. Richard visited our favorite vintage store and found a incredibly itchy sweater that drove him crazy until he finally ripped it off in frustration. The Irish believe it or not don't have a bunch of tacky Christmas sweaters for sale - I know, shocking! So they improvise by making costumes and creating their own sweaters with some that are dressed up with actual ornaments and tinsel hanging off old sweaters. The other option was 40 Euro sweaters specifically made for such events. I'm always glad to don a Goodwill cast-off for a good tacky sweater party, but I can't believe there's really a market for new sweaters made for such events. Believe it or not, most sizes were sold out with 10 days left until Christmas. Yikes! I think that's taking this modern tradition a bit far. We had fun with our friends and Mackenzie Grace got to see her first Irish house party. She was a bit overwhelmed, but definitely the hit of the party - pre 12am when we departed.
In case you hadn't heard, Dublin's had a LOT of snow. It brings its own set of problems to be sure, but look how nice the neigborhood looked on Christmas Eve morning. It looked equally as lovely on Christmas Day morning, but I was too busy to photograph. I told Richard the snow covered Georgian houses & cars and bundled up people reminded me of my dad's Christmas train set & village that goes around the tree back home every year.
View from our bedroom
Grafton Street, Dublin's southside pedestrian center
Our little street in Ranelagh
Next up was Christmas Eve cocktail party gathering at Siobhan's house. It was originally intended to extend into pub-crawl-turned-midnight-mass, but the drinkers got lazy. Siobhan has been learning to cook this year and she put out an awesome spread for the cocktail party. And for a bit of additional cheer, everyone enjoyed a rare treat, Redbreast 12-year-old pure pot whiskey. TJ and Mackenzie got to participate as well, since Siobhan is their best friend here in Ireland. Mackenzie partied herself out and put herself to bed. TJ enjoyed the outing, but hated the walk to and fro even though his spoiled feet never had to touch the snow as Richard carried him in his sling-bag both ways.
I couldn't mention all our happiness without remembering that some in our group had quite the frustrating holiday. Some of our friends joined us for the festivities with a little reluctance. The East Coast of the US is currently recovering from its blizzard and resulting transport nightmare. Well, Christmas week, Europe experienced the same thing. With Dublin unaccustomed to that much snow, the airport would be open for only a few hours each day, depending on the weather. Many, many flights were cancelled. And though the airlines did their best to get people home for the holiday, there were a lot of sad stories of people being stranded and not seeing family or friends this year. We had two newer members of our Irish GLG family stranded here, Manuel and Mariella, and they couldn't get home to Portugal and Italy respectively. So though they were disappointed, we were glad to add them to our little family of expats this Christmas. And it made us even more grateful for our new "expat family" even though we couldn't be with our own families.
And finally, Christmas Day dinner at our house with a healthy dose of gifts and even a gingerbread house decorating contest. As I mentioned above, we have been very fortunate to form a little expat family while living over here. And as many people opted to spend the holidays in Ireland this year or had their flights cancelled, we were lucky to have a full house on Christmas. We were able to all share a bit of our family traditions and Christmas cheer. We attended mass at our local Beechwood Parish church just down the road. I've never seen so many children in snowsuits in church! All in all it was a great Christmas.
I hope your Christmas season was as merry as ours!