Christmas had come to Dublin in a big way. Arriving at the airport I noticed Fir trees with sparkling lights populating the long walkway to the terminal. At Marley Park the next day, the famers’ market offered all kinds of goodies with a festive sprinkling. Hot mulled cider was on offer and Christmas trees stood to attention, awaiting the rush.
I turned on the radio. ‘Welcome to Ireland’s Christmas FM folks. We’re just here at this time of the year playing all your favourite seasonal tunes’. I started buttering my toast as ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ started to play. I turned it up. That warm sort of glow started to flood through me – unique to December – it’s to be treasured before the more challenging winter months set in.
I hailed a cab. “Howya” said the driver as I got in. ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ played on the radio. “Oh! You’ve got Christmas FM on” I said. “It’s such a great idea, isn’t it?” “Nah, tha’s not it, here wait ‘til I find it”. He switched stations and flipped through a myriad of them, each one playing some version of jingling bells or sparkly romantic tunes. It seemed Christmas FM had competition from all the regular stations too.
“Only around the corner now” I said. “I hate Christmas” he replied. “Do you spend it with your kids?” I asked. “Course I do! We have a big dinner and my girlfriend comes over – we’ve been going together a long time now”. “So this year might be the big proposal?!” I asked.
“You’re jokin” he said. “Sure, I’ll never get married. Why would I? I have two houses and an apartment – what if it all goes wrong? There’s no way she’s gettin’ all tha?!” “Of course, she’s always talkin’ about marriage” he continued. “The other day she was going on about it and my youngest boy turned around and said: ‘Them houses are for me – not you!’”
“We live here – across the road from each other” he said as we passed through a twinkling parade of shops. “We sleep together every night, but that’s it. I could never live with her: She’s so messy. I dread it if I’m stayin” at hers and she asks me to make her a cup of tea in the middle of the night. I have to go into the kitchen and trip over used teabags and dirty cups. I can’t stand it! My place is spotless – there’s nothin’ in it!”
Dropping me on Wicklow Street, we cheerily wished each other a lovely time. I started to walk, surrounded by fairy lights, the energy of the holiday season, and somewhere in the distance the sound of Michael Buble singing ‘It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas’.