The Editor’s Corner

Sitting here with a very hot and delicious coffee, the aroma and taste brings me back (Proustian style) to Christmases long ago. And it got me wondering how the festive season has changed over the decades. Before the era of Xbox and gaming the big occasion was going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and the palpable excitement of tearing open presents on Christmas Morning. I still like to get a chance to attend a carol service (with the ubiquitous Nine Lessons, of course) over the season if I can, and to visit quality toy stores. I remember being in Bratislava some Christmases ago and seeing the beautifully carved animals, dolls and puppets on display, even whole villages made from wood. There’s something sensual almost about running your hand over wood and natural materials, knowing that someone took the time to lovingly create this item with their own hands. And speaking of special gifts, in this issue you can read about the many Christmas gifts available locally (Pgs. 8-9).

When we hear the forecast giving snow our adult propensity is immediately to worry about blocked roads and the inability to travel, but seen through a child’s eyes there is nothing more magical in all the world. I remember staring in awe at the landscape transformed to white when I got out of bed as a child, and then wrapping up tightly in a duffle coat and gloves, and going outside with my sister to build a snowman and play in the white feathery stuff. Those special memories never die. And this is what we need to pass on to the next generation. It’s easy to think we have to drown children in gifts, or bring them to exotic places for them to be happy, but this isn’t so; what we need to do is pass on wonderful memories and experiences that they will carry with them a lifetime. Part of the ethos, I believe (along with creating things with their hands) of the Men’s Sheds movement (you can read on Pgs. 26-7).

The future is always uncertain, and this is probably more so this year than ever. We simply don’t know what the Covid numbers will be yet and if there will have to be more restrictions before the Big Day or not. Let’s hope not! But even if we have to cut back on some of our social activities, and forgo the office party for one more year, that doesn’t mean Christmas can’t have the same wonder and magic it always did; Willy Wonka, sledding, the wonder of storytelling. The memories our children have when they are adults is what will shape them, and consequently the society they live in. And it is we, by what we unveil to them, and for them, who largely create those memories and experiences. Make sure they are good ones.

And with that, from everyone here at NewsFour, may I take the opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy and peaceful Christmas.