New Christmas traditions


Well, they say a change is as good as a rest, and this week I decided I needed a change of scene for a day.

I was craving a break from all the Christmas crowds and shopping, so I took myself off to a city farm for the day with some friends of mine and their children. It was wonderful.

If you have never been to an inner city farm, I can highly recommend it, and if you have children or grandchildren they will squeal with delight (as I may have done once or twice) at the sight of the sheep, horses, goats and alpacas (yes, you read that correctly, alpacas!).


City farms are such a great idea as they really allow jaded city dwellers, and children especially, to get back in touch with nature.

I really do envy any of you who live in the country. I grew up in a small market town surrounded by countryside, and used to play in fields edged with wild blackberry bushes that had horses and cows grazing in them. However, I have lived in cities for so long now, it almost feels like I never lived anywhere near the countryside.

That’s why I was so happy to go off and feed the geese and the goats (who were surprisingly polite and gentle) for the day.

It was such a relaxing few hours away from the hurly burly of life, I must remember to do it more often. I laughed so much. The ducks had all flown into the enclosure for the geese and the turkeys, I assumed because they had a pond in there, and the poor farm worker was running in circles trying to get them all out again and back into their own pen. We laughed so much at the sight of it.

ducks-and-geeseIt was almost like the birds were laughing too as the geese honked and the ducks quaked and everyone ran in circles around and around the pond. It was, honestly, like a bird version of a Benny Hill sketch.

There were gorgeous piggies snuffling for food and long-eared rabbits all huddled together lazily chewing, but the animals getting the most attention were the alpacas. They were a sight to behold.

They were about seven feet tall when standing fully upright, had short hair on their bodies, but around their face and head hadn’t been cut so they looked like they were all wearing wool bonnets or Tina Turner wigs.

alpaca-and-goat alpaca

Every one was comical in their own way and each with their own personality and character. There will be those who will argue that animals do not have their own personality, but I believe they do!

It was a fun, relaxing, refreshing day and again I would highly recommend it!

Having had my short ‘country break’ at the city farm, I felt refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of Christmas. (By the way, at home we would say that I had my head showered – is this a familiar expression to anyone else? It means that I got all the craziness washed out of my head ready to start afresh, I think it perfectly encapsulates exactly what my break at the city farm did!).

the-nutcrackerSo, with Christmas back on the agenda, it was time to kick the season off and so I found myself, as I have done for the last couple of years, attending a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’.

This year, I saw the Royal Ballet production at The Royal Opera Hose and it was such a treat. It is such a Christmassy ballet that, as soon as I see it, it means the festive season is in full swing.

The colour, the spectacle, the costumes, the sugar plum fairy, the Christmas angels and the Christmas tree that grows to about 25 feet in height.

All of that, and the music as well?

Ahhhhh, it really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Going to see ‘The Nutcracker’ is a fairly new tradition I started about four years ago, but I shall continue with it as it is such a great feeling when I do.

This year I took my niece, who is now living in London and studying at university. It was even more special this year being able to share it with her. Just to put the icing on the cake, we also indulged in a little glass of fizz at the interval to really make things special.


ballet-christmasI am now listening to Christmas songs and carols every day, I am actively seeking out Christmas movies on TV, and all my thoughts are about Christmas food, wrapping paper, gifts, midnight mass, my mum coming to stay. Yes, I think we can definitely say that seeing ‘The Nutcracker’ has pressed my Christmas reset button and I am all in, 100%, ready for the glories of the season to come.

Maybe a trip to the city farm at Christmas could become a new tradition as well. It was so peaceful and quiet there.

It is ironic that the season of peace and love, doesn’t have much peace and quiet associated with it!

Oh well, I am enjoying it so far and I hope that you are too, and that you are already enjoying some of your Christmas traditions, old or new!

Until next time,

Miceal xx


  1. Kim December 13, 2016 at 10:28 pm -  Reply

    Sounds magical Micheal! Being from Norn Iron I constantly feel the need to have my head showered, (lol), and you’ve ALMOST got rid of the Grinch in me! In the words of Kermit the frog ( this will test your Chrimbo film knowledge! ) – Twelve sleeps ’til Christmas!!!! Best Wishes, Kim x

  2. Marie December 14, 2016 at 7:51 am -  Reply

    Hi Miceal what a lovely blog.City farm sounds like somewhere that is well worth a visit it must go on my new year list of places to visit.
    I live in a very busy London suburb which I love but it is good to get
    A taste of the country and farm animals.
    I hope you and your family have a happy and peaceful Christmas and healthy new year. xx

  3. Elizabeth Keenan December 15, 2016 at 11:56 am -  Reply

    Hi miceal looks like you had a great time with all the animals love the alpacas they always look soo funny and a cheeky look about them.
    I am going to see The Nutcracker in January with my Daughter looking forward to that in the New Year.
    Wish you and your family a lovely Christmas and all the best for 2017.
    Much love
    Elizabeth X

  4. Susan December 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Micheal, thanks for s lovely blog! I love that saying too. I feel like that myself sometimes. Too much chatter going on and not enough peace. It’s like all silence needs filled with chatter at times. Well I hope you enjoy your Christmas and what a lovely treat for your niece to see the show with you. I’d love you as an uncle!x

  5. Bernadette Skinner December 18, 2016 at 5:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Miceal! ‘get my head showered’ I am very familiar with that saying and ‘give my head peace’ – I haven’t heard them for ages though – made me giggle out loud. We Irish and our sayings! Have a great Christmas

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