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In these dark days full of doubt, savour the solace of a twinkling Christmas tree

Miriam O'Callaghan


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Winter solstice at Newgrange

Winter solstice at Newgrange

Winter solstice at Newgrange

Winter solstice at Newgrange

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Winter solstice at Newgrange

It’s midwinter dark outside, the room lit only by the Christmas tree. As a girl, the longed-for hush of it hunted me home from school to the sitting room, the white loose covers with their cornflower posies newly laundered, smelling of Daz and suspense; in the corner, the arboreal constellation of Pifco white lanterns, the procession of Cinderella carriages in their spun-sugar green, pink, purple, blue, yellow.

Every year the tree and its light were magicked by my father, his spare bulbs and tester, under the influence of Perry Como’s Christmas album and the single cream sherry gleaming in a wedding-present glass. The Pifco carriage lights with their gold spokes and beading are selling for $300 (€265) on eBay, box-new.


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