The switching on of the Christmas lights in Swords has traditionally signaled the start of the festive season in the North County. The county capital’s lights were switched on by Mayor Mary McCamley and Santa himself last week amid great colour and excitement.
It seems to many that the Christmas season is getting longer with each passing year, but the sense of anticipation is as keen as ever.
As always the County Council are to be lauded for the energy and commitment they provide for the residents of the North County every Christmas. Santa met many of the excited children who queued up to see him at his grotto in Swords Castle and they were all given a free present to mark the beginning of yuletide in the North County.
But the Christmas season is not confined to just Swords, as Santa paid a visit to many other towns in the North County. He turned on the lights in Balbriggan and he is due to meet many more children over the coming two weeks to find out if they have been naughty or nice.
The children hog most of the limelight at this time of year, but adults are not forgotten either. The shops are full of colour and great presents, with carol singing in most places creating a wonderful festive atmosphere. It is a time to forget our problems and it is important to remember that this is a crucial time for shops and retailers. They depend on the Christmas season for their survival and people should shop local to provide support for jobs in the area. Nowadays there is no reason to undertake exhaustive journeys to the city, searching for scarce and expensive parking places. We have it all here on our doorsteps, where value for many and friendly banter are all part of the Christmas experience.
Christmas is also a time to remember those who are less fortunate than most. Homelessness is still a major scourge, despite the best efforts of homeless agencies and well-intended groups. Charities rely on our help at this time of year and their efforts go such a long way towards making it a Christmas to remember for people less fortunate than many.
As always, Christmas is all about the children and the build up this year has been one of the best in years. Schools are a-buzz with plays and carol singing, dressing up and pretty well having a ball, as we await the arrival of the man in red. So let’s look after each other and make it the best Christmas ever. Ho Ho Ho!