Andrea Mara

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Christmas

Andrea Mara

Out with the Old, In with the Old

This time last year, as I unwrapped the snowman and put him on the mantlepiece, I wondered where he’d be going next time round. We were Sale Agreed on our old house but hadn’t found somewhere new yet. I tried to picture what the new mantlepiece might look like, in

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Andrea Mara

Christmas Through Their Eyes

My eyes water. Wind, sharp and stinging, pushes my hood down and  drives me back. I lean in, but not in a Sheryl Sandberg way. I’ve got 58 minutes and five tasks. Stocking fillers. A fancy gift box. A Secret Santa pick-up. Stamps. A book. Dark shapes huddle under hoods,

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Andrea Mara

The Midwinter Break

Outside, the garden is shrouded in fog, but the kids haven’t noticed, because they’re on the couch watching Gumball. They’re eating melted butter toast. I’m drinking coffee. They’re in pyjamas, and for the first morning since sometime back in August, they can stay in them. No swimming, no hockey, no

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Andrea Mara

The magic is here

“What was your favourite bit about Christmas when you were a kid?” they ask me every day. “First tell me yours.” I always reply. And they roam through the rituals, turning them over one by one – the hot chocolate when they write their Santa letters, putting the star on the

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Andrea Mara

The Case for Wet January

I’m in awe of all the people I know doing Dry January, but I’m going to have to sit this one out. I admire you, but I can’t find it in me to make the toughest month of the year even tougher by giving up nice things. I can’t forego

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Cathy Claus Saves The Day

When I was small, I don’t remember my parents ever holding Santa over us at this time of year – there was never a sense that if we didn’t behave, the man in red wouldn’t deliver. Yes, he was magical and all-knowing, but it was all very positive – there

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The Christmas Card List

The first people on the list have had a house move since last year. I write the card, then address it with the unfamiliar street name. Next, four non-movers, then another new address. This time I don’t know it. I send a message to ask. The card won’t be a surprise but that’s OK,

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Andrea Mara

An Open Letter to An Post

Dear An Post, For twenty-five years, you’ve been organising Santa replies to letters from children all over Ireland, and for that, I thank you. It’s a kind, altruistic gesture at a time of year that thrives on kind, altruistic gestures. So this isn’t a complaint – it really isn’t. It’s

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Santa Visit Review – Airfield Estate Christmas Experience

Dusk. A mild November evening, with a huge purple sky above, and twinkly lights visible in the distance. They ran, one following the other, through the falling darkness. They’d just seen real reindeer, and now they wanted to take a peek into Santa’s bedroom. Rushing, single-minded, single-file. We had arrived

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Surviving Christmas – the Before and After

Every year I look forward to Christmas with the excitement of a small child (or three small children as is the case in my house). Every year I just know it’s going to be the Best Christmas Ever. And every year, when we’re right in the middle of it, I

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Andrea Mara

8 Things I’ve Learnt About Christmas Since Having Kids

Before kids, I was adamant that Christmas shouldn’t start until December – the second week would be just fine thank you very much. Jingle Bells on the airwaves any earlier than that just felt wrong. Christmas was about nights out as much as nights in, about finding the perfect sparkly

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All I Want for Christmas

“Why are there never any pencils in this house? If I could have one thing from Santa, it would be a working pencil,” I said to my daughter as I tried to tick off her homework. She gave me a look that said “Right….you go ahead and ask for a pencil,

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Andrea Mara

Santa at Malahide Castle

We were twenty-five minutes late leaving the house. Not a good start. Dun Laoghaire to Malahide is long journey. But Sunday morning means light traffic. Or so we hoped, as we made our way towards the M50, promising the kids we’d definitely make it on time – that there was no way we’d

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Andrea Mara

A Big List of Places to Visit Santa in Ireland (for eumom)

Taking kids to visit Santa in the run up to Christmas – a tradition that’s been around since the 19th century in the States, and presumably almost as long here in Ireland. I have gorgeous memories of going to see “Santy” in Switzers in Cork in the 1980s – I

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Obligatory year-end round-up

It’s New Year’s Day and there are familiar signs that Christmas is nearly over – the tree branches are starting to droop and wilt, the new toys are scattered all over the house, and the last few Heroes have been eaten (except the Eclairs and Fudges). Each year, I think

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A Christmas reunion

It was going to be the best Christmas ever. We say that every year of course, and every year we mean it. But last year was definitely going to be the best Christmas ever. We had planned everything in tiny detail – not remembering any of that “if you want

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Five things I now know about Christmas

As an antidote to yesterday’s slightly downbeat post, here’s something more festive: five things I didn’t know about Christmas until I had kids. 1. There’s a reason kids go to bed early on Christmas Eve Before having children, I wondered about the emphasis on getting kids to bed earlier than

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Christmas card casualty

“Mum can I tell you something?” I looked down at the sad little face of my four-year-old and tensed slightly, hoping it would be that she was thirsty or hungry (states often inexplicably accompanied by a sombre tone) “Today the twins in my class – you know Sarah and Robert*?

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The Office Christmas Special

Little black dresses, large gins, lots of shots. Speeches, spills, too many beers, late night tears. Every Christmas party ever. New dresses bought each year, sparkles everywhere – eyeshadow, clutches and heels. Glamorous venues like Powerscourt and Luttrelstown and the Guinness Storehouse. Drinks then buses then drinks then food then

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