As I mentioned several times in these notes, Christmas seemed to be coming earlier and earlier year by year — My mom didn’t used to put up any decorations until Christmas Eve, except, perhaps, to have the Christmas tree fixed in a wooden butter box, wrapped in red cloth, a few days earlier, ready for the rare balls and lights that were available during the Dundalk war emergency. .
However, this year, the first Christmas decorations in public places do not appear out of place as they help lift the gloom of the continuing pandemic.
We made our own paper decorations, mostly from flat folds of crepe paper, and hung Christmas cards from friends and relatives on pieces of string. Mr Father bought the Christmas tree in Ravensdale Forest and did his best to find red berry holly to pin in the hallway and other rooms, but never in the bedrooms.
Our Santa Claus gifts were found on Christmas morning in pillow cases, with our names printed on cards pinned to them and hung on the kitchen fireplace.
Christmas tree lights were especially hard to find, and when you did, all of the bulbs were the same pear-shaped, didn’t have a lot of colors, and the connections kept breaking. One year, when the electricity was rationed, we had small candle holders that could be hung on the tree but, after a near fire, these candles were not re-lit! The decorative balls were a kind of clear glass that shattered very easily, but we used thin strips of silver foil to help lighten the look!
Other decorations were made from colored paper curls that had an adhesive to hold them together.
The only element of Christmas decoration that we always found in the houses of Dundalk at Christmas were those big red candles which were lit in front of the windows of the houses on Christmas Eve. âTo enlighten the path of the Holy Family on the way to the Stable of Bethlehem! Like us children, we have often recalled it.
These candles were usually a gift from the grocery store that people had been customers in for the past year.
This may all sound very vulgar to people accustomed to modern electronics, but they cheered on our house during these gloomy winter days — and we kept the decorations until the day after Twelfth Night. Contrary to the current custom of taking them apart a few days after Boxing Day!