Though it’s certainly not an official date, I think most of our American readers would agree that there’s more or less one starting point for the Christmas season. Yes, sometimes we’ll find our way to our Indie Holidays Pandora stations “accidentally” one day in mid-October. And yes, the holiday season lasts for the entire fall semester in choir rehearsal rooms. But essentially, the Christmas season can’t begin until Santa Claus has declared it so at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In Ireland, though, there is no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There is no nationally televised Santa to condone people’s celebrations, and there’s no end-of-November holiday to tide people over in the time between Halloween and Christmas. Christmas cheer has been slowly encroaching on Dublin, then, since right around November 1 – and I have not been ready for it. When the Christmas lights on Grafton Street came on, it was festive and enjoyable enough. When I started seeing the tear-jerker department store Christmas ads on TV, I felt feelings. But, through it all, the same thought was stuck in my head: IT’S ALL TOO EARLY!
Thanks to Thanksgiving, though the regular ol’ boring year came to an end this weekend and the Most Wonderful Time of the Year began. Thanksgiving may not be officially celebrated in this neck of the woods, but Notre Dame makes sure that none of its students and friends in Ireland have to go through the holiday without celebrating.
The O’Connell House Thanksgiving is a serious event. My Thanksgiving at home generally consists of me geeking out over the Broadway performances in the Macy’s parade and then gorging myself on turkey until I fall asleep. Not so at the O’Connell House Thanksgiving. We started the night, as OCH does every year, with a mass that both the Dublin and Wexford House of Brigid-ers put together. Fr. Gerry, our parish priest from Harold’s Cross, celebrated the mass, which made for a really nice connection between the two halves of our Dublin work. After mass, as is so often the case with holidays, we ate. But friends, let me tell you, we did some serious eating at this Thanksgiving dinner. We had turkey. We had mashed potatoes. We had stuffing. We had cranberry sauce. We had pumpkin soup. We had pie. You guys, there were five courses. And when we’d finished eating our weight in Thanksgiving food, students, staff, and the six of us from HOB rounded out the evening with the entertainment section of the night. This had been Angie’s project over the last few weeks, and it was one impressive entertainment section. A few students performed spoken word, some danced, and a few different groups sang. (The House of Brigid crew, for those wondering, sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which went surprisingly well for something we’d thrown together while living in two different cities!) And, unlike the Macy’s parade performers, everyone in our entertainment section sang live.
Once Thanksgiving was over, four of the six of us jetted off on trips around Europe for the weekend – which I’d bet someone will tell you more about in a future blog. We all made it back to the Emerald Isle Sunday night, though, travel bug satisfied, still full of Thursday’s turkey, and, with the last pre-Christmas holiday out of the way, officially ready for advent to begin!