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Family and Friends - THAT is what the holiday season is all about.

Christmas is coming and of all the feasts throughout the year the celebration of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day seem to be the most popular of all. There are more traditions and customs associated with Christmas in all Christian countries than with any other feast. I love Christmas time, it’s family time, it’s home time.

A few years ago my family and I decided to stop exchanging gifts and focus on the real gift of time, time spent with each other. The first year, it felt a little odd, but as the years rolled by, it became the norm for us and now I love it and would not have it any other way.

Having spent many years in America and enjoying Thanksgiving, it soon became one of my favorite holidays. Why? Because it was so similar to my experience of Christmas but without the pressure of gift buying. Yes, both Thanksgiving and Christmas have become commercial commodities that the stores use to guilt trip us. But what if we could fight off the advertising awareness, the pressure to spend more than the next person on a present and find the time to really, truly enjoy the moment, the season, the holiday with our loved ones, wouldn’t we be more loved and loving? Isn’t that what these dates are truly about?

With increasing awareness of suicide, poor mental health and depression in Ireland today we should be focussing on what is important in life. Family and friends are two of the most important parts of life and for me, Christmas is a time to really bring that to the fore. Whatever business you are in, we should be encouraging all our customers to share this message of love and warmth, family and friends and reaching out to those who we know don’t have the luxury of either.

Jennifer Muldowney
Jennifer Muldowney