Six Things Johnnie Wall Loves About Christmas

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Johnnie Wall decorating his tree at home in Ballinorig. Photo by Dermot Crean

Former Mayor of Tralee and current Chairman of Towards A Better Tralee, Johnnie Wall, tells us what he loves about Christmas…

1. The Christmas Spirit In Town

There are many, many things to love about Christmas. One is, without doubt, the Christmas spirit that prevails throughout the month of December. Everybody becomes a friend and people become more generous with their time and money.

Strangers greet you with a cheery Merry Christmas as if they knew you all your life and you get the feeling that everything in the world is right.

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2. Christmas Cards

I love the buying and sending of the Christmas cards. To me that ‘chore’ is a really important one as a Christmas card can be the only contact between you and your family and friends in the whole year.

It tells them that you’re thinking of them and you’re wishing them well.

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3. The Decorations

Putting up the decorations and trimming the tree and while all this is going on, you get the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, peeled onions, the ham boiling, sultanas and raisins marinating.

Each of these smells on its own means nothing, but the combination of them all permeating throughout the house is heavenly.

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4. The Entertainment

I love watching The Late Late Toy Show, especially in the presence of your children/grandchildren.

I love seeing the look of wonder in the eyes of the small ones and the look of envy in the eyes of the big ones wishing they were that small again!

That show and the Kerry Choral Union Christmas recital on a Sunday evening before Christmas (this year’s event is on this Sunday). Both shows are now a way of showing off the wonderful talent that exists in our town and country and is fast becoming a tradition that cannot be missed.

5. Christmas Eve

Visiting my friends of many years on Christmas Eve before going to town to meet my family for a festive drink. The atmosphere around the town is always electric with people rushing around picking up last minute things like cranberry sauce or cartons of cream that they forgot.

Midnight mass and the feeling of joy to the world.

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6. The Day Itself

Christmas day opening the presents, with family and neighbours calling in to wish you a happy Christmas.

Then after a fantastic meal to sit around the table your face aglow with the contented feeling of a man that has just got the news that he has won the lottery.

Later in the evening – after a very relaxing nap – we reminisce about old friends and family that are no longer with us and drink a toast to their memory. I believe that once they’re in our hearts and minds they are never far away and that’s what life is all about.

What a blessed place the world would be if we had the Christmas feeling all year!

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