11 December 2006

CHRISTMAS BOOK REVIEW: An Irish Country Christmas

I found this lovely book at the library recently. It shares some similarity with Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales in that it speaks of customs that no longer exist.

For young Alice, growing up in rural Ireland in the early 1950s, thoughts of Christmas begin when Aunty Kate from America sends her annual, early Christmas card, the grocer stocks the special raisins and other baking supplies only used during Yuletide, and the geese are prepared for sale (and Christmas dinner). She describes the people around her—old Nell, who refuses to have her chimney swept, Black Ned the sweep and the other Ned, the town storekeeper, Johnny the Post, and various other friends and relatives—and the homely, old-fashioned Christmas preparations with vivid words. On Christmas Eve you are in the warm cottage smelling the roasting goose, setting the Christmas candle in the best turnip in the window, decorating with paper chains and holly branches and ivy. Warm and wonderful.

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