Greetings & Blessings to all...
...and Nollaig Shona Daoibh!

We hope  this  revised reprise of last year’s special Christmas edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company. As for ourselves, we’re almost ready for the  big day and our grandchildren - as with all kids everywhere -   are beside themselves with excitement. If you’re a fan of the popular American  film A Christmas Story, based n the book by Jean Shepherd, you will be familiar with the quote “ Oh, the ecstasy of unbridled avarice” - that magical time in a child’s ’s life when it was okay to wish for everything in the whole world - or at least in our now grown kids’  day - everything in the Sears Wishbook...
 It arrived a month or so before Christmas and heralded hours of blessed peace and quiet as our offspring pored over every page,  marking what they wanted Santa to bring them. Since they marked just about every toy in their age bracket, it wasn’t of much help to parents who weren’t in any position to buy them anything they asked for. There were years though when a single wish could be granted - that first two-wheeler bike or the ballerina doll that would actually do a pirouette when you pressed the crown on her head.  Thank God our kids never asked for BB guns or ponies. Now they have children of their own - but sadly they won’t see the kind of wishbook their parents enjoyed 30 or 40 years ago.  To bring back memories or see what it was like, take a look at this link: How Sears made our Christmas AWESOME.
We received our first Christmas card featuring the Three Wise Men. According to an old custom, one is supposed to place the card over the front door (on the inside) and this will bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Just in case you don’t get one in the mail, we are sending you one that you can print out. God only knows all of us can use all the good luck and prosperity we can get these days! To get your card, please click on this link:
The rest of this special edition is comprised of links we found - some old favourites and some new ones we hope you will enjoy. We’ve also included links to what’s on our current homepage.  Meanwhile, our regular edition will return in just a few days - around New Years.
Christmas in Dublin 
  Video put together by the Dublin Covention Bureau with a very tranquil Silent Night accompaniment:
Give Up Yer Aul Sins: The Birth of Jesus
This is episode three of an award winning series by Brown Bag Productions. The episodes based on the 1960s recordings in Dublin of young children telling Bible stories in a classroom to their schoolteacher. We can almost guarantee that once you’ve seen one, you’ll want to see them all. Enjoy!
Joy to the World - Joe McPartland
It’s with great pleasure that we share this particular link with you. Joe and his lovely wife Peggy have been faithful and supportive readers of our newsletter for many years. Here, Joe is accompanied by a Chorale and full orchestra - it’s well worth a listen:
ED. NOTE: We had hoped to do an article on the McPartland’s this past year - sigh. God willing, we’ll succeed in 2014!
Irish Christmas ad
A beautifully done ad on a par with the Guinness in the snow or  the American Budweiser Clydesdale commercials:
Christmas according to the young and old
An RTÉ radio segment featuring the Christmas memories and impressions of both seniors and children. Be sure to turn your speakers:,20131341,20131341,flash,232
Jingle Bells sung in Irish by children
A lovely Christmas card for you to forward to family and friends from This should put you in the spirit!
Fiddle Tree
One of our all-time favorite greetings - and joy, oh joy, it's still available:
Some joy for the day that’s in it
We hope you are as delighted watching this as we were: (Be sure to have your speakers turned up)
Irish Page - Dha Lá Deag na Nollag - 12 Days of Christmas
This time around, Jack & Vivian present The Twelve Days of Christmas in Irish with an English translation
And last, but certainly not least, links to what’s on offer on the web site:
1. County News: The bits and bobs that used to come by mail are now on line here:
2. National News: We keep two week’s worth of headlines and links here:
3. Shops: For Christmas and all year round
4. Article: A Gathering of Christmas Gifts 2013
5. Article: An Irish Christmas - The Day Before 
6. Article - Rowing to Christmas Mass
7. Article - White-washed Walls
8. Article - Burying The Baby Jesus
9. Article - An East Cork Christmas
10. Irish Christmas Superstitions
11. An Irish Christmas - Food for the Feast
12. Basic Irish:  Holiday Shopping
13. Kids’ Ireland - Midnight Visitors
14. Music Review: On Christmas Night
Our resident music man William Ramoutar does a review of this beautiful recording by  Cherish the Ladies 
So there you have it until we write again - probably  in the first week of the New Year.  If you are planning on getting married between now and then or tied the knot in the month of December,  here is your special verse:
When December's snows fall fast,
Marry and true love will last
And, if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now  and our next edition, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. We’ll take our leave with this lovely old Irish blessing for Christmas:   
May God grant you lightness in your step, a smile on every face you meet;
Loved ones gathered at your hearth, and at your door, good folk to greet;
A holy hymn upon your lips, a window candle burning bright,
And may the Good Lord bless your heart and come to dwell there Christmas night.
And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself. 
All the best & God Bless,

 Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet. 
Téigh ar do ghlúine is bí buíoch le Dia go bhfuil tú fós ar do chosa.
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Except that this is more of a leave them smiling. We think it’s a lovely story and we hope you feel the same:
The Toothless Grin
I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in a toy store and decided to look at Barbie dolls for my nieces. A nicely dressed little girl was excitedly looking through the Barbie dolls as well, with a roll of money clamped tightly in her little hand. When she came upon a Barbie she liked, she would turn and ask her father if she had enough money to buy it.
He usually said "yes," but she would keep looking and keep going through their ritual of "do I have enough?" As she was looking, a little boy wandered in across the aisle and started sorting through the Pokemon toys. He was dressed neatly, but in clothes that were obviously rather worn, and wearing a jacket that was probably a couple of sizes too small. He too had money in his hand, but it looked to be no more than five dollars or so at the most. He was with his father as well, and kept picking up the Pokemon video toys. Each time he picked one up and looked at his father, his father shook his head, "No."
The little girl had apparently chosen her Barbie, a beautifully dressed, glamorous doll that would have been the envy of every little girl on the block. However, she had stopped and was watching the interchange between the little boy and his father. Rather dejectedly, the boy had given up on the video games and had chosen what looked like a book of stickers instead. He and his father then started walking through another aisle of the store.
The little girl put her Barbie back on the shelf, and ran over to the Pokemon games. She excitedly picked up one that was lying on top of the other toys, and raced toward the check-out, after speaking with her father. I picked up my purchases and got in line behind them. Then, much to the little girl's obvious delight, the little boy and his father got in line behind me.
After the toy was paid for and bagged, the little girl handed it back to the cashier and whispered something in her ear. The cashier smiled and put the package under the counter.
I paid for my purchases and was rearranging things in my purse when the little boy came up to the cashier. The cashier rang up his purchases and then said, "Congratulations, you are my hundredth customer today, and you win a prize!" With that, she handed the little boy the Pokemon game, and he could only stare in disbelief. It was, he said, exactly what he had wanted!
The little girl and her father had been standing at the doorway during all of this, and I saw the biggest, prettiest, toothless grin on that little girl that I have ever seen in my life. Then they walked out the door, and I followed close behind them. As I walked back to my car in amazement over what I had just witnessed, I heard the father ask his daughter why she had done that. I'll never forget what she said to him.
"Daddy, didn't Nana and PawPaw want me to buy something that would make me happy?"
He said, "Of course they did, honey."
To which the little girl replied, "Well, I just did!"
With that, she giggled and started skipping toward their car. Her toothless grin said it all. Apparently, she had decided on the answer to her own question of, "Do I have enough?"
I feel very privileged to have witnessed the true spirit of Christmas in that toy store, in the form of a little girl who understands more about the reason for the season than most adults I know!
Written by Sharon Palmer and received by way of Thomas Ellsworth who contributed it to The Good Clean Funnies List