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First Christmas away from home is always the most difficult one – but why? Christmas at home was always a horrible experience filled with loathing, farming and frozen pipes, so why do I miss it so much?

Being a complete mong, I feel quite homesick today. It probably helps that I have a selective memory in that I have forgotten all of the bad things about Ireland, Galway and Christmas in Ballinastack. I choose only to remember the good, and place these memories on a pedestal where all other memories will never be able to even consider aspiring to. These memories will be guarded by blood-thirsty, rabid, drooling hounds that will tear off the offending arm of any one who tries to steal them.

The sad fact is that these memories can be easily replicated. I’ll be having the turkey and ham dinner (three servings) with all the trimmings with a family. Not quite my family but they are already accustomed to my vulgar and disgusting eating habits and they tend to fight marginally less. I will receive presents and it will most probably snow (Pete Bouchard isn’t predicting it so that is a fair indicator). I may even manage to sneak in a little bit of mid night mass. If I really want to reproduce an Irish Christmas experience, I can watch Titanic and Chicken Run on Netflix. So it really isn’t going to be that bad.

Now to those other memories that I have stowed away and choose to forget about at Christmas time. We could start last year with the frozen pipes debacle. I am somewhat confident that I will not spend my Christmas morning defrosting water pipes and running them through the overflow pipe into the attic so that we will have hot water for the day.

If I am to look back further into childhood, I was one of the You’re-not-Irish-unless-the-first-thing-you-unwrap-on-Christmas-morning-is-a-bale-of-silage Facebook group people. I certainly remember quite distinctly, still in my Santy years, wrapping up and going down the yard to attempt to free a heifer who had attached herself to the dung heap by means of lying there all night and allowing herself to freeze to it. Talk about a cold shoulder. Other highlights include milking and pulling calves.

One thing I will most definitely miss (and it is probably my second favourite part of Christmas after dinner) is Stephens night in Mountbellew. What a beautifully disgusting and disgraceful night that is. Nothing like that over here. No sir. So that will be slightly shite waking up on the 27th and not being embarrassed (and impressed) that I am still alive. And wondering how I ended up at Eddie’s house even though he’s in Castlebar. One night can’t hurt though, can it?

This Christmas, I will enjoy my lie in, not having to worry about calves or cold water. I will open my presents and watch whatever mindless shite is shown on American tv. I will eat almost half my body weight in turkey and stuffing and I will drink the other half in beer. I will ignore everyone later in the day while football is on and I will probably lapse into a coma mid way through the fourth quarter as all of the organs clog up and overload. I will enjoy myself and I will not regret any of it. Until I realise days later how much weight I’ve put on.

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